NSS, NASPA On Warpath

Dr Michael Kpessa Whyte(left) and Ekow Assafuah

Dr Michael Kpessa Whyte(left) and Ekow Assafuah

Tension is brewing between the management of the National Service Secretariat (NSS) and the executives of the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) over the election of new NASPA executives for the country.

The confusion has led to the closure of the office of the NASPA executives at the head office of the National Service Secretariat in Accra (Airport Residential Area). The executives have also been thrown out of the office and ordered not to return.

Speaking in an interview with DAILY GUIDE, the National NASPA President, Vincent Ekow Assafuah, said the office was locked last Tuesday afternoon around 12:30pm without any prior notice whatsoever.

He said the Deputy Executive Director, Michael Kumbour, led a group of security personnel of the NSS office to effect the ejection and locked the office space allotted to the NASPA executives. He said, ’we were in the office when the Deputy Executive Director came with some security men. He just sacked us from the office without any reason or explanation.’

Vincent wondered why the Deputy Director would do that when the NASPA executives had released a residential apartment meant to be an office for NASPA to staff of the NSS. He said they might have no choice than to also eject the staff occupying the apartment so they can use it as their office.

Genesis of the Confusion
This latest incident has deepened the frosty relationship between the parties as a result of excessive interference by the NSS Director, Dr Michael Kpessa Whyte, his deputy and other management members over the leadership control of NASPA in the country.

A two-day delegates’ conference to elect new executives for NASPA was allegedly hijacked by the NSS management as they unconstitutionally imposed their preferred candidates on delegates.

The NASPA President, Ekow Assafuah, said the congress which was held in Ho came to an abrupt end after some aspirants were disqualified during vetting while others were imposed, contrary to provisions of the association’s constitution.

He accused the management of the National Service Scheme for masterminding the chaos. According to him, the NSS management, through the Deputy Executive Director, Michael Kumbour, forced the Central Regional and Legon District NSS directors onto the vetting committee to impose their preferred candidates on delegates.

They also disqualified some other candidates who were eligible for the election without any known reason. As far as Vincent is concerned, the involvement of the two directors in the vetting committee and the disqualification of some candidates were unconstitutional.

He said ‘Article 10.2.7 of the NASPA constitution forbids disqualification, unless the said candidate puts the name of the association into disrepute.’ He also noted that the vetting committee should be made up of ex-officio members including the executive director. However, in this case the management allegedly planted a regional and district director on the committee.

The 60 delegates at the congress reportedly questioned the rationale behind the disqualification of some candidates and asked for the annulment of the process.

With 51 delegates voting in favour of annulment, they subsequently annulled the vetting process. They then initiated a new vetting process which reinstated the disqualified candidates for election.

This did not go down well with the executive director and his deputy who felt that their authority had been undermined. Vincent alleged that the duo then allegedly threatened the regional and district directors present to send their delegates away. This created some confusion between delegates and the management.

Ntoso Threatens NASPA President 
The Volta Regional Minister, Helen Ntoso, who was addressing the infuriated delegates, openly threatened to change the sleeping place of the NASPA president if he did not allow the management to have their way.

Vincent was subsequently picked up by the police who released him on the way to the police station after he had called his lawyer. Apparently, the alleged threats by the executive director and his deputy caused fear and panic among delegates and directors, causing them to leave the scene.

The two allegedly ordered a closure of the conference and asked the hotel’s management to throw out the delegates.

The police were also deployed to escort delegates out of the conference premises.

Attempts made to reach the Deputy Director, Michael Kumbour, on his mobile phone proved futile as he did not pick or return the calls.

From Fred Duodu, Ho ( freduoo@gmail.com )

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