Members of the New National Party (NNP) may hold a convention later in the year as required by the constitution but not before structures are enhanced.
Political Leader of the NNP, Dr Keith Mitchell told members of the media recently, that the focus of the party at this time is to restructure, noting that this was among the weaknesses that contributed to its loss at the June 2022 general election.
“The party work failed us, the government never had a problem, the government was given high accolades for its performance but the structures on the ground were weak,” Dr Mitchell said in a pre-recorded briefing with selected media personalities that was aired on television and social media last Thursday night.
He continued, “if that is the case as I believe, it would not make sense rushing into a convention without putting the structures as a party in place and therefore the priority right now, which is what the party is working on, is putting that structure in place.”
In a news item aired last October, NNP General Secretary Roland Bhola, in explaining why the convention was not to be held in the last quarter of 2022 but this quarter said, “Much plans were not put in place for a national convention,” adding that the party’s constitution dictates what should take place prior to a convention.
Bhola explained then that all the 15 constituencies must “be structurally and politically ready,” all groupings must be ready; women, welfare, youth, and they are to be functional. Consequently, those groups will then select delegates to attend the convention, he said, so “we are on a drive to ensure that all of these things are done.”
The convention is highly anticipated as a new party leader is expected to be elected. Dr Mitchell stated during the election campaign and during the Swearing in as Leader of His Majesty’s Opposition that most likely he will not offer himself up for any position on the NNP executive.
Speaking at the briefing, the political party leader stated that “there is a perception that the only role you can play is to be in parliament or be in a position as prime minister or minister. I don’t believe that. So the plan is to prepare the NNP for that transitioning into the new leadership. But that is dependent on the delegates.”
He went further to note that while eyes are on the NNP leader, the entire composition of the executive can change as “a number of members of the party who have been there for a long time and have given yeoman service, some do not wish to necessarily continue. That also must be given consideration.”
The Opposition Leader added, “we may find that a number of candidates that participated in the last election may not necessarily be the candidates going forward for the next general election, but we are not talking that now.”