Former Naga People’s Front Official Raises Concern Over Lack Of Internal Democracy - Eastern Mirror
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Former Naga People’s Front official raises concern over lack of internal democracy

By EMN Updated: Oct 30, 2023 9:08 pm

DIMAPUR — Allegations of election irregularities and lack of internal democracy within the Naga People’s Front (NPF) surfaced just days after Apong Pongener was elected as the new president of the party following the retirement of Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu, who served the party for two decades.

In a statement issued on Monday, Sevotso Seyie, former General Secretary of the Central Office Bearers in Kohima Town, claimed that the sitting MLA and Leader of NPF Legislature Party Kuzholuzo Nienu (Azo) in the legitimate president of the party, citing irregularities in the election process.

Shedding light on the election process for the 2024-2028 term, he stated that the party president had constituted an election board for election to the party’s central office, as empowered by the Central Executive Council (CEC) through a resolution passed on May 24. Accordingly, the election board held a meeting on October 11 to elect/ select the presidential candidate.

In the course of the selection process, the board was in the process of electing/selecting “the one and only applicant” Kuzholuzo (Azo) for the post, “supported by an overwhelming majority” of eight board members out of the total 11, he claimed.

However, Seyie alleged that the minority group within the board overruled the majority, claiming that the board was dissolved over a lack of consensus, which he argued was undemocratic and against the constitution of the party.

“Then, the party high command again unilaterally and arbitrarily re-constituted the election board on top confidential basis violating all the established rules and norms whereby at the eleventh hour, nominated the senior member Mr. Apong Pongener as the new party president which was to be announced during the party general convention for final approval,” read the statement.

As per Seyie, when Pongener’s name was announced as the new party president during the party general convention on October 21, approximately two-thirds of the attending members refused to raise their hands in approval. This incident unfolded in full view of around 1000 party members in attendance and has since become public knowledge, he maintained.

He also argued that Azo had broad support, including the backing of 10 out of 14 Divisional presidents, as well as overwhelming support from more than 80% of the party officebearers at various levels.

Further, he claimed that the long-standing leader, Dr. Shürhozelie, initially offered his advice to Azo, indicating his consent and blessing for the latter to assume the party leadership, but things took a different turn, causing confusion and bewilderment among the party members.

The sequence of events surrounding the party’s presidential election process points to Azo as the legitimate NPF president, he claimed.

While the NPF has been portrayed as the sole protector of Naga interests, he said, the real threat to the party arises when Naga people no longer engage with it.

He said the NPF’s current turmoil stems from its failure to adhere to its constitution, lack of internal democracy and a fair functioning system, which subsequently resulted in trust deficits, conflict of interest, and unchecked egotism, besides allowing the minority to rule the roost.

“As a result, the NPF party finds itself mired in internal strife and discord,” he said.

Seyie also underscored the need to reform the party as well as amend constitutional provisions to stay relevant with the changing times, pointing out that laws, rules or provisions become obsolete with time.

While expressing his desire to see the NPF grow under the new leadership, he urged to take his views as a positive criticism for a better tomorrow.

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By EMN Updated: Oct 30, 2023 9:08:53 pm
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