General News of 2014-01-11

Shadow boxing in NPP

The impending intraparty elections of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has been characterized by a semblance of shadowing boxing involving the leading contenders -Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen.

Even though nobody has come out to declare their intention to contest as flagbearer of the NPP for the 2016 elections, the leading contenders are already ‘sizing up’ each other even before nominations are open.

Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen are set to ‘lock horns’ again, judging by the actions of their numerous supporters and their body language.

A third force emerged when Isaac Osei, MP for Subin in the Kumasi Metropolis, also entered the race once again.

The lobbying has become intense, with each camp closely monitoring the movement of the others.

The party is yet to elect its regional and national officers, but as it happened in 2012, the two leading contenders are taking no chances in ensuring that their candidates are better marketed to the delegates – which they are doing stealthily through proxies.

Alan’s Gesture

Alan was in ‘full gear’ during New Year’s festivities when he ‘showed love’ to inmates of the Osu Children’s Home in Accra by donating assorted food items to them.

He said after the donation that, “I will still be actively involved in politics

As a member of the NPP, I believe the people are waiting to put the party back into power in 2016 and to provide the same kind of progressive, constructive and forward-looking leadership that we gave over the eight years we were in power”.

Giving the strongest hint yet of his intention to contest the hot seat, Mr Kyerematen told Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem last week that “the issue is not about who leads the NPP; the issue is how we work together as a unified party to win power in 2016.

“Nana Akufo-Addo and I are not bigger than the NPP. We need to build a strong party to be able to win the elections. Neither Nana nor Alan can do that alone unless we unite”.

He said Ghanaians were “yearning for NPP to return to power to end the socioeconomic hardships under the Mahama-led administration” and “we can’t afford to disappoint them”.

Mr. Kyerematen also cautioned that the NPP risks losing the 2016 general elections if the petty internal wrangling and factionalism in the party is not quelled.

Nana’s Message

Not much activity has been seen in the camp of Nana Akufo-Addo except a Christmas and later a New Year’s message he released from London where he is currently vacationing.

In the message, Nana Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to “welcome 2014 with renewed optimism. I know 2013 had its fair share of disappointments for many of us, but by God’s grace, we sailed through to its end.

“In all that we do, let us put our nation first. Let us work harder and better, individually and collectively, to make our economy healthier and our nation stronger.”

Nana Akufo-Addo said, “Let us pray for those who lead us so that they may find the humility, compassion, competence and confidence to serve us and serve us well.

“Let us all protect our integrity, serve our nation with selflessness, and keep our focus on the greater good, which is to strive and create a free and prosperous society of opportunities for every Ghanaian, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or social status.”

Nana’s Clarion Call

Commenting on a successful constituency elections so far, Nana Akufo- Addo congratulated all those who participated in the contest and asked the winners to work with the losers.

He said, “The party should be motivated by the destiny of our dear country and how to enhance the lives of ordinary Ghanaians to keep striving for power.

“Let us stay united even as we compete amongst ourselves.

We cannot compromise on the unity of the party if we are not to compromise on the victory that we seek. We must, therefore, see these internal contests as a necessary re-organisation process that we must first go through.

“Let us keep it clean and convivial so that we can all get back together, to think together, work together and secure victory together in 2016,” Akufo-Addo told the NPP faithful.

Doctors Kofi Konadu Apraku and Kobbina Arthur Kennedy at a point declared their intentions and are also lacing their boots to enter the flagbearer race.

The Retirement Saga

Mr. Osei came with a bang when initially, the media reported that he had asked Nana Akufo-Addo, who has contested on the NPP ticket twice already, to retire from politics.

The former Cocobod Chief Executive sought to set the records straight when he said later that his comment was misconstrued to suit the house style of the media house which had reported the issue.

“I think, at the moment, Nana Addo has transcended politics and has moved into the realm of statesmanship.

He’s become a statesman. If I was to advise Nana Addo, I’ll say that let his legacy be that.”

The Subin MP noted that he was in no position to decide the political future of Nana Akufo-Addo whom he said had the development of Ghana at heart.

“I cannot force Nana Addo to retire from politics.

He is an elder and knows what is good for him,” he stressed.

The minefield

As usual, the name-calling and tagging appears to persist as the perceived camps try to outdo one another.

Paul Afoko, one of the stalwarts vying for the NPP National Chairmanship, has said he is not contesting the position to promote the presidential ambitions of Mr. Kyerematen.

He said he was in the race to promote the unity of the NPP and also ensure that the party is able to recapture power from the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“I am not contesting the position with pre-conceived ideas to push any particular aspirant as the party’s flagbearer,” he said, adding that he wanted to turn NPP into an election-winning machine again irrespective of who becomes flagbearer for the 2016 election.

Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, who is vying for General Secretary, has also said he would not be doing the bidding of Mr. Kyeramaten, but rather fight to get the grass roots empowered so that NPP becomes very attractive in 2016.

“I have always maintained that politics is about service and sacrifice but not a lot of people in the party see it that way. That was what people like the late B.J. Da Rocha taught us when young people like myself joined the party. It is not the same these days and I see that the spirit of voluntarism is dying in our ranks,” he said on Oman FM’s Boiling Point last week.

Incumbent General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie aka Sir John, who is seeking re-election, is also in campaign mood; and so is Yaw Buaben Asamoah, another stalwart of the party who also wants Sir John’s seat.Sir John appeared to have stepped on a few toes when he told Radio XYZ last week that his support for Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidential bid did not proscribe the future ambitions of other aspirants.

“I have said that I believe that Nana Akufo-Addo will be an excellent President in 2016 and I think that I stand by that. That is not to say that the door is locked or shut against those who may be interested in future in 2020 or 2024.”