General News of 2014-04-14

Afoko and team must cleanse NPP headquarters

Author and former presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party, Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy, has tasked the party’s newly elected leadership to get rid of persons at the party headquarters who are appendages to factions within the party.

He also wants the leaders to get to work quickly and win the presidency and parliamentary majority in 2016.

In the latest of his regular opinion pieces, Arthur Kennedy says results of the party’s national executive elections in Tamale at the weekend is a clear signal from party grassroots not to be taken for granted, and added that the exercise would amount to nought if it does not yield the presidency and parliamentary majority in 2016.

The new executives to steer affairs for the next four years are as follows: Chairman - Paul Afoko; General Secretary - Kwabena Agyapong; Youth Organiser - Sammy Awuku; Women's Organiser - Otiko Djaba; National Organiser - John Boadu; Vice Chairman - Freddie Blay; First Vice Chairman - Sammy Crabbe; Second Vice Chairman - F.F. Antoh; Treasurer – Kwabena Abankwa Yeboah; National Nasara Coordinator - Kamal Deen Abdulai.

Arthur Kennedy also proposed a five-theme agenda to get the new executives going.

Clean NPP Headquarters of appendages of factions

Unity drive to bring the party together

Vigorous accountability of the party chest

Cracking the whip on the party’s Parliamentary caucus

Decouple parliamentary campaign from presidential campaign

Arthur Kennedy in the piece celebrates highly the exploits of Jake Obetsebi- Lamptey, Sir John, Moctar Bamba and Stephen Ntim in the party and says the failings of the former party executives could have stemmed from the fact that they ceded too much power to Nana Akufo-Addo and his team.

“In my view, their key mistake was that once elected, they, like the brilliant McManu and his team before them, ceded too much of their mandate to the Presidential candidate and his team. People, who are given mandates, history tells us, are ultimately accountable for their mandates.”

Below is the full article by Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy The NPP votes for change

The NPP, consistent with its name, have elected a NEW leadership in Tamale. All incumbents, except one, Ms Otiko Djaba lost their re-election bids. The next few months will make clear how much change the grass-roots of the party want. But the NPP grassroots have served clear notice that they will not be taken for granted or dictated to by anybody.

It is refreshing that despite all the obstacles put in his way, Mr. Afoko won the Chairmanship. The vote was an emphatic rebuke to those who sent around lists of aspiring national officers they could work with or not work with as Presidential Candidates. It bespeaks breathtaking arrogance for any candidate for our flagbearership, even before his election, to tell the party whom he would work with or not work with. If we cannot work with those in our party, how can we, when in government, work with others to help our country?

Jake, Sir John, Ntim and Alhaji Bamba, despite their defeats, are legends of our party. I know how they feel because I am the man who, after a year of campaigning, got one vote. I can assure them that there is life and influence after defeat.

Jake will forever be remembered as one of the keys behind our two Presidential victories as well as the son of a man who literally gave his life for this party. I recall Sir John’s heroic efforts on our behalf in the Ashanti region and later nationally. As one NDC guy once told me, “Doc, Sir John literally lives at the radio stations.” Ntim has shown so much poise despite his repeated defeats. Alhaji Bamba’s energy is infectious and legendary and he was sorely missed in the last campaign. In my view, their key mistake was that once elected, they, like the brilliant McManu and his team before them, ceded too much of their mandate to the Presidential candidate and his team. People, who are given mandates, history tells us, are ultimately accountable for their mandates.

The NPP expects its national officers, regardless of who is the flag-bearer, to act consistently in the best interest of the party. There are times, even though rare, when a party executive must stand up to a Presidential candidate in the interest of their party. Despite their defeat, these three gentlemen are too talented to be sidelined. Mr. Afoko and his team must vigorously and relentlessly reach out to them for the good of our party.

Mr. Afoko and his team have a difficult task and deserve all of our support. They must remember that their victory would be meaningless unless it brings us the Presidency and control of Parliament.

They must get to work quickly.

First, they must clean the party headquarters of those operatives who have become, in effect, appendages of factions in our party. It is a disgrace that even on the grounds of the Congress in Tamale, policemen had to read and interpret our own constitution to us. They must be replaced, not by other factionalists but by respected and principled party people who will consistently put the party ahead of individuals and factions.

Second, they must bring us together. They must reach out to and where necessary, apologize to Kufuor, Kwame Pianim, Wereko-Brobby, Nyaho-Tamakloe and others who have been demonized and ostracized unnecessarily by our own leaders. Then we must extend this outreach to other groups and institutions that we have offended gratuitously, like Manhyia Palace.

Third, they must, with charity for all and malice toward none, pursue vigorous accountability—for our last two campaigns, our Supreme Court case and our finances, with particular attention to Hon. Kennedy Agyapong’s allegations. Charity begins at home and until we show that we can enforce accountability in our ranks, we will never be credible making the very strong case for change based on accountability in 2016.

Fourth, they must crack the whip on our weak and disorganized Parliamentary caucus. Despite the plethora of issues begging for national leadership and executive oversight, our caucus has been consistently silent or gotten their priorities wrong in championing issues.

Fifth, they must end the bad habit of making our Parliamentary campaign a subsidiary of the Presidential campaign. We must develop and execute a Parliamentary Campaign independent of the Presidential campaign. Winning Parliament is a goal worthy of pursuit on its own.

Also, those who aspire to lead our party will do well to heed Mr. Lincoln’s message to his team as he sought the Republican nomination for President in 1860. “Do not attack my opponents because, eventually, we will need them in order to win”. Now, that was a leader who understood how to win and he won. He was, of course, the same man who said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Finally, we must, as party members pray for their success and give them our unflinching support as they seek to lead us to the Presidency and a Parliamentary majority in 2016.

Let us move forward to victory in 2016—together.

Arthur Kobina Kennedy