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General News Sun, 11 Sep 2011

Nduom Is A Curse On CPP

– Ivor Greenstreet In Wikileaks

The explosive Wikileaks revelations that hit the Ghanaian media landscape this week is politically comprehensive, as it is not limited only to the two major parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – but also one of the splintered Nkrumaist parties, the Convention Peoples Party (CPP).

According to the American spies who pretended to be US diplomats, and had conversations with Ivor Greenstreet, CPP’s General-Secretary, in the run-up to the 2008 general elections, made damning revelations that Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom’s “One-Man Show” campaign style for the presidency, was rather hurting the fortunes of the party than promoting it.

Mr. Greenstreet remarked that Dr. Nduom was “way out ahead of the party apparatus, fending for himself, and at the same time, leaving CPP parliamentary candidates on their own to fight for their survival,” revealed the document described as “Sensitive But Unclassified”.

The CPP General Secretary was quoted as having said that Dr. Nduom, offended the party’s organizational leaders like Freddie Blay, and was running his campaign with little support from the rank –and- file of the CPP. Dr. Nduom, for instance, tried to dislodge Mr. Blay from the Ellembelle seat, he said. The conversations took place on November 26,2008.

These revelations could affect Dr. Nduom’s chances at having another take at the CPP flagbearer slot race for 2012 elections. Dr. Nduom is in the contest with Opesika Agudey, Lawyer Bright Akwetey and Prof. Agyemanh Badu Akosa.

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The CPP General Secretary added that on his way to secure the flagbearership position of the CPP, Dr. Nduom, bought the nomination with a methodical plan, paying the delegates for their votes.

Having gained the nomination, Dr. Nduom is said to have “steadily alienated the party’s core members by ignoring or sidelining elected party officers and setting up parallel structures, using only family members and a few trusted advisors.”

His son, for instance, conducted Dr. Nduom’s campaign in the Central Region without the involvement of the national organizer or the local representatives.

Nduom’s campaign is said to be self-financed. His campaign manager, David Ampofo, was paid US$5,000 a month to keep Nduom’s image and name front and center in the media.

“Dr. Nduom’s lack of organization and poor planning”, had thrown the party into disarray just as the elections were “coming down to wire”, said the secret document sent to Washington in 2008 by the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Donald Teitelbaum.

This style of campaign rather gained Dr. Nduom much media attention, while the party’s campaign workers at the regional and constituency levels as well as the parliamentary candidates were ignored.

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The repercussion, Mr. Greenstreet said, was that the parliamentary candidates, in return, were leaking information to the media that was hurting Nduom’s campaign.

At the first presidential debate, Dr. Nduom is said to have “played the media brilliantly, and gained momentum’, but his campaign was completely devoid of any grassroot structure.

“We are non-existent on the ground”, Greenstreet is said to have lamented, “and without constituency and regional support, you can’t translate media hype into votes.

‘Even worse, he added, is that discontent among party stalwarts over lack of resources has created a backlash”. After an Nduom rally, Greenstreet said, party members became “more disheartened and demotivated” than before his campaign tour started because they felt they had been left out.

Although Nduom was aware, he could not win. His obsession was “to establish long-term viability for himself through media recognition.”

What angered most party members too was that, Dr. Nduom did nothing to organize a single fund-raiser to support the parliamentary candidates.

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Greenstreet revealed that though Dr. Nduom’s performance at the presidential debate promoted the CPP’s socialist agenda, “it was just talk. He doesn’t believe a word of it but he has to adhere to the party platform”.

Nduom’s real goal, Greenstreet told the Americans, was to “imprint his name and image in Ghana’s public consciousness, planting the seed for a political future”, using the CPP as the possible vehicle.

His hope too was that, if he could gather enough votes, then he could play a spoiler’s role by having some influence with the winning party.

According to the report, as the campaign progressed the rift in the party came to the open and an example of it was when Dr. Nduom tried to replace Mr. Freddie Blay, representing the Ellembele Constituency in the Wstern Region, with his choice.

Mr. Blay took the matter to court, complaining that choosing parliamentary candidates was more of an issue for the constituency executives than for the national executives. He won, and Nduom, though threatened to appeal, “later backed down and tried to downplay the dispute with Blay”.

Mr. Blay, in contempt of Dr. Ndoum’s posturing, campaigned openly for the then NPP presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo.

The spy whose name was not given, had walked into the meeting expecting the CPP general secretary to tow to the party line, hoping only that he would not insult our intelligence by insisting that Nduom could actually win the election.

Instead, we were treated to a totally candid assessment of a party’s implosion from a high-ranking insider who obviously has been off the party reservation for some time.

“Although Greenstreet restrained himself from open criticism of Nduom, he made it perfectly clear that he had less than zero respect for his candidate. His demeanor was more disheartened and disappointed than bitter, like someone so fed up with the course of events and feeling so powerless to change them that he had simply decided to mentally check out. Greenstreet did not say what the future held for him or his party”, the report said.

Greenstreet did surmise, however, that should Nduom not rise to the level of a spoiler in the election, he would be completely out in the woods politically, with nowhere to turn.

Indeed, as the one-man show campaign wobbled on, “another CPP scandal hit the media as Kwabena Bomfeh, the party’s national youth organizer, went public with a letter he sent to party Chairman Ladi Nylander, accusing Nduom of having made secret bargains for himself with the two major parties.

He said that Nduom was lobbying with the NPP for the position of Ministry of Finance and the right to name two deputy ministers, and with the NDC for the Ministry of Local Government and a “ceasefire” on a Special Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into alleged income tax evasion as a result of Nduom’s having falsely claimed U.S. citizenship after he returned to Ghana, having lived in the United States from 1973-1991.

Source: The Herald