Opinions Sat, 7 Aug 2010

The Gladiators – Who amongst them is the NDC’s ‘candidate’?

When it comes to putting the five aspirants of our noble tradition on the scale and dissecting them to see which of them qualifies to wear the coveted crown as the party’s flag-bearer, I find that task a very difficult thing to do. But ‘dissect’ I must do for it is a task that must be done and so I am making all the aspirants to pass through the eye of the needle to enable me make an informed judgement of their chances. Without wasting time, here we go. Contestant Number One – Lawyer John Kwame Koduah is a Kumasi based Evangelist and a staunch member of the New Patriotic Party. Not much is known about him but has for long been making noise of being the party’s candidate. Thrice, he has been in the race but did not make any positive impact. He doesn’t strike the chord as someone who can cause an upset. I recall his ‘infamous’ admission on Citi FM one Wednesday in May this year that he is not technologically inclined as he doesn’t have an e-mail address. When questioned further, he said he used to have one in the past but presently his computer has developed a fault and when he repairs it, he will immediately get an e-mail address. Wow! In this age of advanced technology an admission of not being technologically inclined is an admission that our lawyer cum evangelist is not aware of the enormous task that lies ahead. If his computer has broken down, couldn’t he have gone to one of the well-established internet cafe scattered all over the country to access his mails. It means he is cut off from the rest of the world. How does he access news from the country and the rest of the world? Can we entrust the destiny of the party and for that matter the entire country into the hands of this man? No! Evangelist Lawyer John Kwame Koduah is carved in the mould of Kofi Wayo. Yes, he is the Kofi Wayo of the NPP. He is just there to add to the number and provide comic relief.

I recall vividly an incident on Sunday when some party activists met to analyze the chances of the various aspirants at the party’s primaries. We had four delegates amongst the group. Two of them told us that they attended the interactive sessions between the aspirants and the delegates, except that of Lawyer Kodua. When pressed to give reasons why they never attended, they said he has no vision, and even if he has at all, he had neither espoused not articulated them.

Honourable Isaac Osei: A committed party man to the core, he has most of the essential ingredients of being the President of the country. He was Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. While there, be introduced new measures which imparted positively on the lives of Ghanaian residents in the country. It was from there ex President Kufuor brought him to Ghana and appointed him Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board to revamp the cocoa industry and breath life into the moribund Cocoa Board. Did we feel his impact at his new appointment? It is said that when the elephant stamps its foot on the ground the earth shivers. Yes, a lot of changes were introduced at the board particularly with the award of scholarships to children of genuine farmers. He is the current Member of Parliament for Subin Constituency and he won his seat with over 30,000 votes.

I see Isaac Osei as a dynamic member of the party who will make waves in the years to come. This is a bold attempt at the flag-bearership of the party and whether or not his message has gone down well with the party’s delegates will be decided on Saturday, 7th August, 2010.

Dr Frimpong Boateng: Nice gentleman, amiable personality with an infectious smile to match. He takes his assignments assiduously. His tenure as Chief Executive Officer at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital saw the hospital regain most of its past/lost glory as a lot of innovations and renovations became the hall-mark of his achievements.


Good credentials, one might say. But are these good enough to propel him to become the party’s flag-bearer? Obviously, No! I have traversed the length and breath of the country and everywhere I go, the mantra is the same. “We want Frimpong Boateng”. But there is a caveat. And what is it? “We want him at the theatre”. That is the message. His colleagues in the medical fraternity are echoing the same thing. They want him at the theatre. This is a clarion call from his colleagues. Will our learned heart surgeon heed the cries of many dying heart patients?

Two of the delegates within the Weija Constituency told me of their impression after their encounter with Frimpong Boateng. They said he illustrated with diagrams on the board how he is able to make his own gas to fuel his vehicles. A practical way of being a leader, one might say! But is this what Ghanaians need at this period of their lives? A president who will turn the Castle of the Jubilee House into a refinery? Don’t get me wrong, please! Why can’t Dr Frimpong Boateng put his knowledge at the disposal of the general public so that others could gain from it? Why keep the formulae or recipe a secret? Why should we wait until he becomes the flag-bearer before he reveals the nitty-gritty of his invention? Or does he want to toe the line of the late Dr R.P.Baffoe who, in the heat of the 1979 Presidential Elections told Ghanaians that he knew where Ghana’s oil reserve was but would only reveal the location to us if got voted as President of the country. You see, Frimpong Boateng is an asset to the country, party politics aside. Even NDC members will testify the sterling qualities of this heart surgeon. Ghanaians would prefer He went to the theatre instead of “groping” in the uncertain terrain of party politics. The NPP is proud to have this world acclaimed heart surgeon as one of us. But the fact that one is good at the theatre does not mean that he will be good in politics.

Dr Frimpong Boateng could make his impact felt more positively if he shelved his presidential ambition and starts to train heart surgeons. But alas, this advice has come a bit too late!

John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen served as Ambassador to the United States during the Kufuor’s administration. He was brought down to Ghana and made Minister for Trade and Industries and Presidential Special Initiatives. During the acrimonious campaign leading to the election of the flag bearer, everything was done to ensure that the Golden Fleece never eluded the darling boy of the powers that be. Thus, any obstacle placed on their way had to be crushed and the powers that be had no qualms whatsoever about anybody whose ox was gored. DCEs and MCEs who refused to toe their line were ‘hounded’ out of their jobs. People like Paul Afoko and Amin Anta had a field day dictating terms as to who and who should be amongst the ‘accredited’ delegates.

But providence has a way of dealing with precarious situations. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo emerged winner during the first round of voting, but could not get the mandatory 50% plus one vote and a second round seemed like the obvious thing to break the stalemate. Most of the aspirants went to pledge their support for Nana and Alan was magnanimous to concede defeat.


That singular act of his endeared him to the hearts of members of our Great and Noble Tradition. But he did the unthinkable when in the midst of the biter struggle between the NPP and the NDC, Alan decided to quit the party. And as we all know, quitters never win. Even though he rescinded his decision, many party supporters have found it difficult in their hearts to forgive him.

Somebody told me that the party does not need ‘cowards’ like the ex Filipino leader Mrs. Aquino who went and hid under her bed when she heard rumours of a coup d’état. He also remarked jokingly about the late Gen F.W.K.Akufo who took refuge under the bed of the Catholic Arch-Bishop of Accra when he heard that his government had been overthrown. “We want men and women who will look death in the face and dare it to do its worst because they so much believe in the cause for which they are fighting”. That was the way the man put it. To him, Alan behaved just like the like the ex Filipino leader and the late General F.W.K.Akufo Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen is a pillar of strength in the party alright and has the ability to lead the party into battle with the NDC, come December, 2012, but he is doing it at the wrong time. There is a Golden Fish, which in all its ramifications, is capable of winning back power for the party. We are a conservative party and we believe in order and tradition. In the Conservative Party, when the Prime Minister resigns or quits, everybody knows who will succeed him. When Tony Blair left, there was no succession dispute. Everybody knew Gordon Brown was next in line. My argument is that both Nana and Alan are equally capable of winning back power for the party. A problem will arise only if one of the two is not capable. I am not by this suggesting that Nana should be elected unopposed. But this is to guide the delegates in making their choices.

There is a big question mark on Allan’s commitment to the concept of polling station empowerment. He claims he will ensure that they get a better deal under his flag-bearership and eventual election as President. But the question is: Was it not this same Alan, who together with his support base opposed the expansion of the Electoral College? Even, after they had lost their bid to maintain the status quo, did his supporters not move from one Fm radio station to the other to lambast proponents of this novel concept and condemning the way and manner the amendments to the party’s constitution were effected. If we were to play back the tape of how they were shouting themselves hoarse I wonder what they would say on hearing their own voices. How is Alan going to reconcile the strong opposition he took against the expansion and his recent mantra that he has been in love with polling stations executives all along and would create better conditions and opportunities for them if he is elected the party’s flag-bearer? Alan says he would create jobs and improve on the living conditions of the people. As Minister of Trade and Industries and Presidential Special Initiatives what plans did he put in place to ensure the empowerment of the people, particularly the youth?

Please, do not get me wrong, but Alan appears to be the ‘candidate’ of the National Democratic Congress. I am not suggesting he is a mole in the New Patriotic Party. No, far from that! But NDC members are clamouring for his emergence as our flag bearer so that their hawks will descend on him and tear him to pieces if he is made the flag-bearer. They see in Alan the best opportunity to perpetuate their misrule, arrogance, ineptitude and ‘chop-chop’ syndrome.

First, it was the President who says he has known Alan as a gentleman for a long time and would have loved to know some of the ‘mischief’ Alan did as a student at Adisadel College “so that I can use them against him since he (Alan) is my opponent”. That was an open endorsement and I disagree strongly with those who say it is not so. The subordinate clause, ‘since he is my opponent’ gives one the impression that Alan has become the flag-bearer of the party. The statement is emphatic on that. And Alan himself did not help matters when he said with glee that President Mills’ endorsement of his candidature is an honour to him. Can Alan honestly tell Ghanaians that the President has performed? I now understand why he has been finding it difficult to criticize the President. It has become you scratch my back, and I scratch your back syndrome. Is Alan telling use that the mediocre performance of the President is something worth cerebrating? And if he the President has not performed, why should he, Alan feel honoured to have an endorsement from a failed and unpopular President? Koku Anyidoho also added his voice to the brouhaha when he said “the President was making a fair and honest assessment of the aspirant” (Alan Kyerematen). The ubiquitous Kobby Acheampong would not be left out when he said Alan promises to be a formidable opponent for the NDC. In comes the political novice, Nana Akyea Mensa who, in a comment to one of my write-ups heaped lots of praises on Alan and his backers. Now, my question is this: Why are all these NDC members falling in love with Alan and singing his praises to all who care to listen? They are doing so because they see in him some weaknesses which will make their job or retaining power very easy.


How do you reconcile all these open endorsement of Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen by the President and his team with Richard Quarshiga’s statement that Alan and Nana are the bane of the NPP (a contention I would react to at the appropriate time) And Quarshiga goes on to make a damning allegations against Alan and my heart begins to tingle. The alarm bell has struck a chord which all NPP delegates must listen to. Richard Quarshiga alleges that so much was pumped into the President’s Special Initiatives but nothing much came out of it. And that is my worry. Should Alan become the party’s flag-bearer, this scenario might like play itself. The NDC might charge him with causing financial loss to the state. We all know that he has not caused any financial loss to the state, but at the same time, we must not overlook the vindictive nature of the NDC. They will arraign him before the courts a few months to election on the trumped up charge of causing financial loss to the state. By the time the case is disposed of, it will almost be time for the elections. That is if the NDC is being magnanimous. In the worst scenario, they might convict and sentence him and the President will then “pardon” him. That will be the end of the New Patriotic Party. Dear delegates, these are my genuine fears. The fight that the deity is kind does not mean that it can be appeased with ordinary water. The leopard cannot change the colour of its skin. The NDC will still remain NDC.

You see botched attempt at sealing off the NHIS office at Kibi by some misguided NDC foot soldiers led by one Shakespeare Ofori Atta was one of the designs of the NDC to make Nana lose the primaries thereby create a safe passage for Alan. You see Nana is the immediate past MP for the Abuakwa South Constituency which has Kibi as its capital. Incidentally, Nana comes from the town. The people did that to create dissatisfaction against Nana in his own home ground. NDC fears Nana and will do almost anything, and I repeat, anything including even the unthinkable to ensure that the NPP does not present him as its candidate in the 2012 Presidential elections.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the people’s man and friend. He is the man of the moment and the one everybody, both within and outside the country is clamouring for. He is endowed with the ability to make deft political moves and calculations which his political opponents are yet to find antidote to. He is the Maradona of Ghanaian politics for he can dribble a little to the left and a little to the right. Of all the aspirants in the New Patriotic Party, Nana is the one who is more likely to appeal to floating voters and members of other political parties. Many people including even those in the NDC know that Nana will be a good President and have publicly admitted same. Alhaji Bature and Honourable Rashid Puepple have publicly confessed to his sterling leadership qualities. The President was only making a jest of Alan when he referred to the latter as a gentleman. But being a gentleman is not the same as having presidential qualities, one must not forget that. Nana appears to be an enigmatic personality to many people because of his forthrightness. He is the inspirational leader who gives hope and succour to the crest-fallen. He is the politician who tells you, "this is what I can offer you" and true to his words, he will do as he says. As a team player, goal scorer and rain maker, Nana has the knack for scoring goals from impossible angles. Who wouldn't have such a tried and tested personality for a leader? Politics is not an unfamiliar terrain to him. After all, he has been in the lion's den and like Daniel in the Bible came out unscathed.

What are the qualities Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo possesses which give him the edge over the other aspirants? They are many.

In the first place, Nana has been marketed before and his name has become a brand name. It is very difficult to market a new commodity especially in our part of the country where the illiteracy rate is very high. Kufuor did not win on his first attempt. Mills tried four times before he eventually won. Let us give Nana one more chance and I sincerely believe he will cruise to victory. Secondly, if we make Nana our candidate, the party need not spend much to market him. Most of the paraphernalia associated with electioneering campaigns are available and can still be used. Examples of such items are T shirts, flags, badges, pictures, brochures and many others. All we need to do is to re-package him. If a new person emerges, it is not going to be easy to get money to do the packaging especially now that the party is cash-strapped. One other advantage Nana has over the other aspirant is that he is the master tactician amongst the aspirants. He has taken the fight to the enemy it its own den. You remember the advice Ahithophel gave Absalom to send fighters to pursue David. When his advice was rejected, what happened? Defeat! Nana Addo Dankwa is not just looking at the Congress. He is looking beyond the Congress and that is why he has taken upon himself the yeoman's job of keeping the ruling NDC’s government on its toes by hammering on its inadequacies’ and inefficiencies - something the other aspirant have shied away from. Nana knows that "if it takes you too long to cross the river, the current will sweep you away". He also realizes the sense in the saying that "it is only a castrated man shudders at the sight of a woman". He has time for the problems of the masses for a tree does not bear foreign fruits. "Nana, yenim wo firi teteete. Nana did not understand why the whole country should keep quiet while acts of improprieties were being committed against Ghanaians especially members of the NPP. Ghanaians were threatened, arrested, tortured and even killed and everybody kept quiet. Nana spoke and all these negative acts were reduced to the barest minimum. Which of the other aspirants spoke against the atrocities of Mills led NDC government? None! If there is any let the person speak for him have I offended!

But the surprising aspect of the whole thing is that his car has been seized by Mills and his operatives but Nana has kept a stony silence over it. You will recall that when Julius Caesar was on his way to the Capitol, Artemidorus brought him a paper and asked him to read. "Delay not, Caesar. Read it instantly". Ceasar: "what touches us our self shall be last served". This reveals the selfless nature of both Ceasar and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The country needs such type of leaders to run its affairs.

People always ask: “but who gave Nana the mandate to speak for the party and for that matter Ghanaians?” The Israelites did a similar thing when they asked Moses who made him a judge over them. You see, nature does not allow room for any vacuum. Andre Dede Ayew is not the Captain of the Black Stars but his charisma and leadership qualities are evident for all to see. He will clap his hands and tell his colleague, "okay, lets go!” These and many others are in-born traits and Nana has them in abundance. One should not overlook the fact that Nana's background as a socialist before switching over to capitalist principles makes him a rare candidate who has an independent mind of his own. In his student days, he disagreed vehemently with his father over the capitalist ideology. He knows the best in both systems and should he get the nod as our candidate and eventually the President of the country, he will blend the best ingredients of both capitalism and socialism. Infact, floating voters will find friendly accommodation in Nana's camp than any of the aspirants. He has the knack of using diplomacy to calm frayed nerves to a troubled spot. You remember when the National Reconciliation Bill was introduced and the opposition threatened to walk out on account of a statement Nana was alleged to have made, he said if his remark was offensive to the then NDC opposition, he was prepared to withdraw it and he did just that. This reveals the humble mien in Nana which many mischief makers deliberately ignore. You see, attempts by Alan Kyerematen and his supporters led by Kwabena Agyepong to portray Nana as old is similar to attempts by Cassius to bring Caesar low by stressing his(Ceasar) 'unworthiness'. His account of an incident when he rescued Caesar from the drowning and the fever he catches in Spain does not in any way detract our admiration of Caesar. If Nana is 65 years, what is wrong with that? The only thing that might go against him is if he is certified mentally incapacitated. Allan’s official age of 54 years does not put him in the category of the youth. President Ronald Reagan was much older when he contested and won the Presidency of the World's number one military and economic power and he was reputed to be one of the best President in God's own country. Jimmy Carter was also in his sixties when he became President of the United States. Nana's human rights record is there for all to see. As Attorney General and Minister of Justice, he was instrumental in the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. It was also during his time that that the National Reconciliation Act was passed. It was Nana who defended most supporters of the Peoples Movement for Freedom and Justice who were arrested during the infamous Acheampong's UNIGOV. He was also the lead lawyer in the suit instituted when Liman's PNP Government attempted to remove Justice Apallo as Chief Justice. He was the brain behind the 'Kume Preko" demonstrations which rocked various parts of the country. These brought about a lot of changes in the electoral system and opened the airwaves to the opposition parties.

As Foreign Minister, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo's tenure brought a lot of glory to the country, culminating in his election as President of the Security Council at a time when a matter of a serious international magnitude (the Arab-Israeli conflict) was being discussed. The way and manner he chaired the Council's deliberations endeared him to all the parties involved in the dispute. He initiated the process of bringing to the attention of the international community the massacre of Ghanaian nationals in the Gambia. Through subtle diplomacy he was able to bring to the negotiation table members of the opposition parties and the PDP-led Government of Nigeria after the 2007 General Election. Earlier on, he had achieved a similar feat in the Republic of Togo. I can go on and on but I have to end now. Let me state that being 'fifty four year' does not make Alan a 'younger person as they would love to portray to the whole world to know. And as Ojei said in ‘King Emene’, "It is a bad sign to be so young and so rash. A good king is not only one who provides his subjects with the blessings of life, but also one who has the power of a lion, but chooses to walk on the side of the road". Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has the power of the lion but has chosen to walk on the side of the road. He knows the odds that are stacked heavily against him and is prepared for any eventuality. "The lion, surrounded by hunters does not go to sleep but fights for its survival". Distinguished delegates:" will you join Nana on his journey to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the NDC? He, like the Great Mohammed Ali floats like a butterfly and stings like the bee. Vote for him and the party would be better served.

(Please do pardon me for this lengthy piece.)

Daniel Danquah Damptey (danieldanquah_damptey@yahoo.com)

Columnist: Damptey, Daniel Danquah