Alan Kyerematen can’t win votes for Akufo-Addo

Tue, 6 Sep 2016 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016

Folks, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen is a damaged politician by virtue of the internal wranglings within the NPP and his own lack of traction. He is not a politician, which he must acknowledge and look elsewhere to remain in the public sphere. Whether by design or accident, he has lost grounds in the NPP and shouldn’t deceive himself that he will laugh at the right side of his mouth, probably after Akufo-Addo has faded away. I am particularly intrigued by his public posturing having been drafted into the campaign team of Akufo-Addo to sustain the NPP’s politics of roguery. And he has already given us a clear message to confirm his place in the “Concert Party”:

“Give NPP power and the jobs will come”, he is reported as saying, basing all that boast on the phantom “One district, one factory” promise by Akufo-Addo (See https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Give-NPP-power-and-the-jobs-will-come-Alan-Kyeremanten-466895). Beyond that, he is reported to have castigated the Mahama-led administration for priding itself on the innumerable development projects that it has constructed all over the country, claiming that every government does that; so, why the need to claim credit for it in Ghana?

I pity him, especially if I consider the failure of previous governments to provide the very projects that the Mahama-led administration is giving the people. And the beneficiaries are all over the place, commending him for bringing their part of the national cake to their doorsteps, even if they are asking for more at other levels. What has made it possible for the Mahama government to provide those projects that its predecessors couldn’t? Kyerematen and those thinking like him won’t consider such a question as worth their bother because they are either disconnected from reality or scared by the enthusiastic reception given President Mahama during his “Accounting to the people” tour.

Kyerematen particularly has a tattered political record that doesn’t even recommend him for the tasks that he has chosen or been designated to perform for Akufo-Addo. Let’s take a quick exploratory survey of that record to prove that Kyerematen isn’t capable of winning votes for Akufo-Addo. So, why is he shouting himself hoarse? Just for one purpose, which directly evolves from Akufo-Addo’s attempt to use him to create the impression that all is well as far as factionalism in the NPP is concerned. We know of the Kufuor (Ashanti) faction and the Akufo-Addo (Akyem) faction that have been fingered as the main forces tearing at each other to the NPP’s disadvantage.

There has also been a so-called “Agenda 2020” aimed at ditching Akufo-Addo at Election 2016 to pave the way for Kyerematen at Election 2020. The punitive actions taken against supposed masterminds of the “Agenda 2020” (Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Paul Afoko, etc.) stemmed from such apprehensions on the part of the Akufo-Addo faction. So, pushing Kyerematen on to play a frontline role is just a damage-control manouevre that won’t attract any goodwill from the electorate not inclined toward the NPP. It will serve parochial interests to boost Akufo-Addo’s ego only.

Here is what we know about Kyerematen’s unsuccessful political quests and why he is not credible enough to be relied on for Akufo-Addo’s good.

1. He has contested the NPP’s flagbearer slot with Akufo-Addo and others only to emerge as the most vilified of all. When he narrowly lost his first bid at the party’s Legon congress, he graciously bowed out, avoiding a second round of balloting between him and Akufo-Addo. Was he politically correct in doing so? Not all, clearly because it set him up as a target for future mauling, which occurred when he stood against Akufo-Addo again in preparation for Election 2012.

2. Feeling roughed up by the outcome of the Legon congress, Kyerematen stunned the NPP camp and political observers by choosing to resign from the party. We recall how his staunch supporter, Paul Afoko, was brutalized by the Akufo-Addo supporters and the hiccups arising therefrom. Kyerematen felt out-of-place in the NPP and went away from it only to recant. He immediately came across as untrustworthy, which would be his main undoing when he contested Akufo-Addo again.

3. So much mud has been splashed on him as to render him more than useless in the eyes of the public. To date, the mud still sticks. Is this the man now to be used to canvass for votes, having already been damaged that much? What will he say or do to cleanse himself of the scum? Going round with Akufo-Addo and making noise to support him won’t undo the harm done him by the Akufo-Addo faction. Kyerematen is not an asset here.

4. As a Minister in the Kufuor regime, Kyerematen’s performance at the Ministry of Trade and the Presidential Special Initiatives (on starch, etc.) was shoddy. No wonder that the reactivation of the Ayensu starch factory by the Mahama-led administration casts a huge slur on him. Of course, he had earlier served at EMPRETEC too, but can’t be praised for any astounding performance.

5. Probably, Kyerematen’s failure to win the position at the World Trade Organization despite the massive political and moral support given him by the Establishment under President Mahama says a lot more than I can imagine. There might be some underhand or behind-the-scene influences from the international scene against him; but his inability to win that slot says a lot.

There are many other issues to recall, but we will settle on what we’ve raised thus far to prove that Kyerematen has no traction locally or internationally to add any political capital to Akufo-Addo’s campaign. Any frontline role that he is playing now is only a face-saving stunt to blunt internal factionalism. It must be seen as an after-thought and not a pinpointed from-the-scratch strategy. Akufo-Addo and his die-hard backers know that the mud that they have already splashed on him is ineradicable but are using him to create a semblance of harmony in their ranks. Tweeeeeaaa!!

Knowing Kyerematen as he is, I won’t be surprised that he will over-reach himself in making utterances just to be seen as playing the role assigned him. Harping on Akufo-Addo’s promises and adding his own version (e.g., the one concerning the establishment of industrial zones) will only increase the tempo of the “Concert Party” enactments. That’s how I see his condemnation of the incumbent administration’s focus on infrastructural development, which inevitably, has turned out to be its trump-card for Election 2016.

While focusing on Kyerematen, we acknowledge that unlike how the NPP’s electioneering campaigns were done for previous general elections, what we see this time leaves room for much to be noticed about the absence of prominent personalities who had gingered up the activists. We don’t see those faces nor do we hear from them. Why? Your guess could be as good as mine.

Interestingly, ex-President Kufuor has chosen to talk about how he won Elections 2000 and 2004 instead of actively contributing to Akufo-Addo’s efforts. He knows better; not so? After investing so much in Elections 2008 only for Akufo-Addo’s own lapses to cause his defeat; and after being bad-mouthed as not doing enough for Election 2012, what shouldn’t he advise himself on? Probably, by recounting his strategies for winning the elections, he is indirectly telling Akufo-Addo what he is doing wrong so he can make amends. But will he listen?

So early in the major electioneering campaign season, it is obvious that political liabilities of Kyerematen’s kind won’t add any capital to Akufo-Addo, no matter how much noise they make or public posturing they put up. Once damaged by their own party’s internal detractors, what can they fetch for the very architect of their woes now turning round to use them for political expediency? Such is Kyerematen’s case. No credibility within his own party’s ranks, no credibility in the eyes of the voters. Who will be won over by such damaged goods? Political miscalculation at its best here!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.