By Margaret Jackson
July 21, 2015
If the high tensioned inconclusive mediation meeting called at the instance of some bigwig clergymen to iron out the ever-widening wrangling, backbiting, suspicion, hatred, and in fighting within the NPP were anything to go by, then the party and its flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have a tall mountain to climb come 2016.
The meeting held under close doors at the residence of former President John Agyekum Kufuor on July 9, 2015 was solely aimed at calling for a permanent ceasefire and bridging the high tensioned gap between Akufo-Addo and the former.
Sources claim that businessperson cum Pastor Mensa-Otabil who hates the NDC government so much; so that he has boycotted every function organized by the ruling party since 2009 was there. In addition, was another disguised politician cum Pastor, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, the Moderator of the Presby Church. I am reliably informed that Archbishop Palmer Buckle was also there.
There were other political heavyweights within the NPP who also trooped to the meeting, so that the current implosion within the NPP that has denied their Chairman Paul Afoko and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong access to their offices for the past three months could be resolved finally.
But Nana Akufo-Addo who went to the meeting with a myopic view thinking that as the flagbearer he would be absolved off all blame and rather former President Kufuor and his supporters would be blamed for all what is going on within the NPP was in for a big shock.
The meeting started on the usual niceties, with an urgent call that 2016 is the main focal point and that everything the attendees were there for was to let everything go for the sake of NPP towards 2016. Some of the clergy notably Mensa Otabil were afraid of ruffling feathers by beating about the bush and just calling for calm and asking the main political players, Ex-President Kufuor and Akufo-Addo to let bygones be bygones for the 2016 victory.
However, others like Rev. Prof. Martey did not play it soft, but told Akufo-Addo that his antics and “invisible hands” behind the scenes were contributing largely towards the fortunes of the party. Rev. Martey even went further by telling Akufo-Addo that he was not showing leadership and that his divide and rule tactics were tearing the NPP apart.
Rev. Martey was not done. He pointedly told Akufo-Addo that the NPP does not belong to one single person, and that Akufo-Addo’s mantra of surrounding himself with only people he likes and his penchant of slamming those he hates on the wall will not cut it. He told Akufo-Addo to forget 2016 if he does not change because his current posture does not portray someone who wants to be President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has heard enough. And for those who know Akufo-Addo’s temper and his demeanour when he is pushed towards the wall, the words of Rev. Martey made him very angry. And so were his supporters who had gone to the meeting with him. Some of Akufo-Addo’s supporters jumped to his defence, but the words of Rev. Martey were so biting that it had already made lasting imprints on those present.
What happened next were hot exchanges and words started flying from all angles much to the surprise of the clergy who thought that they have hit a home-run and that the unity they have been craving for within the NPP was going to work this time round. Akufo-Addo and his supporters could not contain the heat that followed because they felt trapped.
Akufo-Addo then signalled his supporters and before anybody could say jack, they angrily bolted the meeting making the clergy and the other NPP bigwigs look stupid and terrible. Akufo-Addo was gone. As the NPP flagbearer for 2016, he feels he is not accountable to anybody and if anything at all, all should bow and listen to him.
Pastor Mensa Otabil who licked his wounds and was seen shaking his head in disbelief was of the view that probably the die is cast or that the behaviour of Akufo-Addo is perhaps the last straw that has broken the back of the NPP.
Others who were at the meeting felt highly disrespected by the behaviour of Akufo-Addo and said privately that Akufo-Addo knowing he may not win the 2016 election is scheming to go down with the NPP.
History they say always repeats itself. Thirty-six years ago precisely in 1979, a similar thing happened. And among the players and weavers were the ubiquitous Nana Akufo-Addo. Now let us get to the details. When the ban on party politics was lifted by the then Head of State, General Akuffo, the Dankwa-Busia people formed the Popular Front Party (PFP). One of the kingpins was William Paa Ofori-Atta, who believed he should be the flagbearer of the party. However, when Victor Owusu was elected as the presidential candidate of the PFP, Ofori-Atta, popularly called Paa Willie decided to bolt the PFP with Nana Akufo-Addo.
The PFP fearing that if Paa Willie leaves the party and form his own party it will dearly cost the PFP the pending election rallied some people for mediation talks. Can you believe who was the main man during the mediation talks? The late Presby Moderator, Rt. Rev. Sintim-Misa, the father of the popular comedian KSM. The Ashanti faction of the PFP was led by Mr Victor Owusu and Dr. Kwame Safo-Adu whilst the Akyem faction was led by Paa Willie and Akufo-Addo.
The meeting seems to have gone well because Paa Willie solemnly pledged to his own Moderator, Rev. Sintim-Misa that he will go and dissolve his nascent United National Convention (UNC).
But as soon as they left the meeting, Paa Willie and Akufo-Addo privately stated that, “To hell with them”, and went ahead to register the UNC. The rest is history as the PFP lost the ensuing election to former President Dr Hilla Limann of the People’s National Party.
This is the mark of Akufo-Addo. If he does not get his wish or is not able to bulldoze his way through no one gets a breathing space. He schemed with his uncle Paa Willie Ofori Atta and torn the Dankwa-Busia apart during the 1979 election by forming their own party, the UNC. Nana Akufo-Addo, who does not want to lead by consensus within the NPP, simply throws those who criticize him under the bus. He has no room for critics.
Ghanaians should note that since former President Rawlings left power the country has been blessed with gentle, non-violent leaders, like JA Kufuor, John Atta Mills, and John Mahama. One thing we should ask ourselves is do we need a violent and unrepentant Akufo-Addo at the helm of affairs in this peaceful country?