Anybody but Jake- Rejoinder

Wed, 21 Oct 2009 Source: Haruna, Mahama

I read with surprise and sadness a feature that appeared on the ever popular Ghanaweb on Saturday 17th October, 2009 under the caption "Anybody but Jake" written by a Yaw Okyere-Addo.

It is my style not to respond to features on Ghanaweb because many people have their reservations to some features I also do write to the same site. But the many allegations and fallacies concocted by the said Okyere-Addo should not pass without any reaction especially since they were targeted at no mean a person than Jake Obetsebi- Lamptey . The invectives of Okyere-Addo hurled at Jake in a reckless abandon, without decorum and deference to him demands a reaction. It is good Okyere-Addo has putting his views across. Much as he dislike Jake, others like him. Okyere-Addo's views should and cannot stop Jake from contesting the chairmanship. The single-most impression one gets out of the feature is blatant hatred and mercenary work under the cover of constructive criticism.

Against this backdrop, I would like to address some pertinent issues raised by Okyere-Addo.

First of all he admitted that "Jake is a fine man and astute politician. He is credited with managing and strategising for the NPP's two wins in 2000 and 2004. He is said to have crafted some of the eye-catching advertisements of the times. Add that his dad was right there with the UGCC, and there are no questions about his loyalty to the NPP."

Sadly and ironically the same Okyere-Addo said the news that Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey is running for NPP National Chairman is the worst he has heard in 2009 and that not only did it make his stomach churn, it heightened his long-held fears that the NPP might be in opposition for a long time. This is sheer hypocrisy! I can assure Okyere Addo that his stomach will not only churn but run freely by December when Jake is declared National Chairman.

I find it difficult to understand the basis of Okyere-Addo's assertion that Jake's performances as Chief of Staff and Information Minister were all terrible and that in government circles, it was no secret that he was ineffective as a minister. What a fallacy. I do not know if Okyere -Addo was in space when Jake occupied these offices.

I will address this issue of Jake's performance in government later but it is a well known fact that as Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, he created a "Party Liaison Office" to deal with concerns of party members across the country, a situation that made party activists happy. As Minister of Tourism Jaske moved Tourism from a low key to the front lione of Ghana's economic development.

Okyere-Addo was at his hypocritical best when he said ex-President J.A.Kufour always wanted to get rid of Jake and that he was only saved by the fact that he was one of the high profile Gas in government and so to incorporate him, he was sent to the ministry of Tourism to rot. This is simply aimed at knocking heads. I wonder the source of Okyere- Addo's information but I believe Kufour was not thinking like him.

I can assure Okyere- Addo that Jake is a Unifier and would not drag the party to wallow in the bitterness of divisions and factionalism. To have any chance of winning the party must unite its ranks and the best person to do that is Jake. Having served as Campaign Chairman to both J. A. Kufour and Akufo-Addo and having dealt with most of the prominent people in NPP with greater co-operation and understanding, I believe he will be in the best position to unite the party.

Listen to Okyere-Addo "The fact that leading members of the party graced Jake's press conference is more worrying". I believe he has not seen anything yet, There are hundreds of our leading members supporting Jake who could not make it there. Okyere-Addo can contact me for a list of such leading members and I believe he will stop the 'dirty work' he is doing for some one we know, and instead support Jake.

Okyere-Addo naively ended his amateurish feature by saying, "Finally, let me add that I have heard people like Mr. Kwame Pianim who say we need a Ga chairman. I am sure their position is influenced by our recent past when we had same three times on the trot. To them I say there are better Gas around".

I totally agree with Kwame Pianim. As far as I am concerned, the NPP has no choice on the matter. The party must not to be seen solely as an Akan party notwithstanding the good side to this perception. Is not the better Gas that are one by one declaring support for Jake? Does Okyere-Addo wants to believe the likes of Proffessor Mike Ocquaye, Hon. I.C. Quaye and many others are not better Gas by supporting a Ga?

I will want to make it clear to Okyere-Addo that, leadership is about people- how to lead people to achieve desired outcomes. It is about carrying people along; It is about vision; A leader organises, motivates and leads people to achieve beneficial results. A leader must have charisma-essential to motivate and inspire people to support his course.

I wish to point out to Okyere-Addo that, the competition over the National Chairmanship position will be challenging but I believe it would not be too big a challenge to NPP Kingmakers because the party is full of discerning people who will rightly determine how the party should chart its course by electing the right leaders. We must rise above pettiness, selfishness and hypocrisy.

The party need to turn a new page, adapt to a new paradigm shift and embrace a new brand of leadership.The party needs a disciplined, dynamic and a visionary Chairman whose love for the party is without question. A new Chairman with a strong commitment to organisation and party-building skills is needed.

The grass- root supporters and other admirers of the party are currently disillusioned due to some avoidable and elementary mistakes as well as self-inflicted wounds the Party suffered, especially before the last elections.. The once popular party that the nation embraced is now a pale shadow of its former glory.

I have carefully followed the exploits of Jake Obetsebi Lamptey for many years. With his track record, pedigree and organisational acumen, I believe he is more than qualified to be National Chairman of NPP contrary to what Okyere-Addo want readers to believe.

Jake has served the NPP for long and is one of the few who sacrificed their time, resources and spirit to consolidate, advance and improved on the fortunes of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition and the NPP starting from the parties formative stage.

Added to this is the fact that Jake will bring to the office National Chairman tremendous experience having successfully managed a large organisation like Lintas. His experience in marketing and communications will be an asset to the NPP. He was a Greater Accra Regional Chairman three times- from 1997 to 2004, during which period the NPP won the majority of Parliamentary seats and Presidential votes for the first time in the history of our tradition.

He enjoys considerable grassroots support and several of the people in the party leadership are comfortable with him. He is considered as 'conveniently and positively predictable' as a strategist and grafter because of his vast experience in party management and campaign organisation since 1979.

He is a team player and one who creates opportunities for people working under him to learn and grow. He is the only Minister under ex-President Kufour's government who's four deputies were promoted to full Ministers. He is, down-to-earth and politically astute enough to connect with the average folks.

He is someone who is able to mix well and relate maximally with different shades of people- the youth, women and vulnerable groups. He has a passion for the promotion of the well fare of the youth and is down to earth. He is accommodating and listens carefully to people even under pressure. There is a feeling among the younger generation of NPP that, the party needs to change itself with regards to the way it deals with its youth before it begins thinking about retaking power. The youth are craving new ideas and leadership action and I have a strong belief Jake would be able to meet their aspirations.

Under a Jake Chairmanship, I believe NPP foot soldiers, activists and all relevant stakeholders will be duly recognised and if possible rewarded for their good work. Jake has charisma and this is essential to motivate and inspire the NPP's foot soldiers most of whom are presently apathetic to the course of the party. His natural appeal to floating voters and non NPP voters could do the trick.

This is the parties crucial moment and it is imperative that leaders who have been tried, tested and who have shown the necessary commitment and loyalty that the NPP requires in its quest to wrestle power from the NDC are elected. We cannot win 2012 with a novice as Chairman.

We those working for Jake know the faces behind these writings and will surely expose them at the right time. Those who try to tarnish the reputations of others through clandestine activities must always hold themselves in readiness for appropriate responses to their methods. I will advise Okyere-Addo and his pat masters to be guided by the saying that 'those who live in glass houses do not throw stones'.

I reason in line with the opinion that, even though the NPP has always welcomed competition for office as a bedrock principle, the overwhelming majority of our rank and file hope that the competition for the National Chairmanship of the party will be conducted in a way that will facilitate reconciliation among competitors and their supporters, thereby reinforcing the unity of the party.

By Mahama Haruna


The writer was a Secretary of NPP for Bole Bamboi.

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama