As the NPP gathers steam and Tamale beckons...

Fri, 11 Apr 2014 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My good friends, even as we continue to acknowledge the enormity of the challenges facing the Mahama-led administration and why solving problems is taking too long, we can't lose sight of what is happening at the NPP front.

We will continue to monitor goings-on and comment on them with the view to raising pertinent perspectives to enrich the discourse on governance and Ghana's hope for the future.

I say so because of the impression already created by NPP leaders and followers that their party is the only hope for Ghana. This claim is all too pervasive, which is why we can't overlook happenings in the party, especially as it gathers steam for Saturday's national delegates conference in Tamale to elect national officers to manage the party's affairs for Election 2016 and beyond.

So far, the slate is not clean. Complaints, accusations/counter-accusations, allegations of impropriety in canvassing for votes or anomalies in the register of voters, controversy over proxy voting, ineligibility of certain officials to vote, and many more have taken centre-stage to create the impression that some head-butting is going on and will likely worsen either before, during, or after the conference.

As Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie digs in and seems to be the favourite to retain his position as general Secretary, the mudslinging against him intensifies. Many calls from those who matter in the party that the delegates should reject him seem to have capped it all. But he remains unfazed, apparently assured of some "omen" that Lady Luck would smile on him at Tamale.

Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey may be quiet, but he seems to know what he is about. So also are the other contestants, all poised to spring surprises, provided nothing is done by those heavily slanted against them to muddy the waters.

Paul Afoko, aspiring national chairman, is one contestant who has already been complaining about many "irregularities".

Having been "damaged" during the vetting process only to be rescued at the eleventh hour to put in his bid, he seems to have some premonition, which is why he won't sit down to be cajoled and eventually doomed

He says he has been betrayed by some bigwigs of the party to whom he had written a letter complaining about issues, and suggesting that some officials (including Akufo-Addo) shouldn't be allowed to vote. He has already expressed reservations.

Akufo-Addo says he will vote!!

We take note of the head-start advantage that Akufo-Addo has gained over others contemplating contesting for the party's flagbearership. He is in Tamale, showcasing himself as the front-runner.

Others interested in the flagbearership may feel either intimidated or overwhelmed. Notwithstanding, Alan Kyerematen has confirmed that he will bid for the party’s presidential candidate position for 2016.

In a goodwill message to the NPP ahead of its national delegates conference in the Northern Region, he said:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I know that some people would still want to hear from me about my intentions to contest the flagbearership of our party when the time comes. I don’t think that so far I have left anybody in doubt as my readiness and intention to do so, but just in case anybody still has any doubt, my yes answer is YES! I am still ready and will contest when the time comes”.

The manner in which Akufo-Addo is approaching the conference and internal politics is intriguing, apparently because of what he had given about himself while vacationing in London and postponing his return to Ghana.

He is on record as having said that he decided not to return in February (when the conference was scheduled for March) because he didn't want to be seen as manipulating the delegates to vote for candidates of his choice.

Yet, he has dashed to Tamale two clear days before the conference takes place; and news reports about his movements suggest that he is reaching out to the party's supporters. What for?

The factionalism that exists in the party is astounding, even though the human ostriches have denied it. We can tell from the jostling going on that certain aspirants are already blacklisted or positioned to be rejected just because of their perceived loyalty to or against Akufo-Addo.

Indeed, the stage seems to have been set for tension to heighten. Only those with vested interests will know the extent to which they want to manipulate the situation to advantage; but that manipulation will come at a great cost to the party, eventually.

Whether the party can withstand the pressure is anybody's guess. My conjecture, however, is that given the underhand dealings going on and the open expression of misgivings by some aspirants and their supporters, the Tamale conference will be a turning point for the party. The intrigues are really heavy!

For now, those who think that all is well and that there is no cause for alarm can continue to please themselves. In the end, they are likely to shudder and then shatter as reality sinks. Eyes are watching!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.