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Is the future of the NPP truly in “safe hands”?

Tue, 7 Jul 2015 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Folks, the NPP’s third-time flagbearer, Akufo-Addo, is reported to have said that the future of the NPP is in safe hands. His reason? “The emergence of young, intelligent men and women who have been elected in the ongoing parliamentary primaries of the party”.

According to him, the courage exhibited by delegates in the constituencies that have seen young candidates being elected is a clear sign that delegates of the party have faith in their abilities, and are confident that they can also deliver victory for the party in the 2016 elections. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/NPP-s-future-in-safe-hands-Akufo-Addo-365435)

My reaction? A long yawn…..; then, questions to prove him wrong!!!

Is it the “young age” that now holds good for the NPP? If so, why is Akufo-Addo not giving way to a younger and more intelligent candidate to lead the NPP? We know how he twisted arms to become the third-time flagbearer.

Is Akufo-Addo so hollow as not to know the rancour, enmity, and underhand means by which some of those “young and intelligent men and women” were elected in most constituencies to deepen the party’s internal crisis? Why are the defeated candidates so embittered at the malpractices that shot them down? All because of Akufo-Addo’s own machinations in many of the constituencies?

These defeated candidates (24 MPs among them, be they old or young) have cited reasons other than age or intelligence quotient as the negative factors that doomed them at the June 13 primaries. Monetization of the process and Akufo-Addo’s own orchestrations rank high among the reasons. The disgruntled losers know what to do (having already formed an association), which scares Akufo-Addo for him to accuse the NDC of seeking to use such disaffected people to dim his light. What a sorry claim to make!

Can the NPP’s future be in Akufo-Addo’s “safe hands” when he has orchestrated the repudiation and overthrow of the party’s National Chair (Paul Afoko) and General Secretary (Kwabena Agyepong)? Did Afoko and Agyepong join the team to campaign in the Talensi by-election? Isn't it Freddie Blay (First Vice Chair, an Akufo-Addo lackey) who is coordinating everything? Should the NPP retain the seat, the obvious boasts will be that even without Afoko and Agyepong, everything went well. Their future, then, becomes irrelevant. Get rid of them!!

There are more questions than answers.

Truth be told upfront, the NPP is even not in safe hands now nor will it be in the future, especially with Akufo-Addo at its helm. He is a captain with no leadership acumen to steer the NPP ship to a safe harbour. Happenings in the party suggest that all is not well and the NPP faces a bleak future if those happenings persist. There may be some misplaced optimism of victory at Election 2016, probably because of the challenges facing the Mahama administration; but it is not certain that the government’s downside will become the NPP’s political capital. Ghanaians know better and will resign themselves to fate, guided by the fact that they have to endure the pain for the sake of the rose.

Akufo-Addo’s negative influence on the NPP is easy to establish:

• Since 1996 when he lost the bid to Kufuor, he has remained divisive;

• Winning the slot for the 2008 elections and the hostility toward Alan Kyerematen camp (which has magnified into open confrontations and established factionalism in the NPP) is negative;

• Losing Election 2008 and its aftermath has proved him to be a bad player (as Dr. Arthur Kennedy and Co. have criticized him of);

• His persistent demand and manipulation of forces to lead the NPP (even after losing Election 2012 and the subsequent useless petition hearing) is negative;

• Creeping in of personality cult, which is at variance with the tenets of Danquah-Busia ideology— whatever that ideology is, especially as militancy and intransigence dominate the party’s affairs under Akufo-Addo—is negative;

• With Akufo-Addo in place, the spirit of give-and-take in determining the internal affairs of the party is virtually gone. The threatening and sidelining of anybody considered to be anti-Akufo-Addo says it all;

• His manipulation of the “old” national executives (Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, etc.) to return to glory is obvious;

• He considers Afoko and Agyepong as a threat to be fought tooth-and-nail, which accounts for his mobilization of internal forces against both;

• Faint-hearted and deceptive peace-making efforts by him expose him as cunning.

The future of the NPP cannot be safe under such a cunning and manipulative person, especially as he continues to turn the party into a tool for achieving his personal childhood ambition of becoming Ghana’s President “at all costs” without doing what will grow the party at the grassroots level. Its structures weaken by the day.

For Akufo-Addo’s information, here are some highlights of what his own political front looked like before he injected his unbridled personal quests into it to destabilize it:

1. Ex-President Kufuor led the NPP to Election 2000 and won the support of the mushroom political parties to clinch victory in the run-off. But for his being trusted and regarded as a unifier, none would have supported him. Election 2004 went in his favour despite the NDC’s claims of rigging. For Akufo-Addo at Elections 2008 and 2012, it wasn't so. Had those mushroom parties supported him, he would have won. He alienated them instead and hasn't changed in any way for Election 2016.

2. Kufuor handed over a united NPP to Akufo-Addo but he lost it and set the stage for the internal wrangling that has torn the party apart—a clear reminder of the post-Progress Party developments when the United Party (UP) front lost traction and fractured into political camps representing petty personal political ambitions and narrow ethnic interests (Paa Willie’s United National Convention to fly the Akyem ethnic flag; Joe Appiah’s All People’s Republican Party and Victor Owusu’s Popular Front Party to float the flag of Asante ethnic supremacy; and many others).

To the Danquah-Busia ideological stance, personality cult is anathema!! The fracturing of the UP front in those days is nothing near what is happening now. What Akufo-Addo is re-enacting is solely aimed at turning the NPP into a personal tool for use in achieving personal ambitions. What for, I don’t know. But what I know is that at 72 years for Election 2016 and offering no cogent programme of action to rule Ghana better than others have done so far, he is setting the NPP up for woe.

The NPP has definitely been hijacked by Akufo-Addo and his followers. Danger, not safety or security, looms for the party. In the hands of Akufo-Addo, the NPP will totter. I am not in the least surprised that the voices of reason in that political cabal are silent, not because they are cowards but because they have the foresight to do better than shoot their mouths and be attacked. Of course, all these voices of reason are old and not young. They know what Akufo-Addo doesn’t; and when they pass on, they will take along with them a better picture of the Danquah-Busia ideology, leaving behind them the chaff that will immortalize Akufo-Addo’s agenda.

Then, when he loses Election 2016, he will leave the scene, having succeeded in turning the NPP into a militant group and not an attractive, united political force that will reach out to the electorate with better campaign messages and win their hearts. Wherein, then, lies his justification for the gaseous claim that with him in control of affairs, the NPP’s future is in safe hands?

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.