Isn’t Akufo-Addo more popular in defeat?

Wed, 18 Sep 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, September 15, 2013

¬¬Friends, the number of people “trooping” to Akufo-Addo’s Nima residence to interact with him since the Supreme Court sealed his sad fate is worthy of note.

Here is how the pro-NPP Daily Guide newspaper captured it in today’s edition: “The 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and NPP National Chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, were on Friday mobbed at the Abbosey Okai Central Mosque in Accra when they turned up at the facility to offer gratitude to God.

The warm reception the trio received was given impetus by the Chief Imam Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu’s commendation for Nana Akufo-Addo who, he said, deserved prayers.”

Good for him.

And the man himself is basking in the limelight, making all kinds of utterances to defeat his own purpose of taking time out to rest, do introspection, and come out to tell Ghanaians his future political direction.

He hasn’t taken time out to do so but has already told Ghanaians something with which to predict his future political direction: he won’t quit national politics. Obviously, he is still in the game.

The more he avails himself of the opportunity to receive the delegations calling on him, the more he opens the window wider for the sneak peek that we continue to take into his future political purposes and to know him all the more.

His popularity has soared in defeat, which is easily understandable. As he continues to tell those calling on him, he is still grieving at the electoral defeat and the Supreme Court’s verdict, which is why he won’t stop commenting on it. He was reported to have told a NPP grouping which called on him at his Nima residence on Tuesday that although he accepted that verdict for the sake of peace, he did not entirely agree with it. What will he do next? Nothing but live with that painful fact!!

Then, he added that “he believes the party will come to power if there is unity and the right structures are put in place”. Very good observation to make.

Unity in the NPP cannot be attained in the current circumstance when the house is on fire over him; not because of his popularity but because of the miscalculations going on.

That popularity-in-defeat itself is both a time-bomb and a double-edged sword with likely devastating consequences for him and the NPP.

Being a time-bomb, it portends internal wrangling for the NPP, at least, in the sense of either retaining him as the party’s flagbearer for Election 2016 or replacing him and bracing up for the consequences. A conundrum of sorts to deepen the party’s woes. Without any further muddying of the waters, it is obvious already that the time-bomb has been set off and it is ticking loudly, sounding the alarm bells.

Take the lobbying set in motion by Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and other bigwigs of the party rooting for the retention of Akufo-Addo as a clear fault-line in the party. Then, view it against the sharp criticism from others (some of whom had contested the flagbearership with Akufo-Addo and still have a huge interest in testing the waters for Election 2016). Certainly, one can see another fault-line here. So, when these two forces clash, what will be the fate of the party?

Proponents for the retention of Akufo-Addo have advanced arguments, all of which boil down to Akufo-Addo’s popularity. The likely result will be that Akufo-Addo should go again in 2016. There comes the double-edged sword to deepen the internal crisis.

Will the retention of Akufo-Addo in and of itself be enough to win the elections? What have the party’s leaders gathered from his successive defeat by the NDC to know what not to do or to do for him to sail through at the third attempt?

Arguments dismissing the age factor may sound pleasant in their own ears, especially when they claim that even at 89, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is still agile enough to rule the country. But there lies their miscalculation. Yes, Mugabe is 89 years and still retained by the electorate, which suggests that an advanced age alone shouldn’t be a liability.

Unfortunately, these NPP people arguing this way have forgotten that Mugabe has been in power since 1980 and is not contesting the elections as an opposition leader. Having been in power for decades, gathering no moss and moving on to lead Zimbabwe again for the next seven years, he is poles ahead of Akufo-Addo at the level of age and its merit to the politician.

And now, Nii Ayikoi Otoo has introduced a new factor into the equation, suggesting that age does matter because t6he NDC’s fielding of a much younger candidate (President Mahama) did the magic for the party. Thus, the NPP should advise itself. A dead-end for Akufo-Addo?

In any case, retaining Akufo-Addo without any further muddying of the waters could settle doubts, and fears (after all, he is upheld as the most likely threat to the NDC’s future); but it won’t remove suspicions (in many guises—the strangulating hold on the party by the “Akyem mafia”, slighting of possible candidates not of Akan extraction, or any other damning thing).

The fate of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, especially, comes up here for mention. Will he be retained too as Akufo-Addo’s running mate? For the third consecutive time in the shadows? Won’t the very factors that worked against both in previous elections re-surface to doom them again?

Or, will there be a reversal of fates for Dr. Bawumia to become the flagbearer and Akufo-Addo his running mate, given the fact that Dr. Bawumia played a huge role in advancing the party’s interests at the petition hearing and was upheld as giving a good account of his intellectual prowess (while Akufo-Addo was lurking behind in the shadows)? We recall Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie’s elevation of him to the status of a “God” that he claimed he would worship. Of course, not everything from any gas-bag is worth accepting.

So, as Akufo-Addo’s popularity-in-defeat soars in defeat, he poses a more serious problem to the NPP than it will be prepared for. Even if it fails to give him a song, it at least will give him a tongue, for making his presence felt. His is a by-product of a chequered political process.

We can take this argument a stage further to include other factors. The only reason why we won’t do so, though, is that he is already the bone of contention within his own party, let alone what any retention of him for Election will re-enact to determine his fate again. We may derive some amusement from this portent in anticipation of how the goings-on in the NPP pan out.

As he continues to bask in his popularity-in-defeat amid the storm that is forming around him and has become talkative like a weaverbird, we hope that whatever final decision he makes regarding his political direction won’t take him toward merely pursuing a dead end, which can only lead to political sterility, uncreativity (recognizing the “book politics” going on in the NPP), and frustration.

If he can become popular this way, then, defeat rather than victory, might be his best option. (Just for the laughs!!)

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.