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NPP’s Quest For Unity: The Role Of President Kufuor.

Wed, 5 Aug 2009 Source: Zakariam, Yakubu

So soon August is here and my party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will be holding the much awaited extra-ordinary conference to discuss and possibly adopt series of constitutional amendments that are meant to strengthen the party, increase grass roots participation and generally give the party a sharper machine that will ensure a quick come back in 2012.

But that is not the subject of this article. But I am inclined to write this article before the extra-ordinary conference because I believe we should come out of that conference more united than we went. There are a number of factors that will ensure this. My article seeks to discuss just one of such factors: the President Kufuor factor.

Truth be told, President Kufuor has earned his place in the politics of Ghana and more so in the politics of the NPP. I write this article, first of all, as an admirer of his. I love President Kufuor. I love him for many reasons. I love him for the fact he is the first person in the history of the Danquah-Busia tradition to lead the party to two successful elections, thereby serving an eight year term. Some one can only rival that record; never to beat it. I love him for all the good things that he did for Ghana. Indeed his legacy of development is such that President Mills will be gasping for breath by the time 2012 catches up with him.

Therefore President Kufour needs not exert any extra energy to in order that his influence is felt within the party. The members and supporters of the NPP therefore expect him to rise above the partisanships that characterize all political movements the world over. Power intoxicates. But just like alcohol, the consumer can regulate his intake of it to levels that does not get him intoxicated. To this end also, President Kufuor has earned his place in the annals of African politics.

If President Kufuor indeed gets to win the Mo Ibrahim prize for leadership this year, it will be an award well deserved. Whatever the arguments may be, he handed over power without attempting to change the constitution to perpetuate himself in power. Having exerted himself for eight years to ensure the level of development that Ghana has attained, President Kufuor deserves a rest. He deserves a rest from the hard politics of partisanship, both within his party and within the general body politic of Ghana.

His colleague former President Rawlings has attracted so much opprobrium for himself in the last eight years precisely because of his refusal to stay above the partisan fray. Both within the NDC and in the politics of Ghana, President Rawlings has always descended into its murky waters of division. Indeed today, right thinking Ghanaians do not accord President Rawlings the respect that is deserving of an elder statesman.

It will be sad if President Kufuor was to let such fate befall him. As far as the nation’s politics is concerned, he has done well so far in not descending into the gutter as they say against the Mills administration. That is commendable. However he needs to adopt the same approach as far the internal politics of the NPP is concerned.

It will be politically suicidal if President Kufuor descends into the murky divisions of the party’s internal politics. He should stay above the fray and serve as father figure for everybody. Indeed in his recent interviews with Oman FM and the BBC, he indicated that he wanted to serve as an elder statesman to whom all shades of opinion could consult for advice. That is the role he should play, not just within the body politic of Ghana, but also within the NPP. President Kufuor should not deepen the divisions within the party by continuing to be the promoter of the cause of any particular political interest. It is in the interest of President Kufuor that the NPP returns to power quickly in order to protect his legacy which the NDC is bent on destroying. All the so called Ghana at 50 probes are meant to get at President Kufuor and I am sure that realization is not lost on him.

President Kufuor should allow the party’s constitutionally mandated bodies to regulate the operations and conduct of the party. His intervention may only serve to deepen the divisions and subvert the attempts at ensuring a united party.

So let President Kufuor take his rightful place within the politics of the NPP. Fortunately, the NPP has no founder-leader. President Kufuor is among its founding fathers, just like Nana Akufo-Addo or Hackman or Osafo-Maafo. It will be futile if he tried to be the Rawlings of the NPP. Indeed stalwarts of the Danquah-Busia tradition like R.R Amponsah who just passed away had sufficient clout to have behaved as if they owned the party. But they never did. President Kufuor’s neutrality and fair dealing is crucial in guaranteeing the unity of the NPP.

BY: Yakubu Zakaria P. O. BOX 5 ZABZUGU. NORTHERN REGION

Columnist: Zakariam, Yakubu