Opinions Mon, 26 Jan 2009

Kufuor's Legacy and the NPP's Future

Stanislav Kofi Adzitornu

There is no doubt that former President Kufuor has contributed immensely towards the democratic dispensation that Ghana currently enjoys. This assertion is derived from his regular featuring at the G-8 Summits ever since he became president of Ghana and his excellent relations with world leaders that have enabled Ghana attract attention and investment worldwide. Perhaps, it may be difficult to have another president that would enjoy such massive international support on the same scale as President Kufuor. Without doubt, President Kufuor is truly respected on the international front.

Jump into the cold dry winds of West Africa and the story within Ghana of President Kufuor becomes a mixed bag of applause and revulsion; applause because his apologists see him as the best thing that happened to Ghana since Nkrumah while his opponents consider him as a very shrewd thief, one who has managed to hide his loot cleverly from public scrutiny and official inquiry. If in doubt, go back to 2005 when his predecessor, ex- President Rawlings rhymed in unison with his party faithful ‘Ataa Ayi Nie, Kufuor Nie’ (Ataa Ayi is Ghana’s most notorious armed robber) For the first group of apologists, Kufuor has been the most successful Danquah-Busia leader in living memory, having served two full-terms as president under a Republican Constitution without interruption from the military. They also attribute to him, the creation of a new enabling environment that has allowed a class of rich people to emerge within Ghana. They point to the string of business enterprises within the private sector that sprang up with the advent of Kufuor. They mention the plethora of banks, financial institutions, social and economic infrastructural projects including but not limited to the Bui Dam, the restoration of Peduase Lodge, the new Jubilee House and the massive construction of roads such as the Accra-Aburi highway among others. Indeed, it appears former President Kufuor has outdone all his predecessors in the construction sector alone, if tenure of leadership is used as a basis of assessment vis-à-vis actual work done. Among this group can be found the likes of Paul Afoko, Daniel K. Osei, Birago, Tommy Amematkpor, Stephen A. Ntim, Richard Winfred Anane and of course, Oteng Kufuor, son of Professor Kufuor of The University of East London who currently writes in the Chronicle under the pseudonym Maame Coomson.

The other group, his opponents, are likely to smirk at the preceding paragraph, citing cronyism, favouritism and outright sabotage from the former President, who they claim, dexterously hides behind surrogates to undermine and thwart the efforts of those who choose to pursue their interests outside the control of former President Kufuor. Such people readily cite and adduce some evidence of interference in their legitimate business by surrogates of Kufuor (does anybody remember a certain Sammy Crabbe and the Ghana International Airline back-stabbing?). They mention for instance, how ideas of theirs submitted to certain consultants or ministries have found their way into the implementation stage albeit in altered form. They also mention how certain people have become constant recipients of lavish contracts and other rewarding opportunities at the expense of those who strove to get Kufuor to power. For this group, Kufuor’s legacy is nothing to write home about and the hot heads among them are even suspected to be planning to teach Kufuor a bitter lesson by adducing evidence of corruption and other untoward acts to the new NDC government. Within this group are the likes of Dan K. Botwe, Mahmoud, Auntie Adoley, Joe Danquah, Okerchiri Adusah, and Isaac Asiamah among others.

There is yet another group, consisting of pure NPP thoroughbreds who attribute the recent loss of power mainly to Kufuor and the vote-rejection activities of his men. This group is largely made up of Young Turks and die-hard hawkish elements or fanatics who have been at the receiving end of Kufuor’s legacy. These people, known to be the foot soldiers of the NPP are alleged to be in possession of audio information about a supposed phone call made by former President Kufuor to Dr. Afari Djan in which a conspiracy was hatched against declaration of results for Akufo-Addo, ostensibly because Akufo-Addo does not respect. For them, so long as Kufuor has any influence in the party, the NPP would never grow to its full potential. It is this line of thinking that blended them together into a fighting force that does one main thing: ensure that all Kufuor surrogates do not hold any office within the national executive of the party. As a result of their influence and massive support base at the grassroots they are a rather dangerous lot, having gradually established themselves as the new kingmakers within the party. Within their ranks can be found Nii Boye Laryea, Olive, Francis Adil, Sahadatu Issahaku, Mr. Yesterday, Atta and Atsu, Rita Asobayire and the entire FONAA network operated by Akufo-Addo’s ‘three wise men’ as they are called together with their elusive network of sharp troubleshooters. If anybody has any future within the NPP party, that person must necessarily enjoy the support of this group, especially the Akufo-Addo elements among them. Put together on any day, they are a terrifying lot, combining unbelievable intellect and political savvy at all levels of their operations.

The existence of these three groups signifies one unavoidable truth: the legacy of Kufuor, whichever way one looks at it would not be easy to determine. It appears there is bound to be a slugging match to determine who wins who and why as a basis to finally establish what the true legacy of Kufuor is. Inasmuch as all these elements rallied behind Kufuor to enable him enjoy a smooth tenure as president, the old hatreds are threatening to re-emerge, what with the stirring of the hornets nest by the unwise decision of Oteng Kufuor (Maame Coomson) to rub salt in the wounds of people who are already spoiling for a fight. Now that the battle lines have been drawn, I shudder to think of any alliance within the party against the first group. Former President Kufuor and whatever legacy he might have left is indeed under threat and in all truth, I do not envy him at all considering the firepower of the people he now has to contend with, at a time he does not have either the ideological or repressive apparatus of state at his behest and disposal. I wish him Godspeed

Stanislav Kofi Adzitornu

Tallinn, Estonia

Columnist: Adzitornu, Kofi