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NPP Chairmanship Race: Who is starting the smear campaign?

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 Source: Haruna, Mahama

Are we going to start another campaign period with mudslinging, character assassination and unjustifiable denigration? Why would not all those supporting certain aspirants for Chairmanship concentrate on their strategies and qualities of people they are routing for instead of resorting to smear campaign?

In the Ghanaian Chronicle of Friday 16th October 2009, Boye Laryea, a good friend of mine and former Financial Secretary of the Greater Accra Region engaged in some diatribes against Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey in a feature entitled `Swine, Dogs and Novices`. The feature came on the heels of a similar one in the Independent newspaper and another that appeared on Ghanaweb on Saturday 17th October, 2009 under the caption "Anybody but Jake" written by a Yaw Okyere-Addo.

Jake in a strategic move to garner support invited Greater Accra party officials to his house for a meeting to discuss how they can work harder, show commitment and loyalty to the NPP and also rise above their differences and work together in ensuring that unity is fostered within the party especially in the Greater Accra Region. This did not amuse some party members.

Boye Laryea in his fallacious reasoning claim Jake is running on five things: He is a Ga; He has won General Elections; He left Greater Accra with 16 Seats; He will ensure that party footsoldiers are closely consulted; and He has been helping people.

Be that as it may let us examine the five points of Mr. Boye Laryea.


This is incontrovertible. Indeed the Ga Traditional Council has stated that it is not in speaking the language that makes or does not make Jake Nii Lantei Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey a Ga. It is his birthright. This issue had always come up anytime Jake was going for Greater Accra Chairman. Anyway he is now vying for National and the issue of language is inconsequential; or else I will entreat all those who have declared their intention to contest to speak Gonja when they get to Bole-Bamboi where I hail from. If they are not able to speak my dialect then it means they will all lose my vote.

The issue of a Ga for chairman was raised by a founding member of the NPP Mr Kwami Pianim who ironically is an Akan. He suggested that the NPP elect a Ga as its Chairman to dispel the perception that the party is an Akan Party. He said a Ga Chairman for the NPP will make the party very comfortable in Accra and that will reflect all across the country because people will see that you are followed in Accra. This message is not from Jake. In fact he is strictly campaigning on his records and what he is capable of doing for the party.

As far as I am concerned, the NPP has no choice on the matter.  The party need to do a lot of strategic planning in terms perceptions as to whether the party is broad based or not. The party must not to be seen solely as an Akan party notwithstanding the good side to this perception. Perhaps what good old Kwame Pianim forgot to add was "not just any Ga but a competent, tried and tested, hardworking, honest, a unifier and one with the organisational skills to lead the NPP to victory in 2012".

On Jake’s contribution to the Ga Community, such as it is, Mr. Laryea displays his willful ignorance. It is Jake’s passionate championing of using tourism as a new industry and source of wealth creation for the people of Ga Mashie that has resulted in the work done at Usher Fort, Brazil House, Mantse Agbona. That so much more needs to be done is probably why Jake does not go trumpeting the start that has been made but seeks always to encourage those who are continuing the task to continue to do their very best.

On Jake’s personal contributions, it is said that in matters of charity “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. I am confident that at Jake’s funeral there will be mourners who will pay tribute to what he has done for them.

Mr. Boye Laryea will not be one of them. Because there will always be people who will be ungrateful for whatever help they have received, believing that they should have got more or even everything they wanted, whatever you do for them is never enough. That being so when they are helped to get a contract and are given a loan to finance that contract, on completion and payment they feel they need not repay the loan. There will always be those who borrow money “for my child’s school fees” and then feel that the loan should have been a gift and unilaterally take it as such and dodge repayment.


Again Mr. Laryea shows his ignorance. Jake has played central roles in the elections of N.P.P since 1992. He has always known that he is part of a team. He is proud of his role as Campaign Manager in 2000 and 2004, but recognizes that what we achieved, we did as a team.

Mr. Boye Laryea claims 2000, as a “safe-victory” and 2004 as a “tight win”. The relevant figures are 2000, first round – J. A. Kufuor 48.17% - NPP 99 Seats. 2004, J. A.. Kufuor 52.4% - N.P.P 128 Seats. How does the bigger victory become tighter than the “safe victory”?

Mr. Boye Laryea claims Jake was only successful in Greater Accra in 2000 under a Ga National Chairman. Mr. Laryea conveniently forgets the victory of 2004 under a non Ga National Chairman.

The victories that were won in Greater Accra in 2000 and 2004 were won as a team. Jake was the team leader and therefore entitled to the credit a leader gets, as he would have been liable to blame in the case of defeat.

I don’t agree with Mr. Laryea’s insinuation that speaking Ga is the requisite for victory in Greater Accra. The Greater Accra Regional Chairman in 1992 when we were the losers was a Ga and fluent in the language, as was the Acting Greater Accra Regional Chairman in 1996 when again we lost and as was the Greater Accra Regional Chairman in 2008 when we retreated from victors to losers.

Mr. Laryea should consider whether indeed because of Jake’s language handicap he compensates by listening more closely to people who speak to him in all of the many languages now spoken in the National Capital. And what he hears is what informs his choice of strategy.

For 2008 Jake never seek to distance himself from the defeat nor ever talked of Dr. Apraku hijacking the campaign.

What Jake has always said is that when you point a finger at another, three fingers will point back at you. We are all responsible for the results. Just as we all would have claimed responsibility for a victory so we must accept responsibility for the loss. The higher your position in the campaign, the greater your responsibility.

Jake’s acquisition of a leasehold to develop the land at Ridge into a multiple dwelling was used against the party is regrettable and I know continues to cause him anguish. However, I do not accept that Jake was in breach of any ethics by receiving and accepting an offer to develop the property when he was no longer in office.

I am sure if Jake had thought that he was infringing any code he would not have accepted the offer and certainly not by using his full name as transparently as he did and has done since.

However those who point to this and try to claim it as the cause of our disastrous result in Greater Accra, or point in the same way to Prof. Mike Ocquaye’s late introduction into the Greater Accra campaign to help combat the looming collapse, do themselves no credit.

They should rather look to what Jake called the meeting in his house to highlight; namely that the divisions in the Greater Accra constituencies based on personal agendas was quite possibly the biggest single cause of our not winning, nationally but especially in Greater Accra .

Let us look more closely at the Greater Accra constituencies and learn from our mistakes.


You should build on what you inherit. Jake inherited a situation of Greater Accra 9 Seats and 46% Presidential vote. He left it with 16 Seats and a 52% Presidential vote, both majorities. It was for his successors, Mr. Boye Laryea included, to improve on this. Did they?

Political parties exist to win elections. Mr. Laryea however claims a new office as a significant achievement. It is not an office that wins elections; it is what you do in that office. Kantamanto served us well. We trained in there and we won from there.

Of course Boye Laryea has forgotten that Jake's brain child is the Nasara Club of NPP, which is now a wing of the Party to target the Zongos or the Moslem Communities, the formation of a Rapid Response Unit in Greater Accra and the Research and Information Desk to as it were to quickly react to the NDC criticisms and to defend the then NPP Government. He was also a strategic mind who at that time as Regional Chairman could marshal people from all the major languages spoken in a cosmopolitan place like Accra should tell him the kind of brain he wants to joke with.


Yes! Definitely! We will win in 2012 only by close consultation and inclusion. The meetings that Jake always held as Regional Chairman and subsequently, assembled all executives and ensured that everyone was on board with whatever we all agreed to do, it was a major factor in the building of unity in our party and therefore significantly contributed to the victories we had in Greater Accra.

The policy of exclusion, of Chairmen only meetings, was a major contributor to the breakdown of team spirit in the Greater Accra constituencies.


Those who Jake has helped in the Party, know themselves. There are those who admit it and those like Boye Laryea who will have the world believe they never benefited.

I don’t remember Jake making any promises to anyone. Others made promises of building petrol stations, biscuit factories and providing jobs and Ministerial posts. Show me the delivery.

I enjoined party people to always look for people who have been tried, tested and proved, to put them in responsible positions. I know Jake Obetsebi- Lamptey as having been faithful to the Danquah-Busia-Dombo cause. He has worked tirelessly and we have chalked several successes with him in leadership positions.

What we need to do now is to concentrate on winning and what Jake did for us before, get all of us to focus on training, resourcing, motivating and building a team is the best answer to N.P.P’s needs. It is sure and tested and” Insha Allah” will return us to office in 2012.

Finally I will urge Boye Laryea and those who have starting the mudslinging to please stop because it is distasteful. Even if they do not support Jake; that is fine but they should not start a War I believe they cannot win.

By Mahama Haruna

tel. Â 233 24 3313 113

eMail. maharun1@yahoo.comblog. mahamaharuna.blogspot.com

The writer was an NPP Secretary for Bole-Bamboi. He was also a Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama