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NPP in crisis, who will save it?

Thu, 25 Jun 2009 Source: Daily Dispatch

The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), is in crisis, crisis which the Daily Dispatch believes, has the potential to test the unity of the party since it was founded in 1992.

The broad areas which are giving rise to this state can broadly be classified as (a) the search for reasons why the party lost the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections; (b) the way and manner elections for regional/national executive officers for the party should be conducted. In addition, the manner of the election of the party's flag-bearer is the other part of this second issue of contention and (c) the way forward, towards the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

(A) SEARCH FOR REASONS OF ELECTORAL DEFEAT

There are three main groups in the NPP - the Kufuor Group; the Nana Akufo-Addo Group and the Freelance Group (members who do not belong to any of the two previous groups). The Nana Akufo ­Addo Group is blaming ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor as being responsible for the party's defeat by virtue of some 'electorally suicidal' decisions - purchase of two presidential planes; the building and opening of the incomplete new presidential palace; the inability of one or two officials at the Presidency to adequately respond to queries on expenditure during the Ghana@50 celebrations; the 17% reduction in fuel prices before the run-off (when two weeks earlier, he had said they could not reduce it due to the TOR debt) and others.

The Kufuor Group has countered that in spite of whatever 'wrong' decisions the Kufuor administration may have taken, Nana Akufo-Addo and his campaign team let the NPP and themselves down by some decisions they took. These include the wrong choice of a running mate; Nana Akufo-Addo's inability to personally intervene to resolve problems arising from constituency primaries; inability to put in place a truthful and credible research team; taking the voter for granted (how can a member of the campaign team, who is from the Eastern Region, say in the Central Region that 'I am an Akyem and will vote for my brother, an Akyem man?'); how Eastern Region let Nana Akufo-Addo down by not voting massively for him and uncoordinated campaigning.

The Freelance Group, in addition to blaming the Kufuor and Nana Akufo-Addo groups, also blames the national executives of the NPP. They hold the view that the executives should have been proactive and intervened to calm down various tensions. They also blame the executives and the party's Council of Elders for not taking steps to bring the Kufuor and Nana Akufo­-Addo groups together, as tensions between the two groups at the grassroots level contributed to some level of apathy in some of their very safe constituencies. Quite a number of members of this group, as a radical measure, want both Nana Akufo-Addo and Mr. Alan Kyerematen to declare that they would not contest to be the flag-bearer for the 2012 presidential elections. Instead, they would want these two leading members to name a person they would both support!

The prognosis continues Friday, June 26, 2009.

Columnist: Daily Dispatch