By Margaret Jackson
No party compares or come close to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) when it comes to sweeping issues or things under the carpet. They are masters and very good at keeping the lid on stinking issues as long as it takes or able to bully their way through to keep everybody guessing. Even when there is internal wrangling, unlike the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the NPP is always able to whip their members to submission or force their members to tow the party line. This political strategy has worked to their advantage in most instances.
Most of the time, we see the NPP folks demonstrating their nice tooth-paste smiles in public even when they are butting heads. This cosmetic display is aimed at throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians that all is well within the NPP, and that there is solid rock unity among them. This mechanism that the NPP has adopted has prevented the party’s dirty linens from being hanged for public view.
That is why the NPP has kept everybody guessing as to what actually transpired when the Council of Elders met in the middle of January, 2012. Even though many people knew that the meeting was meant for Nana Akufo-Addo to tip off the elders concerning his choice of a running mate, but because the meeting came to a stalemate, the NPP claimed it was just another meeting but nothing special. As usual, many people believed what the NPP said, but credible information that has bounced off my forehead indicates otherwise.
But before I drop the bombshell, I want to put it on record that the Asante/Akyem clique within the NPP is very real. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. And the two factions to a large extent would play towards the fortunes of the NPP in the up-coming elections in December, depending on how all knotty issues between the two factions are worked out.
Ex-president Kufuor was heavily blamed by the Akyem faction within the NPP for adopting a lukewarm attitude towards Akufo-Addo’s 2008 presidential campaign. But the Asante faction also contend that they did not have a hand in the selection of Akufo-Addo’s 2008 running mate, Dr. Mumuni Bawumia, who they thought was one of the reasons why Akufo-Addo lost the election. That is why when the NPP Council of Elders met in the middle of January and Akufo-Addo intimated that he wanted to keep Bawumia as his number two, the Asante faction within the elders kicked against it. Akufo-Addo was told pointedly that Bawumia would never be accepted as the number two because he does not bring any good tidings to the table.
But when Akufo-Addo decided to stand his ground just like he did in 2008, he got the rudest shock of his life. He was told in the face that Bawumia does not qualify to be his running mate, and that he Bawumia actually joined the NPP in 2008, some few weeks before he became Akufo-Addo’s running mate. Akufo-Addo who got stone-faced was further warned that if he insists on Bawumia he would see some of them in court.
Akufo-Addo who was at this point not very happy at the turn of events then asked the Asante Mafia led by ex-president Kufuor who was their preference running mate. The NPP flagbearer then got the rudest shock of his life when the name of Alhaji Mohammed Nuru-Deen Jawula Lepowura of the Kpembe Traditional Council in the Northern Region, was dropped by the Asante Mafia as their favoured choice for the number slot. Akufo-Addo, who felt Jawula was being imposed on him told them meeting that he should be allowed to go with the candidate he would feel comfortable to work with, but the elders did not bulge and informed him that it is either their way or the highway. End of NPP Council of Elders meeting.
Ladies and gentlemen, ever since the end of that meeting, Akufo-Addo has tossed on his pillows praying fervently that his party’s Council of Elders, would change their stand on Bawumia, but it seems the die is cast and that nothing would change their minds. Now the scuttlebutt has it that Akufo-Addo after a bitter soul searching has finally agreed to ditch Bawumia for fear that the Asante mafia within the party, may try to derail his campaign or presidential ambition if he does not go with what they are saying. Therefore, Bawumia has finally become the sacrificial lamb who has been slaughtered.
But the funny thing is that Akufo-Addo who does not know how and what to tell Bawumia is playing cat-and-mouse game with the former deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana. As things stands now it would be the wildest miracle that would push Bawumia back to the top list of running mates being considered by the Council of Elders. And from the look of things, it looks very bleak for Bawumia, who many NPP die-hards consider as a political neophyte, who apart from his high flying academic qualification and job experience does not bring any credible thing to the NPP political table.
Does it therefore stand strange to you that Akufo-Addo is yet to name his running mate with 10 months left for the December elections? I tell you, there is serious in-fighting on the issue and the Asante mafia is bent on getting its way, otherwise, they have threatened to keep their purse whilst Akufo-Addo do it on his own to wrestle power from the NDC who they see as more formidable than in 2008.