Replacements at NPP Headquarters not new

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 Source: Haruna, Mahama

Replacements at NPP Headquarters is not new phenomenon. New National Executives would always appoint people they can comfortably work with and would often appoint people who are suggested to them by the big wigs that support them to win.

I was Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey’s special Assistant from 2009 to 2010 and can confirm the list of all appointments came from Nana Akufo-Addo’s office.

We were six men Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey recruited to work for him at his office. After the National Executive elections, he selected two of us, that is I (Mahama Haruna) and Baah Acheamfour to serve as his Special Assistants at the NPP Headquarters.

All appointments to the NPP Headquarters saw the direct involvement of Nana Akufo-Addo and his agents to the extent Jake was ordered to stop appointment of all the Deputy National Executive officers until after the Presidential Primaries of 2010.

After the primaries, Baah Acheamfour was the one sent by Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey to take the list of appointees from Nana Akufo-Addo himself at his office at Osu. In fact Nana Akufo-Addo retorted after the young man introduced himself; “Your name is bigger than you” in apparent reference to his slim body. Baah Acheamfour is still alive and can attest to this.

There were protests from National Officers like the then National Organiser Moctar Musa Bamba and National Womens Organiser, Otiko Afisah-Djaba when the list was made public but they were ignored. Otiko wrote a long letter to register her protest and was replied by Jake Obetsebi Lamptey (I still have the letters). Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and Sir John made the appointments without recourse to any committee and without consulting any of the National Executive. What has changed?

The truth is Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey never took a decision without consulting Nana Akufo-Addo or his agents like Gabby Asare Otchere Darko even before Nana Akufo-Addo was voted flagbearer in 2010. But one cannot begrudge him for that because Jake rode on the shoulders of Akufo-Addo to win his Chairmanship.

Before the Deputy National Executive appointments were made, Nana Akufo-Addo had already directed that, Opare Hammond be made the Director of Finance and Administration, a position held by Mr Antwi Agyei who was the only party official immuned to change at the NPP Headquarters having been there since 1992. His replacement was a blow to many people including me especially since he was a close friend to the late Alhaji Mahama Salifu, (the founder of NPP in Gonjaland and Chairman for Bole-Bamboi from 1992 to 2008) who happened to be my father.

Mr Antwi Agyei took the decision in good fate and soldiered on with a less potfolio called “Protocol Officer” which was meaningless. One Brian Acheampong was later sent to the Headquarters by Nana Akufo-Addo to serve as “Chief of Staff” making Mr Antwi Agyei more redundant. Later appointments like that of Perry Okudzeto (then Deputy Director of Communications), Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah, (Director of Elections) saw the direct involvement of my own boss, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko. Charles Owiredu, (Director of International Affairs) was the only person who served under Macmanu but was spared, the reason being that he has a strong Godfather in the person of Hon Dan Botwe.

From the first NPP National Chairman BJ Da Rocha and General Secretary Agyenim Boateng to Odoi Sykes/ Agyenim Boateng, Peter Ala Adjetey/Dan Botwe, Haruna Esseku/ Dan Botwe Mac Manu/Ohene Ntow to Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey/ Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), favourites have always been appointed to positions at the Headquarters.

The role of some National appointees at the NPP Headquarters during the National Executive Elections to say the least was appalling. Everybody is aware of the bias and hostile behavior of Opare Hammond, Director of Finance and Administration, Perry Okudzeto, Director of Communications, Charles Owiredu, Director of International Affairs and Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah, Director of Elections towards Chairman Paul Afoko and General Secretary, Kwabena Adjei Agyepong ahead of the Tamale congress that elected them.

There is a recording of a conversation between Paul Afoko and Perry Okudzeto, Kofi Twum Boafo and some boys at the party Headquarters going round. The recording was done in the heat of the National executive elections and it was clear Perry unleashed the NPP communications team against Paul Afoko with the communication office computers at the party headquarters being used for all the dirty work. Perry Okudzeto and Kofi Twum Boafo were heard apologising profusely to Paul Afoko to the extent Twum Boafo agreed that a feature he wrote saying Paul Afoko was a criminal and was convicted of drug offences was a lie.

If I was Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong all appointees at the Headquarters would have been fired the very day I took over office. They delayed allowing such appointees who for whatever reason still want to be at the NPP Headquarters. If people are appointed at the NPP Headquarters to sacrifice why the struggle by those who have been sacrificing for many years to continue to be there when others are also prepared to come on board and sacrifice.

Sometimes I wonder why some NPP members think Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong are doing the bidding of Alan Kyeramanten. The truth is they are being assertive and independent and has refused to be controlled by anyone in the party and I respect them for that. He is not working against Nana Akufo-Addo.

After speaking to Perry Okudzeto and Kofi Twum Boafo, the phone was passed to some NPP supporters mostly based at the party Headquarters and Paul Afoko could be heard saying in Hausa; “We have to work hard. If Nana (Akufo-Addo) says he doesn’t want to be flagbearer, then that is it, but if he says he wants it, then we will make him President, there is no way two ways about it….No more fire among ourselves”.

Indeed what is happening in NPP is about who controls the party. Nana Akufo-Addo and his supporters must have it at the back of their minds that, they cannot always have their way. Hard line Akufo-Addo supporters have long been suspicious that the current National Executive under Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong are scheming to ensure that Alan Kyeremanteng wins the Flagbearership contest and have vowed to fight them notwithstanding any good work they are doing or any good intentions they have for the party. If there is anyone in NPP hungry for power it is Paul Afoko. On the said recording going round he could be heard telling Kofi Twum Boafo; “Let’s hold our fire for the NDC.. We have a bigger job ahead of us”.

I have said before that all around the world, most political parties typically have at least two main factions within them. The pendulum will often swing from one side of the party to the other over the course of time. For instance, the Democratic and Republican parties of the United States have their Liberal and Moderate wings. Anytime one side wins control over the party, the other faction will often feel alienated but usually soldier along until its time comes.

From all indications Akufo -Addo and his supporters will not let it go easily. They are ready to clip the wings of anybody opposed to Akufo-Addo’s ambition to lead the party the third time. But is it violence they would use to have control of the party? I believe t is about lobbying, strategy and scheming.

Without wishing doom upon the NPP, it is more than likely that the Party will continue to keep daggers in its heart even after the Presidential primaries as Akufo-Addo and his hardline supporters remain strongly glued to their aim to keep a strangle hold on the party.

By Mahama Haruna

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama