Stop stampeding Paul Afoko-

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 Source: Haruna, Mahama

Part 1 of 3

As they say, "a house divided against itself cannot stand". Victory will come to the way of NPP only in Unity. All is not well with the NPP and it is only members who do not want to deal with the truth that will deny all is well with the party.

The polarization of Nana Akufo- Addo and JA Kufour/Alan Kyeremanteng camps never helped the NPP's cause in the past. These two factions were so entrenched in their positions that the problems created affected the party in the last two elections. It seems history is repeating itself.

I am not surprised with recent happenings in NPP. In one of my features titled “NPP in a Slumber” on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 (https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=276528), I said:

“Indeed, the demeanour of the current leadership of NPP (Jake and Sir John) would have a telling effect on the fortunes of the party. If care is not taken the NPP would soon burst its ranks and consume its lazy leadership. The truth is that ever since the NPP lost power, any attempt to make inputs into the party’s internal affairs has been hushed down by some party faithful. The signals are not good for the NPP’s future. I totally agree with Wirekko Brobbey who said the current leadership of the party are mostly listening to their own voices and brutally shutting down all opposing voices and completely intolerant even to NPP members who venture to speak sense and logic.

This ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ posture is the reason why the NPP is in opposition and until some members of the party mature to accept criticism in good faith, the party will remain stuck in opposition. In fact those who are ever ready to clutch the throats of people with opposing views are disengaging so many others from the party because everybody is now afraid to voice his opinion.”

The NPP is at the moment split between those who want Akufo-Addo elected at the next Congress at all cost and those who fear his selection as NPP flag bearer means another defeat in 2016. Hard line Akufo-Addo supporters have long been suspicious that the current National Executive under Paul Afoko are scheming to ensure that Alan Kyeremanteng wins the Flagbearership contest Primaries and have vowed to fighting them notwithstanding any good work they are doing or any good intentions they have for the party.

But I can understand those supporting Nana Akufo-Addo. I have carefully followed internal elections in NPP since 1992 and the trend is such that whoever that wins the National Chairmanship always had his perceived favourite candidate winning the NPP Flagbearer election.

Both J.A Kufour and Nana Akufo-Addo have benefitted from this trend after every NPP internal election since 1996.

I did not only follow internal elections, but was an active participant starting as a Delegate and later a Constituency Executive. I have consistently said I was the youngest delegate (17 years) at the NPP Congress that elected Proffessor Albert Adu Boahen Flagbearer in 1992. I was a delegate at the Legon Congress that Elected JA Kufour for the 1996 Election, I was a delegate at the Sunyani Congress that elected JA Kufour as Flagbearer for the 2000 Election, I was a delegate at the Secondi-Takoradi Congress that endorsed JA Kufour as Flagbearer for the 2004 Election and was a delegate at the Legon Congress that elected Akufo-Addo for the 2008 Election. Finally I was the accredited representative and Agent of Akufo-Addo at the Bole-Bamboi Constituency for the election that elected him as Flagbearer for the 2008 Election.

I have attended every single NPP National Delegates Conference to elect National Executives since 1992, missing only the Tamale delegate’s conference this year.

For the purposes of the current happenings, I will give an insight into all elections for National Executive positions for the NPP.

In 1992, the National Executive elections and the Flagbearership contest took place same day. The issue of who supports who was not a big issue. It was also obvious BJ Da Rocha and Agyenim Boateng, the Interim National Chairman and Secretary respectively would win easily. In fact most of the positions went unopposed.

During the 1995 National Executive elections, JA Kufour and Professor Albert Adu-Boahen were reported to have fielded candidates or rallied behind candidates. In the Chairmanship race, Peter Ala Adjetey was for JA Kufour while Professor Adjei Bekoe and Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey were for Professor Albert Adu Boahen. Dan Botwe who played his cards well easily dislodged Agyenim Boateng. Peter Ala Adjetey won and it is believed JA Kufour won the 1996 Primaries because of the support from Peter Ala Adjetey.

In the 1998 National Executive elections of NPP, then aspiring Presidential candidate J.A Kufour allegedly fielded his people for the elections. Odoi Sykes for Chairman, Agyenim Boateng for General Secretary, Alhaji Inusah for Organizer and so on. Akufo- Addo who had also declared his intention to lead the party fielded Proffessor F.T. Sai for Chairman, Kakra Essamuah for General Secretary, Courage Quashigah for Organiser and so on. At the end of the election most of Kufour's candidates won putting him in a pole position for the Flagbearership. JA Kufour therefore won against Akuffo Addo at Sunyani Congress to become flagbearer and subsequently won the general elections of the year 2000.

In the 2001 National Executive elections the division once again showed its ugly head but on a milder scale. Some of the aspirants were branded pro-Kufour and others pro-Akufo Addo. In fact Kufour's people harboured a feeling that Akufo Addo would once again contest him though he was President and therefore guided against that.

Professor Mike Ocquaye, an Akufo- Addo man, who was the preferred choice for National chairman was conveniently appointed Ambassador to India, paving the way for Haruna Esseku a then Kufour protégé to win over a relatively unknown Mohammed Musah and Samuel Addai-Duah to become National Chairman. The likes of Lord Commey who were perceived to be Akufo-Addo never had it easy even though he faced a light weight in the person of Alhaji Yirimea. At the end Akufo- Addo declined to contest against Kufour for the Flagbearership and I believe this move should have ended all divisions whether perceived or real.

However this division reared its ugly head at the National Executive election of 2005 on a more serious scale because JA Kufour it was believed wanted Alan to take over as Flagbearer. The party was split into the pro-Kufour and anti-Kufour/Alan factions. Nana Akufo Addo's supporters were in the forefront of the chants of 'Yeegye Ye Party' literally meaning 'we are taking back our party'. The Kufour/Alan side was behind Stephen Ntim and Ohene Ntow for Chairman and Secretary respectively while the Akufo-Addo side fielded Peter Macmanu for Chairman, Lord Commey for National Organiser and so on. Macmunu won tentatively putting the party in the hands of the Akufo-Addo side. It is believed Ohene Ntow won because the Akufo-Addo side fielded so many candidates for Secretary. Akufo-Addo won at the Congress to elect the 2008 Flagbeare partly because of the support from Macmanu and Lord Commey.

Then again in the 2010 National Executive Elections the divisions were revived again with slates. Nana Addo fielded Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey for Chairman, Owusu Afriyie (Sir John) for Secretary, Esther Ofori for Treasurer, Christine Churcher for Womens Organiser and Anthony Karbo for Youth Organiser while Alan fielded Stephen Ntim for Chairman, Ohene Ntow for Secretary, Otiko for Womens Organiser, Moctar Bamba for National Organiser and Stephen Amoah for Youth Organiser. Otiko and Bamba were the only perceived Alan people who won meaning Akufo-Addo still had a hold on the NPP.

Fast forward to 2014, the National Executive election saw the division again. It is believed Akufo-Addo did not play his cards well in this election because he fielded multiple candidates for most of the positions. In the Chairmanship race for instance, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Fred Oware and Stephen Ntim were on Akufo-Addo’s side. Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyapong, Otiko Djaba, John Boadu, Sammy Awuku who were perceived to be on the Kufour/Alan side won. The only exception was F.F Antoh, the 3rd National Vice-Chairman who is for Akufo Addo. Going by the trend one can conclude the Flagbearership of NPP would go to Alan Kyeramanteng for the 2016 election.

By Mahama Haruna

The writer is a trained Journalist. He is a former NPP Secretary for Bole-Bamboi. He was also a Special Assistant to former NPP Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama