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Stop stampeding Paul Afoko- Part 2 of 3

Tue, 1 Jul 2014 Source: Haruna, Mahama

Even before Paul Afoko officially declared his intention to contest the NPP Chairmanship race, I predicted he was going to win. In a feature titled, “Paul Afoko for NPP Chairman?” (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=274784) on Thursday 23 May, 2013, I said:

“Well, 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 US 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. The NPP undoubtedly has two main factions: The Busia, J.A Kufour/Alan Kyeramanten (PFP) faction and the JB Danquah, Professor Adu Boahen/Nana Akufo-Addo (UNC) faction.

It is noteworthy the Akufo-Addo faction has taken absolute control of the NPP since 2007, but there is no doubt that the faction of former President Kufuor; the most successful Danquah-Busia leader in living memory, having served two full-terms as President is regrouping to take over the NPP again after unsuccessfully doing that for seven years, and this time around it seems nothing stops them considering the dynamics within the NPP. The general impression is that, it is only the J.A. Kufour faction that can win power for the NPP. Indeed, anyone who underrates this faction may laugh at the wrong side of his mouth. The issues that dogged their past campaigns can no longer be used against them”.

I went on to say this; “I have a strong conviction that Paul Afoko has what it takes to be an efficient, effective and a progressive chairman to take over from Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey because several of the people in the party at the grassroots and at the leadership level are comfortable with him. Paul Afoko is a strategist, a pragmatic situation analyst and a good lobbyist. His experience in party management and campaign organisation was at display during the 2007 Presidential primaries of the NPP. He is a workaholic and was seen at every nook and cranny of the country campaigning for Alan Kyeramanteng and later Nana Akufo-Ado. He has the character, leadership skills and experience to become Chairman of the NPP”.

Under the current problems NPP find itself, I have consistently asked the question; what has Paul Afoko done wrong to deserve all these allegations and accusations by his detractors? Indeed some of the accusations and allegations are so petty and so infantile.

But I anticipated the problems Paul Afoko is encountering now.

Firstly before the National Executive election, it was rumoured Akufo-Addo met every single National Chairmanship aspirant with the proposal that he be made to go unopposed as Flagbearer in exchange for support. He got the pledge from all of the aspirants except Paul Afoko who told Nana Addo NPP was not a communist party and so he would pledge support to anyone interested in contesting as Flagbearer.

Not happy with the situation Akufo-Addo decided to show him his power and strength in NPP and therefore summoned eight (8) of the NPP Regional Chairmen to give his infamous “anybody but Paul Afoko” directive.

Secondly Paul Afoko shortly after wining pledged not to seek re-election at the end of his term of office in 2018. Even though he said his main aim of seeking to be the Chairman and leader of the NPP is to lead the NPP’s charge to win the 2016 general elections saying; ‘I will take the party to power in 2016, and when I do that, I will not seek re-election’ . Inded no previous chairman of the NPP has gone for two terms; they have either not sought re-election, like Odoi Sykes, Harona Esseku, Peter Ala Adjetey and Peter Mac Manu, or lost in such a bid, like immediate past Chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey.

Paul Afoko’s statement was a given a twist with some convinced he was indirectly saying his aim is to scuttle the chances of Akufo-Addo for the 2016 election.

Thirdly after Paul Afoko won, he organised a press conference. His speech contains the phrase; “..As the Chairman and Leader of this Party...” Some surprisingly questioned that statement when it is clear in the NPP constitution that the National Chairman is the leader of the party.

Also Paul Afoko is reported to have chosen Akufo-Addo’s Office at the NPP Headquarters when he was Flagbearer as his office. But the question is do we have a live Flagbearer for the NPP?

The needle that broke the camels back was the constitutionally mandated role of Paul Afoko and his executives to re-constitute the National Council of NPP.

It seems whatever Paul Afoko do will be given a twist, to extent some have said is he working in the interest of the NDC. At least Boakye Agyarko the 20012 has insinuated that in a write up titled; “The contrived rumblings in the NPP: This one too shall pass” .(http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=313900).

He said inter alia; “..What is now happening inside the NPP is not surprising and is predictable. I will entreat all of us to go back and read the pamphlet, “Beware Nkatha – the sinister attempts to destroy the heritage of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah”. It details the methods and mechanisms as to how two people used Kojo Botsio, Rev. Kweku Boateng, Buckman and John Tettehgah to destroy the CPP from within in order to ensure the emergence and supremacy of the NDC”.

But sincerely I do not believe Paul Afoko has any ill intention. He said at his maiden conference that: “As Chairman and Leader I want to reiterate my promise to the party and especially to future contestants for the Flagbearership contest that I will remain a neutral. I will urge the other executives to do the same. We shall be honest brokers, unifiers and committed to the party and with the support of all members and sympathisers of this great party, we will work to carry this party

into government”.

Paul Afoko called on all NPP members to” revive the spirit of service, sacrifice and selflessness in order to rejuvenate the base of our great party. As national executives we will work at restoring the party as a genuinely united force and ensure that the party machinery at the grassroots level is resourced and well- oiled to prosecute an effective campaign in every nook and cranny of our communities and prepare the peoples ’ minds for a change . Ghanaians deserve better and life will certainly be better under the NPP”.

Without wishing doom upon the NPP, it is more than likely that the Party will continue to keep daggers in its heart as the Akufo-Addo faction remains strongly glued to its aim to keep a strangle hold on the party.

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