The Open Letter the Leadership of NPP did not read.

Mon, 11 May 2009 Source: Haruna, Mahama

By Mahama Haruna

As far back as January 2005 when speculations were rife as to who succeeds J.A. Kufour as NPP flag bearer, I wrote a feature entitled "Who leads the NPP in 2008? An open letter to the leadership of the party". It was published by as many as nine newspapers in Ghana and was a subject of Radio discussion and public debate. Although I am one person who is highly against discussing the issue of who leads NPP in 2012 because it is premature, I strongly believe there were certain issues I raised which are still relevant in our search for a flag bearer especially a search that is devoid of problems.

I have decided to reproduce this letter unedited and in its original form for the benefit of those who did not read it. It went as follows:


I have realised that even before the New Patriotic Party settles for its second term of office, some individuals and the media are trying to spark a debate as to who becomes the next Presidential candidate of the ruling party.

This is an issue, which if not properly handled by the top hierachy of the NPP has the potential of derailing the chances of the party in the 2008 election.

I wish to point out that the task which confronts the NPP and its government is frustrating and daunting. The NPP government needs to work above board to satisfy the electorate who have renewed its mandate for another four year term. The country is faced with a myriad of problems which needs serious attention. Macro-economic stability. education. agriculture, unemployment. high utility tariffs, inadequate infratructure and social amenities, sanitation problems and others should catch the eye of the NPP government if only it wants Ghanaians to give it a third term of office in 2008.

Although the NPP predicted that it would win the just ended Presidential election with a with a wide margin and many seats in Parliament, it was proven wrong. I think the NPP will concede that it had to sweat to victory by managing to scrape through with an unimpressive 52.75% and about 129 seats in Parliament despite all the resources at its disposal as well as incumbency advantage.

The number of Ministers who have lost their seats, the constituencies that have been snatched from the NPP by the NDC, the unimpressive performance in percieved strongholds should of course send a srong signal of what awaits the NPP in 2008. Any wrangling and bickering therefore has the potential of polarising its ranks, a situation that will not augur well for the development of the party at all levels.

I agree with political pundits whoo have alwasys maintained that the strengh of the NDC should at anytime never be underestimated. The NDC is not dead. It is alive and kicking and as strong as the NPP. The Ghanaian electorate have become more sophisticated and as such the NPP will pay a bitter price should they bever slacken in their effort to continue to wooing them.

It is not a secrete that the NDC is presently shopping for a winnable Presidential Candidate for the 2008 general elections. Many of its members and supporters have already tipped Hon. John Mahama, the MP for Bole-Bamboi and Communication Director of the NDC to lead the party in 2008. He is one individual who can make a difference to the party. Anyone who underrates him does so at his own risk. With qualities that that are more desirable, John Mahama represent the future of the NDC. He is a fine gentleman, affable, humble, articulate and has excellent media relations. His strongest points are that he is a lobbyist and could bring in much resources to the NDC, as well as improve on the NDC's sour relationship with a cross section of the Ghanaian media, students and most importantly women.. Should he perhaps get the nod of NDC, he can match any NPP Presidential candidate boot for boot in all facets of the political game because he has the magnetic force to attract as many votes as the NDC needs to win the 2008 election.

What the NPP therefore needs to do is to put in place an internal mechanism to unite the party at all times before the 2008 general election. It is a known fact that the NPP is a party that strongly upholds internal emocracy. The issue of who becomes the next Presidential Candidate will be opened to different and divergent views. Notwithstanding this fact, it will serve the party right it develop a common opinion, platform and consensus on this matter.

Names of Presidential materials such as Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Kwame Konadu Apraku, Osafo Marfo, Aliu Mahama, Alan Kyeramaten, Hawa Yakubu and others are being speculated as eying the Presidential slot. They may all be qualified but the party still need to sieve the chaff out of the grain, by critically assessing the chances and marketability of each an evry one of them to arrive at the best.

The NPP needs to choose a winnable and suitable candidate; someone with proven organisational skills and exceptional dynamism; someone who must have a towering political pedigree and unmatched international exposure; someone who willeasily be accepted by the rank and file of the party.

May I remind the NPP of the following:

That Nana Akufo-Addo was assigned the singular task by the elders of the party to transform the Danquah-Busia club into a full blown political party which he did to perfection by putting in place the network and structures of the present NPP. That when the time came for the newly found party to organise its first National Delegates Congress to elect its Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo provided 80% of the funds. That after the elction of Professor Albert Adu Boahen as the flag bearer of the NPP in 1992, Nana Akufo-Addo was appointed the Campaign Manager. That during the 1998 NPP Presidential Primaries Nana Akufo-Addo did run the most exciting political campaign in the history of modern Ghana where the use of Television, Radio and sophisticated targeting played a major role in boosting the popularity of the NPP. That during the period of the campaign Nana Akufo-Addo paid monthly allowances to all the then 200 Constituencies plus the 10 Regional offices of the party in the country and that these moneys went a long way to to open new offices, buy benches for meetings and provided impress for constituency and regional offices. That 'The Statesman' a newspaper he re-established served as the mouthpiece of the NPP from 1991 to 2004. (It has been sold to Data Bank). That after Nana Akufo-Addo failed in his bid to win the NPP's endorsement as the Presidential Candidate in 1998, he became a unifying force despite the fact that some elements in the NPP embarked on a campaign of victimisation, vindictiveness, denigration, abuse and harassment against him and his supporters. That despite agitations from many quarters that Nana Akufo-Addo should break away and form the NPP and form his own party due to irregularities at the Primaries, he rather pledged his support and also showed loyalty to J.A. Kufour- the elected Presidential Candidate, the NPP and the Danquah-Busia tradition. And that after the NPP won power in 2000 Nana Akufo-Addo never reacted negatively when NPP gurus who supported him during the 1998 Presidential Primaries like Victor Newman, Dr Nyaho Tamakloe, Brigadier Nunoo Mensah, Nii Adjiri Blankson, Kwabena Agyepong, Christine Churcher and many others were in the initial stages of the NPP government sidelined or given less important positions. Although Nana Akufo-Addo has not yet declared his intention to contest the NPP Presidential Primaries to be conducted in 2007, it is imperative on the hierarchy of the NPP to critically assess and perhaps project him to avoid any wrangling in the party. His sterling performance at the Ministry of Justoice and Attorney General as well as Foreign Affairs coupled with many other desirable qualities puts him ahead of the others earlier mentioned. He is a fine professional lawyer, speaks impeccable English and French, internationally exposed, has solid democratic credentials, is a good social mixer, ourageous, an exciting person to talk to, liked by women and the youth, has proven organisational skills and is aana astute politician who is committed to the ideals of the NPP and the Danquah-Busia tradition.

Any succession problem will take a lot of shine off the NPP, something its opponents looks forward to. I therefore once again urge the NPP's Council of Elders, the National Executive Committee , Regional and Constituency Branches, the Party's Parliamentary group and all the caucuses as well as Party faithfuls whose duty is to protect, nurture and defend the beliefs, ideology and visions of the great founding fathers of the party to as a matter of great concern help prevent any succession crises after the exit of President J.A. Kufour.

The writer holds a B. A. Degree in Communication Studies (with Specialisation in Journalism) from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). He was a former Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). He was also a former NPP Secretary for Bole-Bamboi Constituency.

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama