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The Youth of NPP should not rise up in defence of Kufour

Wed, 1 Apr 2009 Source: Haruna, Mahama

I have been following the debate regarding the retirement benefits of former President J. A Kufour. Many groups and individuals within the NPP have condemned the NDC government for harassing, intimidating and humiliating the former President.

First was a group calling itself the Ga-Adangbe Forward Movement. They jumped into the defence of former President Kufour over the controversy that surrounded his acquisition of an office facility located at Ridge. According to this group, the tantrums of the Ga-Adangbe Youth expressing their misgivings about the use of public property as office of the ex-President smacks of hypocrisy and a political motivation.

They also saw the action of the so called Ga-Adangbe Youth as parochial, politically motivated and unfortunate because it lacks merit and had no legal basis. The Forward Movement explained that the Ga-Adangbe Youth cannot speak for the silent majority of the Ga-Adangbe Chiefs and Youth because they did have their mandate.

The minority NPP in Parliament also registered their displeasure over what they described as the unacceptable way the the government is handling the issue. The NDC was accused by the minority of orchestrating a campaign to vilify and persecute the former President J. A. Kufour.

Another group claiming to be the Leading Members of the NPP in Ashanti expressed worry over the current unproductive behaviour and utterances of certain groups with regard to the acquisition of an office by the former President.

One group however, that has been silent on the matter is the Youth of the New Patriotic Party. The question as to whether the youth should rise up in defence of our former President is being debated at many circles within the youth wing.

It is a truism that the NPP is a great party with politically savvy and active youth all over the country who many have argued should have been on the streets by now demonstrating against this persecution and campaign by the NDC to vilify and persecute him.

On the contrary, I am of the opinion that we the Youth of NPP should not worry ourselves with what ever that is happening to former President Kufour with regards to his end of service benefits. We should rather take the lead in reorganising, restructuring and repacking the party to to look attractive to Ghanaian Youth who do not want to subscribe to the ideals and philosophy of the NPP.

The issue of the NDC government persecuting a former President over his "end of service benefits" to me is inconsequential and trivial and must therefore be disregarded.

I would implore former President Kufours cronies, bootlickers and devotees to fight against those tarnishing his image and hard won reputation. It should not be a matter of concern for the whole party.

I know some of our youth may question my call on the NPP youth not to rise up in defence of Kufour, but I put it to them that as as a youth activist who has worked so hard for the party since its formation (without recompense), I believe I have a legitimate right to state an idea bordering on the youth of my party.

My opinion has nothing to do with support for any perceived faction within the NPP nor trying to be a whinger, but a genuine concern at moving the party to greater heights by not allowing an issue about Kufours "end of service benefits" to determine the biggest agenda for the party.

This was a President that proclaimed he had a vision of equality of opportunities for all party members regardless of age. He also claimed to be a President that does not forget all those who were part of it's history.

I can dare say that the ability of the youth of NPP to offer intellectual and physical contribution to the governance process was underrated and not recognized by former President Kufour. He held the view that the youth lack the capacity to engage in any meaningful decision making.

In fact when the NPP came to power in 2000, it was alleged the President J.A Kufour disclosed to close confidants that he did not believe in the wisdom of the youth especially anyone that his son Chief Kuffour was older than. He therefore failed to appoint any of the younger personalities who were part of the history and struggle to win power for the party into any responsible position. They were rejected, neglected and totally left out of all matters of governance, a sharp contrast to what President Atta Mills is currently doing.

I vividly remember the thousands of TESCON members who were sent to parts of the country that were 'unfriendly' to the NPP. Some were harassed, beaten and maimed. The hundreds of youth who worked all over the country have their stories to tell. Notwithstanding these efforts, they were totally left out of the scheme of things, a situation I believe affected the party's fortunes in the last election.

What baffles me is the fact that former President Kufour at thirty two years was made a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs by then Prime-Minster K. A. Busia and I believe this catapulted him into the Presidency in later years. Kufour failed to realise that the youth would have been those to provide a solid line of defence against what is happening to him now as the NDC Youth did when there was a perception former President Jerry John Rawlings was being persecuted under when the NDC was in opposition.

I repeat that the youth of NPP should not be concerned with an unproductive and unnecessary demonstration in defence of Kufour but instead, be working towards rebuilding the party to win future elections.

I also reason in line with those who are saying that whatever that is happening to Kufour now would not affect the fortunes of the NPP. In fact I am blissful the debate has been limited to"Kufours end of service benefits" and not "NPPs end of service benefits".

We should not waste our time on such an anti- Youth former President from our party!!

By Mahama Haruna

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama