The fault lies in Akufo-Addo, not Kufuor

Thu, 12 Nov 2015 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Folks, there is so much going on in the NPP camp to suggest that the party’s internal crisis is caused more by factionalism than any act of betrayal of trust by NDC moles therein. Much has been said about the two factions—the Akufo-Addo one and that of ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor. Some have denied the existence of such factions and claimed the party remains united for Election 2016. Happenings, however, belie such claims, especially if we consider how Akufo-Addo and his followers are recklessly attacking their opponents. Now that they have branded some as NDC moles planted in the party to dim Akufo-Addo’s electoral light, hell has broken loose.

Beyond it all is the perception of Kufuor as a threat to Akufo-Addo, which warrants discussion. And when you read opinion pieces from Akufo-Addo buffs, you feel like puking. (See http://www.modernghana.com/news/654782/1/kufuor-has-been-sabotaging-akufo-addo-since-2008.html). Okoampah-Ahoofe is none to bat an eyelid over, but his attack on Kufuor speaks volumes.

Irrespective of our often critically condemnatory assessment of Kufuor’s performance in the 8 years that he ruled Ghana, we acknowledge the fact that putting everything aside, he is a gentleman who knows how to cut his steps to sustain his personal dignity and integrity. In office, many things happened to portray him in a negative light, but he could be pardoned, even if accused of pandering to the forces manipulating the situation at the time. Of course, he was at the beck and call of the real power brokers calling the tune. No need to expatiate, but suffice it to say that he did his best in the 8 years that he ruled. The rest belongs to history.

In preparing for Election 2008, he ensured that the NPP remained intact and that every genuine supporter of the party stuck to its ideals. For the records, let it be said that Kufuor protected the NPP and secured it as a united force for anybody who would succeed him as the leader of the party. He cleaned the stables and expected his successor to uphold standards. Of course, the 19 that sought the flagbearership knew what was at stake, which was why they heavily invested themselves in the quest.

Kufuor had some lingering issues, though. Having worked for 8 years with the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama, one expected him to ardently support his candidature. But he didn’t, which cast some huge doubts over his sense of judgement and the NPP’s negative image as an Akan-based party that won’t tolerate non-Akans as its leader. If after all those years, Aliu didn’t merit Kufuor’s recommendation/support as the requisite successor, there must be something seriously wrong; not so? Here too, the rest belongs to history.

The choice of Akufo-Addo as the flagbearer for Election 2008 had its peculiar ramifications, especially considering the circumstances under which he emerged as such. There was much huffing and puffing at the delegates conference, which needed a second round of voting because Akufo-Addo couldn’t get the outright majority to outdo Kyerematen. Much happened for Kyerematen to bow out and allow Akufo-Addo to proceed as the NPP’s flagbearer. In effect, the second round didn’t take place. Kyerematen would later nurse ill-feelings and resign from the NPP only to eat back his vomit. That’s a sticking point still used against him by his opponents.

For Election 2008, what didn’t Kufuor do to promote Akufo-Addo’s bid for the Presidency? After all, he had his fingers on the national purse and made resources available. He did all he could in the electioneering campaign stunts to “sell” Akufo-Addo to the electorate. I recall his participation in many rallies at which the “kangaroo dance” featured. And he spoke at length about why it was imperative for Ghanaians to root for Akufo-Addo. Kufuor even smoothed Akufo-Addo’s path beyond such overt means. He ensured that the Manhyia Palace accept Akufo-Addo as his replacement. At a point, when Akufo-Addo visited the Manhyia Palace, the Asantehene assured him that as the head of the Oyoko family, wherever he went, so would his followers; and Akufo-Addo’s being a member of the Oyoko family meant that he already had the backing of those followers. Here again, the rest belongs to history. What more could Kufuor do?

The outcome of Election 2008 indicated clearly that the fault lay in Akufo-Addo himself, especially when he lost the run-off and sought to use the backdoor for redress. Thanks to the late B.J. da Rocha and Kufuor’s sound intervention, Akufo-Addo couldn’t subvert the will of the electorate. He grudgingly accepted defeat and nursed hopes of taking a second bite at the next polls, which he did only to suffer a more humiliating defeat. Here too, the rest belongs to history.

In tracing the direct impact of Kufuor on Akufo-Addo’s electoral escapades, we are conscious of the circumstances surrounding the political lives of Kufuor and Akufo-Addo. Of course, Kufuor has more to be proud of than Akufo-Addo, having been part of Dr. Busia’s government in the 2nd Republic (a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs) and being detained by the Acheampong government for 18 months. Kufuor has never broken ranks with the UP political culture and is known for it.

How about Akufo-Addo? Cast your mind back to the events leading to Paa Willie’s breaking away from the UP (Asante) culture to form his United National Convention and what Akufo-Addo did therein and you should see things more clearly. The UNC head-butted Victor Owusu’s Popular Front Party (PFP), that was mostly Asante-based and dominated. In the end, a resurrected pro-Nkrumahist People’s National Convention (PNP) won the 1979 general elections. Whatever happened thereafter belongs to history too.

Fas forward everything to this 4th Republic and you should begin to see why any talk of Kufuor’s antipathy toward Akufo-Addo becomes nothing but absurdity. For Election 1992, the NPP settled for Professor Adu Boahen only to end up writing _The Stolen Verdict_ when rejected by the electorate. Akufo-Addo claims credit for being part of those who wrote that trash.

For Election 1996, Kufuor and Akufo-Addo stood tall among the contestants who gathered at the Sunyani Catholic Social Centre to choose the party’s flagbearer. The “feud” between Kufuor and Akufo-Addo began at this conference. Snippets of information at the time revealed that delegates were bribed (in fact, that some were being given money at the lavatory). When Kufuor emerged victorious, Akufo-Addo want ballistic and badmouthed him. We recall very well Akufo-Addo’s effusive comment: “If you (meaning Kufuor) claim to be a lawyer, tell us whose law chamber you practised in”. Akufo-Addo’s raving and ranting in anger didn’t go unnoticed. Whatever happened thereafter belongs to history too.

Settle down on Elections 2000 and 2004 when Kufuor went unopposed and find out why he coped with Akufo-Addo as his appointee for the Attorney-General’s Department and Ministry of Justice. Then, rewind what shame Akufo-Addo’s loss of the suit against Tsatsu Tsikata over the Fast Track Court caused and why Kufuor moved him to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Then, put everything in perspective toward Election 2008. The circle is rounded for us to see what we need to know that Kufuor isn’t a detractor of Akufo-Addo. Instead, he is bothered that Akufo-Addo isn’t able to retain the NPP in power (at Election 2008) or return it to power (at Election 2012 and what is upcoming in 2016).

Folks, those Akufo-Addo lackeys constantly blaming Kufuor for not supporting Akufo-Addo are looking for dung where no cattle grazed. Those among them insulting him are worsening the matter for their sacred cow, especially if we consider how much Kufuor is cherished at home and why any vilification of him means a huge electoral loss. As of now, he has remained tight-lipped over the rumpus generated by Akufo-Addo’s incompetent and erratic leadership flaws. He is simply not talking, which is another issue bothering the Akufo-Addo camp.

We want to say at this point that even though his spokesman (Frank Agyekum) and former press relations officer (Andrew Awuni) have openly condemned the suspension of Paul Afoko, there is nothing directly coming from him. He knows better not to insert himself into a fracas that he foresaw (at least as can be inferred from his passionate appeal to the NPP delegates in 2007 not to choose any flagbearer who was divisive, who couldn’t keep the NPP united, and who couldn’t have a national appeal to be elected as President). In this regard, Kufuor knows better to let those deceiving themselves that they can go it alone to do so. At the end of the day, when the end refuses to justify the means, they will learn to shape up. There is nothing wrong with this stance.

So, folks, we are at home. We can say that those in the Akufo-Addo camp blaming Kufuor for their woes need to do more to be able to know what is at stake. For Akufo-Addo, especially, there is a lot of homework. If he really knows what is at stake, he will redefine his modus operandi and hasten slowly. That is, if his bloated ego will allow him to see things beyond his nose. His lack of appeal to the electorate has nothing to do with the activities of a so-called Kufuor faction. Truly, the fault lies in him, not in Kufuor. Only Akufo-Addo can redeem himself!!

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.