Why Jake is my NPP Chairman Part III

Sat, 20 Jun 2009 Source: Haruna, Mahama

A founding member of the NPP has suggested that the Party elect a Ga or a Fanti as its chairman to dispel the perception that the NPP is an Akan Party. He says it is only by selecting somebody from the South like a Ga, Fanti or an Ewe that the NPP will begin to enjoy the mass following it derives to win the Elections. Mr Kwame Pianim says a Ga Chairman for the NPP will make the party very comfortable in Accra.

"If you have a Ga as your chairman, it also means that you'll feel comfortable in Accra. They will sell you to the people around here and when you feel comfortable in Accra that reflects all across the country because people will see that you are followed in Accra.

I totally agree with Kwame Pianim. As far as I am concerned, the NPP has no choice on the matter. "The party must not to be seen solely as an Akan party notwithstanding the good side to this perception.."

As I have said in my previous features even before Mr Piamim commented on this sensitive subject, the NPP has been striving to erase a perception of being Akan dominated without success. I believe the selection of an Akan as Chairman would feed deep into that perception.

All things being equal the flag bearer position will remain with the Akans. Also as things stand now, all of the key, visible roles in the Party are held by Akans (Twi-speakers): Party Chairman, General Secretary, Minority leader of Parliament and ready to step in flagbearer (Nana Akufo-Addo). These are the people who continue to make the headlines on behalf of the Party. Clearly this does the Party no good. We have failed to encourage and promote non-Akan members to speak for the Party and to occupy certain key positions .

I therefore reason with Kwame Pianim that a Ga be selected as NPP Chairman. Voltarians, Northerners and others could occupy other National executive positions in order to defeat this Akan tag .

I have heared arguments that we should not limit this debate to ethnicity but choose a Chairman who can appeal to the broad masses. Some people have said the idea of strategising on the basis of tribe is quite repulsive and that we must take measures not to frame Ghanaian politics on tribal lines. These arguments are strange to me. In Ghana, ethnicity matters as the 2008 elections showed. The NPP would have to present an ethnically diversified face to be able to win future elections.

Even in the advance democracies ethnic,geographical, racial and other factors are taken into serious consideration when choosing leaders of political parties. The Conservatives in the United Kingdom are doing a lot to shed off certain perceptions about them. I do not think Kwabena Adjei of NDC appealed to Ghanaians in terms of his charisma and political pedigree but the fact that he is from the Volta region made Voltarians comfortable with the NDC. Some may disagree with the perceptions that the NPP is an Akan based party but the reality on the ground proves this is true.

As a kin pin of the NPP campaign in the Bole- Bamboi Constituency in 2004 and 2008, I remember we have always hinged our campaign on issues of development. After trying to convince an educated NDC friend to vote NPP, he told me this. " Haruna, it is true Bole witnessed unprecedented development under the NPP government, but your party is an Asante party". I was dazed and short of words to continue the conversation with him.

Now considering the Ga gurus we have in NPP, I just think the onus lie in Jake Obetsebi Lamptey to take up the challenge. The likes of Proffessor Mike Ocquaye, Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, Adjiri Blankson and Sammy Crabbe are up to the task but the party should not overlook certain issues surrounding them. Proffessor Ocquay is a colosus in the NPP and could be an excellent chairman but is he not a Member of Parliament and the Second deputy Speaker of Ghana's Parliament? We will be entrusting too much responsibilities into his hands if we make him the Chairman. Mr. Crabbe who was recently hauled before the BNI and quizzed about the Ghana International Airlines (GIA) could be a good National Chairman but I think he needs more time to clear his name before taking up any position within the party.

Mr Adjiri Blankson might not be suitable for obvious reasons. We need an eloquent Chairman. Mr Nyaho Tamakloe's commitment and abrasive nature could be helpful to the party in some respects but his recent comments in support of Akufo-Addo is a minus to him as far as taking up the position of Chairman is concerned. Any attempt by him to vye for the position will be miscontrued as Akufo-Addo proping him up in order to take over the Chairmanship so he (Akufo-Addo) could gain leverage within the NPP. He is also an extreme hot head and might be a failure.

I just think Jake towers above them all in many facets of the political game. Apart from the fact that he is the most clean (going by the NDC government's current acts of witch hunt), he will have enough time for the job. His proven organisational acumen and general acceptability is what the NPP needs. He has great communication skills;

is a problem solver at a quicker pace and do not quickly take sides in conflicts without considering the pros and cons. As a party we need someone who is a unifier, someone popular, humble and well respected. I have a strong conviction that person is Jake. He will be the most suitable for the purpose of totally erasing the Akan tag on NPP.

Mahama Haruna.


Columnist: Haruna, Mahama