General News of Monday, 16 September 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
Mr Paul Afoko, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party, has called for calm and unity within the party.
In his view, “What the NPP needs at this crucial moment is a steady hand at the tiller to steer the party to victory in the 2016 elections.”
Sharing his thoughts on the current state of affairs within the party after the Supreme Court Verdict on the 2012 Election Petition, Mr Afoko, in an interview at the weekend, observed that the verdict had brought some emotional disturbances into the party.
It will be recalled that the NPP has suffered two painful defeats in the 2008 and 2012 elections.
From a party that won two general elections (2000 & 2004) with majority from seven and six regions respectively, it has been reduced to a party of only two regions in two successive elections (Ashanti and Eastern regions).
When asked to comment on this election trend, Mr Afoko simply explained that “perhaps, the dynamic party structure that delivered victory in 2000 and 2004 obviously had lost its sting and did not work well for the party in 2008 and 2012”.
As we look ahead to the future and the 2016 general election, Mr Afoko said it had become necessary to take a very hard look at our party as it existed today and to ask some very pertinent questions, answers according to him will either help the party break loose from its present situation and recapture her past glory or further drive the party deeper and firmer into the ground as the largest opposition party of our country.”
To take the party back to its winning ways, Mr Afoko stressed that “We need to restructure the party to meet current voter dynamics” saying My dream and ambition for the NPP is to roll out a “NEW PLAN for POWER”.
According to the leading NPP member, the party is the machine/tool/weapon with which to fight for political power.
The structures of the party, in the view of Mr Afoko, would have to be deliberate, effective and efficient for the sole purpose of winning power, insisting that “political party office cannot be taken lightly; if is not a reward, neither an end in itself”.
“Political party office is a technical and professional responsibility with assigned duties, objectives and benchmarks for achievement.
To restructure means we will have to effectively decentralise power and resources, empower the grass-roots representatives, train them and resource them to win power for NPP; That is what Paul Afoko believe in,” he stated.
“As we head for the 2016 general election, ” Mr Afoko pointed out, “the NPP has the options to rely on our old certainties or to remake, reposition, rejuvenate and rebrand our party to face the nation’s new generation of voters.”
In the view of Mr Afoko, “Our main opponent, the NDC, has transmogrified itself from a military and communist styled political party to a new, youthful and pretentious democratic but clueless party over the years.
He said while the old certainties of the NPP had served the party well and continued to do so even now, there was an urgent need for the party to recognise the new trends of politics to work for a total reshuffling of cards.
“We will have to provide today’s answers to the questions of who we are and what we stand for.
The false tags that the NPP has been given by our opponent are unfortunate. None of theme is true about us,” Mr Afoko argued and said “ Our origin is embedded in the true and painful liberation struggles of the founding fathers of this nation.
We are a conglomeration of all tribes, faiths and persuasions that the new Ghana represents and this is evidenced by the various groups ( the Northern People’s Party, The National Liberation Movement, the Ga Shimo Kpe, the Muslim party etc) that came together to form the UNITED PARTIES (UP) from where the NPP draws her origin and inspiration.”
He said the NPP tradition, under both Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia and President John Agyekum Kufuor, demonstrated extensively the party’s sensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian. According to Mr Afofo, it was the NPP that saved this nation from the obnoxious cash and carry and introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme. We brought in the Mass Transit Buses and provided pupils free rides on them. “We are the ones that implemented the FCUBE and introduced the School Feeding Programme. We created the National Youth Employment Programme and introduced the LEAP. This cannot be the legacy of coat-wearing, grammar-speaking snubs as our opponents will have Ghanaians believe,”?he stated and insisted that the NPP must recreate her story, repackage itself and rebuild the party that works for power. Recapture Power According to Mr Afoko, members of the NPP can recapture power in this country but only when “we unite, make that dramatic repackaging and representation of our party to the people of this country”.