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Feature Article of Sunday, 21 February 2010

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

The NPP Leadership Quagmire: Is 'The Odikro Plan' A Way Out?

Introduction

In this month of February, in the year of the Centenary Anniversary of Africa's Man of Destiny, as we remember with overwhelming pain and profound sorrows the imperialist stratagems that led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founder and first President of modern Ghana, and the role played by their local collaborators, the bellicose Busia-Danquah neocolonialist tradition, we have every right to watch their every move and to develop the necessary antidotes against them.

We must also not forget that we are all Ghanaians and must learn to be magnanimous even in such moments and go to the aid of their local protégé, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to ensure that the violent politicking that is currently afflicting the lives of the poor foot soldiers of that party, do not disintegrate into violent conflicts all over the place. This article is a product of an ingenious political engineering aimed at a controlled implosion of a party that is bound to explode into bits and pieces, anyway. Our first duty ought to be doing everything to bring the number of possible casualties within that party to the barest minimum.

Expediency and common sense dictate that this peculiar aspect of their tradition which invariably takes the route of quick recourse to violence is very much obsolete vis-a-vis the modern day Ghanaian realities, and we should all do our very best to ensure that it does not grow and spill over again into our national political landscape. These developments of sporadic and spontaneous violence within the NPP do not augur well for peaceful national electoral campaigns! It is thus in the interest of national political stability, and the deepening of our young democracy that we all feel free to participate in this conversation. The seriousness of the situation has been highlighted by no less an "optimist" than Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.: "the ongoing personality feud within the party, largely based on “ancient” rivalries and other petty squabbles and personal vendettas, threatens to disintegrate this institutional vehicle for the promotion of the Danquah-Busia Tradition." I venture therfore to offer the following counsel to both Nana Akufo Addo and Mr. Alan Kyeremanteng, the two leading pretenders to the NPP throne.

Who Cares?

As a matter of fact, not that I care a hoot which of the two wins! My number one problem is that they are both willing stooges of imperialism. They both support the Kufour secretive deal revealed by Asare Ochere-Darko, Executive Director of the "strictly Danquah" Institute, to establish USAfriCom Headquarters and military bases in Ghana. Very simple calculations: Alan Cash is a Kufour man to the hilt, so on the question of Africom Akufo Addo seems the outsider until one realises that Gabby Asare Okyere-Darko is more an Akufo Addo spokesman than a Kufour one.

Apart from hearing that Alan Cash is taller, Ashanti, younger and much more handsome, I have not seen, heard, or read a single policy difference between the two. And for me, if they want to convince me that they are not just bundles of meat to be valued according to weight they had better let us know their policies on important national issues, and what differences, if any, exists. This is exactly what matters most. We want to know their policy differences. After all the presidential race is not a beauty contest, and short people also have their place in it! Being short myself, I must know what I am talking about! Both candidates share the same neocolonialist ideology of the NPP and their slave-trader mentality which preceded that, which still makes them think every Ghanaian who is not one of their own must be their slave!

Furthermore, as we know from the Enquirer, and subsequently confirmed by the culprits themselves, both Akufo Addo and Alan Kyeremanteng were party to the secretive and illegal fund-raising luncheon that brought together in one room, a "group" which was "made up of people with substantial investments in Ghana and also of others who have an interest in investing in Ghana" at the Hotel Hyatt & Resorts, Washington DC,, USA. See for yourself, who went to dinner: "In downtown Washington DC, two luxurious black Cadillacs, belonging to the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC, pulled up in front of Hotel Hyatt & Resorts, located on 24 M Streets, Nw, Washington, DC 20037 on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. In the first car, three well-dressed men in suit, namely Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana’s Ambassador to the USA and Alan Kyeremanten, an ex-Ghana’s Ambassador to the USA, who was also an NPP Flagbearer-aspirant, popped out of the vehicles.

"Moments later, another Embassy car pulled up in-front of Hotel Hyatt. This time NPP General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow, Ex-Finance Minister and later Education Youth and Sports Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, and Dr. Konadu Apraku arrived in tow. The occasion was a fund-raising luncheon hosted by The Whitaker Group, a company owned by Rosa Whitaker, the new wife of Bishop Duncan Williams of Action Chapel International, who was recently introduced to church members in Accra. Rosa Whitaker, who served as a Deputy Trade Secretary for Africa under both President Bill Clinton and Bush administrations respectively is a registered lobbyist for the Ghana government."

For me personally, what this tells me is that both men are not only guilty of breaking Ghana's electoral laws, but at the same time the US law on corporate financing of foreign political parties! The NPP is likely to give us a Presidential candidate who may very soon be answering criminal charges in the USA. They are viciously eligible to diplomatic blackmail and undue external influences in their stewardship of our country that it would be the height of folly for the NPP to even offer either of them as a serious contender. I am getting myself ready to oppose whichever of the two wins, anyway. For those NPP members who do not want outsiders to comment on what they wrongly see as "an internal party affair", I wish to remind them that every Ghanaian has a right to feel concerned about their strange "democratic practices" of using fisticuffs rather than the ballot box to elect their leaders. Our entire reputation as a nation is at stake.

These acts seek to directly undermine our newly-won international reputation as a working democracy, and must be utterly condemned whether one is a party faithful or not. To those who say I must "mind" my own "CPP business" since this is an internal NPP affair, I want to be very clear that I shall have my say any time of the day on these developments precisely because if we allow barbaric acts such as the beatings of the opposing side by the personal body guards of Nana Akufo Addo, the injuries sustained by members of the party at a meeting in Obuasi recently, not to mention the beatings that preceded the NPP Ashanti Regional Congress. A year ago an NPP polling station agent was shot dead by the Constituency Chairman in the Bono Ahafo over this so-called "internal party affair". It is absolutely imperative that something is done to tame this "training" going on for the use of the "arguments of force" instead of the "force of argument" in resolving political differences. They have direct consequences on every Ghanaian. I shall have my say any time of the day! It is a very important part of my CPP business!

The call on ex-President Jonh Ahyekum Kufour by Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe to step in and help resolve the leadership crisis that is eating up the party raw received a strong rebuttal from Alhaji Haruna Esseku, former National Chairman of the NPP. Alhaji Esseku was emphatic that Kufour was not neutral. Translated into plain English, it means there is practically nobody within the NPP who is neutral enough to unite the two factions, This is a hopeless situation and my principal objective is to bring this violence to the barest possible minimum. My plan may not suit many people but it is effective. Besides, I do not see any way out! There is something radically wrong with the NPP which requires a radical treatment to enable it to rest in eternal pieces. My plan is at least better than the worst scene scenario which is nothing but a replay of the last contest between Nana and Alan, and all the bitterness that this would engender irrespective of who wins, and how that has in the past weakened the party, I offer the following as a way out. It may lead to the same defeat but minus the bloodshed and senseless human sufferings that is fast becoming a Busia-Danquah tradition that simply wont go away!

The Odikro Plan

. "I am CPP", I am not a member of the NPP so I can afford to be neutral in internal NPP affairs in order to ensure their irretrievable retreat into the national museum of traitors to their own people. The "Odikro Plan" is that Alan Cash must be smart enough to enter into a pact with Akufo Addo that for the sake of party unity, he would not stand against him in 2012, but if Akufo Addo loses in 2012, he must be honourable enough to pass on the mantle to the younger and taller contender for a change in 2016. If Alan Cash is not prepared to wait for eight years, all he has to do afterwards is to do everything in his power to sabotage the Akufo Addo campaign on the quiet. This is very important because an Atta-Mills victory is in the greater interest of Alan Cash than an Akufo Addo one. Should Akufo Addo win, there is no way Alan Cash can contest and win in 2016 at the party's primaries. That means Akuffo Addo may do a complete eight year tenure until 2020. The risk here is that Ghanaians are, statistically speaking, more likely to vote for the opposition than for continuity after an eight year stint in office. Thus even if Alan Cash is prepared to wait until 2020 to stand on the NPP ticket, his chances are far better in 2016, towards the end of an NDC-led (Atta-Mills) Administration, than in 2020, towards the end of another NPP-led (Afuffo Addo) Administration.

A strategic shift towards party unity would ensure that he would have the party with him in 2016. The NPP is severely weakened and disunited more at the base than at the top. It is far easier to reconcile the leadership than reconciling their followers. Alan Cash himself knows this when he almost left the party after the so-called reconciliation arrangement that saw the systematic harassment of his supporters all over the place, whilst he sat at the same table with the movers and shakers. There is no way Alan Cash is going to get a spirited support from a defeated Akufo Addo camp within two years! The defeat of the NPP, considering the present mess in the party is a foregone conclusion. From all indications, Akufo Addo does not mind losing. He knew from his own polling expert, Professor Larry Gibson, according to Arthur Kennedy that he was going to lose the 2008 elections, but he put up a good show for it. Alan Cash must be seen to be "allowing" Akufo Addo to do the same thing again and then smoothly pass on the mantle. Do not forget that, so far the timing of the elections have made a huge difference in the fortunes of both the NDC and the NPP. This fact is also acknowledged in the article by Okoampa-Ahoofe quoted above: "the fact that the timing of his premiership had far more to do with the widely perceived success of the suggested candidate than either his own proven managerial skills or his perceived ability to readily reach out to his internal political opponents..."

Alan Cash can make his enlightened self-interest look very altruistic by appearing to step down for Akufo Addo and psychologically preparing the minds of the population with a deal with Akufo Addo to alternate with him in subsequent leadership contests. The smart thing about this is that Akuffo Addo is not going to bother anybody after the age of seventy. The 2012 elections may not necessarily be his last go at it, if Alan does not give him an offer he cannot refuse! He must be desperate enough to clinch the 2012 elections to such an extent that he is likely to succumb to the temptation of accepting the deal. As for Alan Cash, he also has everything to gain in this political gamble. First, if the worst comes to the worst, he can sabotage Akuffo Addo. Second, the moment Akuffo Addo loses, all eyes would turn on him as the unofficial flag-bearer of the party. It makes his ride to power look like a ship coming to port!

Building The Party Structures

Apparently, these two protagonists do not even have a choice. The party is not just divided, they are literary beating each other up. How do you lead a group that is at ech others' throats to victory? This is going on in every constituency of the party where there are significant supporters of either candidate. This means in every party stronghold, including Ashanti and the Eastern Region. I am certain that it will take more than two years to heal these wounds, that is if any of them can be healed at all. This means the NPP would be going into campaign with foot 'soldiers' who cannot face each other 'armed'! It is a very clever way of dodging an inevitable defeat at the end, whilst preparing to go for it with a unified front having given yourself six years of a virtual coast-free national campaign! An elephant is a heavy animal and it needs strong feet to stand on four. Alan Cash can deserve his victory if he took a long-term view of the political landscape and positions himself strategically.

Thanks to NPP sympathisers like Justice Sarpong, Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., and many others especially on Ghanaweb, the incessant insults of Ewes shall ensure an even greater defeat of the NPP in the Volta Region come 2012, as they seem to redirect all issues in an Ewe-Ashanti dichotomy, spiced with unprintable epithets. It is as though someone has misled them into thinking that the best way to win votes from the Volta Region is to insult Ewes! Alan Cash can take advantage of this truce by working closely with prominent party members from the Volta Region to educate people like Sarpong that votes, even from the Volta Region counts, and begin to make an impact from the weakest chain in the NPP's bid for power from there. If Alan Cash can radically turn the tribal focus of the NPP around, particularly between the Ashantis and the Ewes, he would have the keys to open the doors throughout the country in the pocket!

In any case, from all indications, Nana Akufo Addo is going to win the NPP primaries hands down. If you need indices just take a quick look at whose candidates are winning the elections from constituency to regional levels. Akuffo Addo is a brutal fighter and is not going to give up even if he stands upon a thousand feet in the party in his pursuit for power. Trouble is he is going to count on these same feet to walk the talk. And when the talk is bitterness and complaints then the party gets weaker and weaker. Alan must openly work with Akufo Addo in order to prevent this bitterness and carefully build the party machine in time for the 2016 elections. The problem with this option is that it is highly time-sensitive. If Alan wants to build his party, it is now or never. Waiting until after the NPP Congress would clearly be too late. In the mean time each day that the rivalry continues within the party, some irreparable damage is done to the party's feet on the ground. The earlier this stopped the better. The earlier Alan Cash began his 2016 campaign, the better for both himself personally and also for his party.

Last but by no means the least, if Nana Akufo Addo realizes that he was deliberately sabotaged by Alan Cash, he can simply withdraw his support and plan his own sabotage or two. After all, who knows what else Alan Cash is going to do next if he can get away with such a wicked trick? And he would be perfectly understood by many supporters! Methinks under those circumstances, it would become a moral imperative for Nana Akufo Addo to teach Alan Cash a very good lesson for sabotaging him when it was his turn in 2012 to sabotage Alan Cash in turn come 2016! That would be the second time I would be working very closely with Nana Addo, with whom I joined hands in solidarity at the trial of the editor of the Christian Chronicle, George Naykene at the Cocoa Affairs Court in Accra. in 1991 or thereabouts. Even though we could not do much to help George as he was given a jail term at Nsawam, this time around, we shall get Alan, as he cannot win without the support from Akuffo Addo's own constituency in the party!

Conclusion

All this may sound very stupid to the internet-based NPP members, but for those directly receiving the beatings on the ground for these arrogant, greedy, corporate-dominated and systematically socially-exclusive elitist and inward-looking individuals, and for a party which is a loser in advance, "theOdikro Plan" makes a big difference. It can save a limb or two of the party's foot soldiers. This has been the objective right from the beginning: defending the NPP foot soldiers who are receiving these beatings at the hands of their own party members! The extra bonus of an in-built internal dynamics working against each of them on the basis of their greed, assures that none of them wins! Besides, a violence-free internal party democratic process does not harm our hard-won international reputation as a dependable and working democracy. I call on all of you to support this plan and give them the hell that they truly deserve!

--

Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

Give me a follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheOdikro

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