Feature Article of Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Columnist: Agyemang, Kwasi Osei
Over the past few days, I have read with some intrigue and excitement from my small base, a series of Publications titled “Bawumia to Lead NPP?”. I must admit that this particular series of articles is imbedded with lots of thought provoking analysis and historical lessons on the New Patriotic Party and its politics.
However, I find that there are too many issues in these feature articles which begs to be responded to.
The politics of this country has grown very dynamic and I feel pleasantly surprised anytime I realize how far we have come from the days of dictatorship under Acheampong and Rawlings particularly where such open discourse of issues was frowned upon and it is necessary that we foster this development. But it is also important that in this new democratic culture, issues and facts are placed in their proper contexts to allow for frank discussions and opinion formation and that is exactly what I intend to do with my own series of rejoinders. First of all, to place things in its proper context, it is necessary to establish that the writer Haruna Mahama, being a northerner himself, seems very much obsessed with the need for the NPP to be led by a northerner. However, what we cannot tell is whether his views are influenced by just his regional considerations or by the greater interest of the NPP which as I would proceed to prove, is at variance with picking anybody but an Akan candidate for flagbearership of the Party.
To proceed, the piece states very clearly that Akans have always led the NPP because Akans look down on Minorities. This conclusion cannot be farthest from the case. If Akans indeed look down upon minorities, Akans would not have ceded the number two position of Running Mate and potential Vice-President for example to Mr. Mahama’s own Northern brothers even though there can be hundreds of competent personalities from the many tribes which make up the Akan ethnic group and which would obviously bring more votes to the NPPs ticket than our past Northern Running Mates have brought. The issue of Akans leading the NPP can be explained very simply. The NPP and UP tradition has since its formation been led by Akans because very simply, the NPPs base and heart is in the Akan areas of the country. Common sense denotes that every Party’s preoccupation should be consolidating its base and it is by choosing Akan leaders that the NPP and its precursors were able to build a formidable party based on Akan support.
The fact that the NPP is an Akan Party is true but unfortunately, I have recognized a very weak and disastrous attempt to try to distance the party from its most loyal base and this certainly cannot be the way to go. We are an Akan party and we should admit and work to consolidate our base in the five Akan regions of the country; this is the most credible way to winning elections for the NPP.
Minorities have not led the NPP not because Akans look down upon them, but because the NPPs base is in Akan-land and this is a fact which cannot be denied. Every Party’s first preoccupation is consolidating its base and not wasting precious time and resources on areas which eventually yield little votes. Again, on the issue of Akan leadership of the party, common sense should also tell us that because the NPP is dominated by Akans, Akans are more likely to offer more potent challengers for leadership of the party and this is very much exemplified in all the national congresses the NPP has organized. The list of candidates and their ethnic background is overwhelmingly Akan; one can prevent you from winning a congress to become leader but one can certainly do very little to prevent one from filing to contest, so the question is, why do we so often see very little candidates contesting from the North or other non-akan areas? The answer is not farfetched, as I have stated already, it is just because the Akans have the men who can on any day enter leadership; but can same be said of other groupings?
Kwasi Osei Agyemang Ontario, Canada