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Politics of Thursday, 21 May 2015

Source: The Republic

Akufo-Addo cash hunting to chase out non-loyalist

For the umpteenth time, the Flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo has reportedly courted discontent through his much-criticized sidelining of his party’s executives in his activities towards the 2016 Presidential campaigns.

The Republic newspaper has gathered that the latest episode causing much grumbling within the ranks of the NPP is Akufo-Addo’s 16-day tour of Europe (to raise funds and to garner support for his presidential campaign) where he completely ignored key individuals and executives of the party, preferring to make the all-important tour with his close aides and the only national executive member of the party Ms. Otiko Afisa Djaba, the National Women’s Organiser of the NPP.

None of the party’s officials were allowed on the trip made up of his family and friends, it is unclear if he indeed extended an invitation to some of these party officials, but checks by this paper indicates that he went with a delegation consisting of Charles Owiredu, Director of International Relations of the NPP; Francis Asenso-Boakye, Political Assistant to Akufo-Addo, Mr. Eugene Arhin, Press Secretary to Nana Akufo-Addo and a few close friends and relatives.

Akufo-Addo would be touring five countries - Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy – and will meet with members of the NPP branches in those countries, all of these would be without the presence of key members of the party.

His decision to stick with his trusted friends and aides on the European tour has sent seething anger through a cross-section of the party’s membership who had thought they would have been able to contribute to the objectives of the trip.

The composition of the 16-day trip has only further reinforced reports that despite the rhetorics, Akufo-Addo is suspicious of the NPP leadership and would rather work with his close allies and aides in his preparations towards the 2016 elections.

He was recently accused by some party members of scheming to beef up the top hierarchy of the party with people whom he trust in a bid to seize control of the party.

The recent near-violent eruption during the parliamentary vetting process of the party is said to have been orchestrated by Akufo-Addo and his advisors who were reportedly working behind the scenes to ensure that majority of the parliamentary aspirants who successfully get vetted are aligned to the Akufo-Addo camp in the party.

There were reports of a list of candidates that Akufo-Addo had earmarked for parliamentary positions. The situation was also heightened when Freddy Blay the First Vice Chairman of the NPP-and a close friend of Akufo-Addo- clandestinely convened a National Steering Committee meeting composed of Akufo-Addo loyalists, to select friendlies to oversee NPP’s parliamentary vetting process across the country.

The meeting which sent the party into heightened agitation mode was done on the blind side of the National Chairman, Paul Afoko and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyapong; two gentlemen who are reported to be on the top of Akufo-Addo’s list of suspects working against his presidential ambition from within.

In Germany, he told his party’s supporters living in the diaspora that “All these internal wrangling will soon come to an end. We will elect our parliamentary candidates on June 13, and thereafter we will announce our campaign team. We will then have one objective after that, which is to win the election of 2016,” he said.

But his critics have described this statement as hypocritical because some clearly unhappy section of the party had thought Akufo-Addo would have used the trip to portray his fence-mending preaching, given the recent deepening of cracks between his loyalists and his opponents within the party aligned to the rival camp of ex-President Kufuor and Alan Kyeremanteng.

Due to his inherent mistrust of some key members of the party, Akufo Addo’s aides had revealed that the twice defeated flagbearer of the biggest opposition party in Ghana would prefer to use a personal campaign office, rather than depend on the party machinery to win him the 2016 election.

This is due to his fears that Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong- who together in the past two times he run for presidency on the party’s ticket, had strongly opposed his bid- would sabotage his presidential ambition.

Some of his aides have been quoted saying the personal campaign office would be run by his family members and friends such as his controversial nephew, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.

Akufo Addo is also reported to have set spies on the trail of these two men and others believed to belong to the Kufour/ Alan power blocs in the party.

The Kufuor/ Alan Kyeremanteng group is said to have dubbed Akufo Addo as a ‘risk factor’. According to Africawatch, the Ashanti power bloc in the NPP is convinced that if Akufo Addo wins the Presidential elections, they would be would be rendered useless.

According reports, Akufo Addo and his loyalists are convinced that Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong may have been systematically planted into those key positions by the Kufuor/Kyeremanteng clique to ensure that Akufo Addo’s plans to win the Presidential elections are sabotaged at the highest level of the NPP’s hierarchy.