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General News of Monday, 9 September 2013

Source: Joy Online

Is NPP now comparing Nana Akufo-Addo to Mugabe? - Kwesi Pratt

Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt, is surprised that the age of Zimbabwe's Robert Gabriel Mugabe should become an inspiration for a huge push within the NPP, for a third bid for Nana Akufo-Addo.

He called it "interesting times" for anybody within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to argue that age doesn't matter in the choice of who becomes flagbearer of the party in 2016.

In the push for the twice defeated flagbearer of the NPP to lead the party in the 2016 general elections, it has been argued by a section of the NPP that if 94-year-old Robert Mugabe is President of Zimbabwe, why not Akufo-Addo who would be only 72 in 2016?

Nana Akufo-Addo has contested for NPP flagbearship three times. He contested against then candidate John Kufuor in 1996, contested 15 other candidates in 2007 and contested Alan Kyeremanteng in 2010.

He has won two times out of three contests. But despite becoming flagbearer twice, he has been unsuccessful at winning the presidency. He missed out narrowly by about 44,000 votes in 2008 against the late Evans Atta Mills and 300,000 in 2012 against John Mahama.

Nana Akufo-Addo is also one of three petitioners who tried to use the Supreme Court to unseat John Mahama after the NPP alleged massive fraud during the 2012 elections in December. This bid failed.

Nana Akufo-Addo is currently taking a break from the "hurly-burly of politics". But it has not stopped an aggressive lobby by sections of the NPP to get him to contest again in 2016. He will be 72.

The lobbyists are rejecting the claims that Nana Akufo-Addo will be too old to be president. PC Appiah Ofori on Ekosii Sen said it is "senseless" for anyone to argue that Nana Akufo-Addo will be too old for the presidency in 2016.

Mustapha Hamid, Aide to the NPP 2012 presidential candidate, has also discounted claims that Nana Addo’s age might not favour him in 2016.

Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, General Secretary of the NPP has also said "the argument about age does not wash; how old is President Mugabe of Zimbabwe? I mean those talking about age have no basis, make no mistake, Nana will lead NPP even if he is in a wheelchair,"

The National Chairman of the party, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, has also said the NPP's constitution does not bar the 2012 flagbearer, but he would only back the candidate chosen by the party.

Speaking on Multi TV's Badwam, Kwesi Pratt says it is surprising how a party that has been condemning Robert Gabriel Mugabe's grip on power in Zimbabwe would now find inspiration from him.

He said ideologically, the NPP is opposed to the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) which has been the ruling party in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, led by Robert Mugabe.

He suggested that a couple of months ago, people within the NPP criticised the nonagenarian President after he won a record seventh term in office.

He explained that, unlike Nana Akufo-Addo, Mugabe was not 72 years when he contested elections. Mugabe was 54 years when he led Zimbabwe as the country's first president.

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