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Opinions of Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Columnist: Johson, Awuraa Esi

NPP, on course to self destruction:

By: Awuraa Esi Johson

The political landscape of Ghana during this present republic can be described as evenly split between the two main political parties; the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP). For the foreseeable future, one can predict that none of the two main political parties can win in a presidential election with a decisive majority, equal to or greater than 55 per cent. The results of the last two general elections attest to this, and one reason for this phenomenon can be attributed to the size of the so-called floating/swing voters which is not big enough to grant one party 55 or more per cent of the popular votes. Given this scenario, it behooves on these two parties, the NDC and NPP to embark on strategies to keep their support base tightly in-house whilst they try at the same time to attract as many sympathizers as they can from the so-called swing voters pool.

The NPP has suffered two defeats in the last two elections. With these recent defeats at the polls and a loss of the Supreme Court petition which sought to invalidate the presidency of John Mahama still fresh on our minds, the party’s top executives main focus should have been the following:

• Assessment of the party’s performance at the polls; • Evaluating, rebuilding and strengthening existing structures; • Developing new ideas to unite the party; • developing roadmap for the election of new party executives; and • Strategizing for the 2016 campaign and hence, election of a flag bearer.

Unfortunately, the executives have embarked on a different path. Their Modus Operandi has been, jumping the gun, acting as surrogates and issuing endorsements to Nana Addo. We are all witnesses to statements made by the party’s General Secretary “Sir John”, the Ashanti Region Party Chairman F.F. Antoh and Dr. Amoako Tuffour Party Elder. These people have made statements that have the potential for causing division within the rank and file of the party.

On the part of “Sir John” and F.F. Antoh, backing for Nana Addo’s third coming in their official capacities as party General Secretary and Rgegional Chairman in advance of an election is totally unacceptable. In the least, this is clear case of conflict of interest. Administrative procedures and democratic principles compel the two officers to be seen and behave as neutral if they have any decency at all.

Whilst statements by these executives are in no doubt causing division in the party, there are sycophants who don’t see anything wrong with Sir John and Antoh’s positions. My question to those is that why did we as a party (NPP) try to get Atuguba JSC recuse himself from the Supreme Court Panel that was set to hear our petition? Was it not about conflict of interest because his nephew works as the executive secretary to the president? Is it not true then that your support of these two officers is hypocritical at the highest order? We demand of others to carry a yoke that we ourselves are not willing to carry.

As the party has no constitutional restriction on the number of times a person can run for its leadership, there will be nothing wrong should Nana Addo decide to run again. Equally, there should be nothing wrong with someone like Dr. Amoako Tuffour supporting Nana Addo’s candidacy. What is wrong is the timing and the content of his message. Dr. Amoako Tuffour the man who calls himself a founding member of the party in one of his unfortunate comments in support of Nana Addo’s third coming made a disturbing claim that some of the people who have called on him to express their interest in retaining Nana Addo have also threatened to break away from the party if Nana Addo is not retained. This indeed is a shameful and divisive comment. A comment that Amoako Tuffour did not have to share with the public even if what he claimed was true.

Dr. Amoako Tuffour, the Elder as he claims to be, in the very least should have told the world of his advice to those who made that comment to stick behind whoever the party chooses as its leader. His failure to advise and the fact that he thought it was a good comment that he could share with the world is not only carless but also, an expression of what he Amoako Tuffour and his team are planning to do should Nana fail to secure the leadership of the party. Could that be the reason why Sir John said, Nana will win at all cost even if he was in a wheel chair? Would Amoako Tuffour say that of all those calls he received, there was no dissenting voice? If there was none, then, that could well mean that all those calls came from those who are already pro-Nana and they realize that in Amoako Tuffour they have an ally with whom they can discuss their diabolical break-away plans.

What perhaps Dr. Amoako Tuffour does not realize is the fact that to every action there is an equal reaction. Whiles they may be some NPP members who will break-away including Amoako Tuffour if Nana Addo was not the leader for the third time, the reverse, MAYBE AND ONLY MAYBE, may also be true for other members as well. BUT, is that what we hope for? This is why I found no wisdom in Amoako Tuffour’s comment. “Opanin a otena efie ma nkwadaa we nanaka no, yeebu nanak we fuo a oka ho” an elder who allows children to eat snake is also considered a snake eater.

Comments that are purposely designed to coward or coerce party members into submission by party leadership and elders are not what we need at this point. Our leaders/elders should desist from working on our sentiments as we prepare to make the important decision of choosing our next leaders to lead the party. Negative tactics will not bode well with unity and of course cannot win us elections.

What our leaders should do is to have sober reflection of the last election and the court case, identify our shortcomings and address them; continue to build on our strength, strategize through consensus and capacity building. Our leadership should provide opportunities for ALL party members to participate and to contribute their worth. The “ALL HANDS ON DECK” refrain must mean more than just mere words on a piece of paper. There should be no Akufo Addo NPP supporters, Frimpong Boateng supporters or Alan Kyerematen NPP supporters. There should be simply NPP supporters. This is what the leadership MUST promote; failing which we ALL sink together.