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General News of Saturday, 3 December 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Where is the CPP? - Baako shocked at PPP-PNC coalition

Veteran journalist and an Nkrumahist, Kweku Baako, is in disbelief that the Convention People's Party (CPP), an Nkrumahist party, failed to merge with its ideological ally, the People's National Convention (PNC), ahead of the general elections.

His surprise comes after the PNC forged a parliamentary coalition with the Progressive Peoples' Party (PPP) in a bid to boost their chances in the 2016 parliamentary elections.

"Where is the CPP? What happened to them? I can't believe it," he reacted on Newsfile Saturday.

The parliamentary coalition between the Progressive Peoples' Party (PPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC) was announced December 1 during Special voting exercise for essential service providers.

The PPP will back the PNC in six constituencies while the PNC will return the favour in six other constituencies. The constituencies are all located in the three regions of the North. The merger was blessed by the presidential candidates of both parties.

A merger of this type has always been the target of Kweku Baako's years of advocacy during his committed days in the CPP.

Baako who is a son of a minister in the first CPP government of 1957 has been arguing that smaller parties need not focus on fielding presidential candidates but build clout by first winning parliamentary seats.

Since 1992, parties founded on the beliefs of Ghana's founder and first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah have failed to unite as a viable alternative to the established forces, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party(NPP).

The Nkrumahist fold - CPP and PNC always resurrect merger talks as election beckons and fuel optimism that they will clinch a deal. It has never happened. They have quarrelled over emblems, slogans and symbols.

The PPP, formed in 2012 after Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom broke away from the CPP appears to have lived up to its self-confessed belief that it is a party of pragmatism. Dr Nduom has stated that "We have no political ideology."

Baako is surprised that a non-Nkrumahist party could pull off an alliance with an Nkrumahist party.

"Why didn't the CPP become part of this?" he expressed disappointment in the party. The PNC General Secretary Atik Mohammed revealed that his party initiated talks with the CPP but was left in a lurch after its Nkrumahist partner wrote to discontinue talks.

The PPP moved in to initiate talks with the PNC leading to the formation of the alliance.

PNC General Secretary, Atik Mohammed explained that the discussions began months ago at Coconut Groove Hotel owned by PPP Presidential candidate Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom.

It was first centred on testing the like-mindedness of their respective policies to be presented in the 2016 general elections.

After an agreement, the two parties escalated talks to include a 'full-blown' alliance so that they could present one presidential candidate for the 2016 elections. This failed.

But the parliamentary coalition was agreed. The parties have indicated there could be more coalitions in other constituencies to be announced.

NPP campaign manager, Peter Mac Manu, who was also a panellist praised the alliance and said it is in the interest of Ghana's democracy to have a viable third force.

"I congratulate them for being able to reach this step," he said and expressed frustration that since 1993, the CPP and the PNC have been feet-dragging on unity talks.

Deputy Communications minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu remained cautious about the announcement. "It remains to be seen what impact it will have on the elections," he said.

The deputy minister said it is, however, better to have fewer competitive parties than to have several smaller groups chisel away the winning margins of the strong two.

Watch PPP-PNC discussion after 50mins: