Politics of Saturday, 25 August 2012

Source: The Herald

NPP Northern Gang Flees As John Mahama Fever Spreads

Signals picked by The Herald suggest that prominent members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from the three northern regions are fleeing from their party’s strategy to use ethnicity and religion to undo the John Mahama fever, which is blowing across the regions and beyond.

This paper’s information is that majority of the people in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions, where President Mahama will be visiting sometime next week on his “Thank You Tour”, are basking in the glory of having one of their own as President, instead of playing the usual “second fiddle roles” to southerners.

The plot has been titled “John Mahama As Prez Candidate: A Strategy To Counter Him In The North”.

Names that are making the rounds as those running away from the NPP plot to go on the rampage, using ethnicity and religion against President Mahama are Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Iddris, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Alhaji M.N.D. Jawula, Boniface Agambila, Kofi Adda, Hajia Alima Mahama.

Some of the personalities are even said to have secretly pledged their fullest support to President Mahama, who they say has a stronger magnetic personality over their 68-year old Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP flagbearer.

Others include Malik Alhassan who is said not to be too healthy, Joshua Hamidu, Major Sulemana, Mustapha Hamid, Paul Afoko, Alhaji Moctar Bamba, Musa Superior, Prof. Wayo Saini, Ambrose Dery, Dominic Nitiwul, Otiku Djaba and Anthony Karbo.

Apart from President Mahama’s affability, another thing doing the magic for the sure to-be-endorsed National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer is the view that people of northern extraction are accorded little or no respect in the NPP.

Ex-Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama’s alleged maltreatment and failed bid to be the flagbearer of the NPP for the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections has become the reference point for northerners resident within and outside the three regions.

Excerpts of the document titled “John Mahama As Prez Candidate: A Strategy To Counter Him In The North” in the custody of The Herald reveal that the NPP intends fanning ethnic and religious conflict in the North as its strategy to undermine President Mahama’s government and cause him disaffection.

The document specifically noted that “settler communities such as the Konkombas, Basaris and Kotokolis among others, who are largely in the eastern corridor and who have had their share of problems with the Gonjas must be given a major role”.

According to the NPP, “The nomination of President John Mahama as the NDC Presidential candidate for the 2012 elections changes the dynamics and brings new challenges to us as party”.

“We should be reminded of how the relatively unknown Dr. Hilla Liman took the political scene by storm in the 3rd Republic”, the document said.

It said “The likelihood is for the three northern regions to vote en-bloc for John Mahama out of pride and, simply because he is a northerner than on merit. Countervailing strategies need to be adopted to neutralize him and ensure our victory. It is in this spirit that the following suggested strategies have been put up:

The three northern regions have their ethno/religious dynamics that sharply divide and affect inter-ethnic relations. These dynamics need to be studied and subtly exploited to our benefit. For this to be effective, however, there is the urgent need for a thorough study of the voting patterns of the major ethno/religious groups over the past elections, especially the fortunes of our party over the years”.

It cited “a few examples will suffice. The pride of place in the political ladder of the Dagombas who are largely Muslims vs the Gonjas who are also largely Muslims, will be affected by the elevation of John, a Gonja, to the high office of Prez”.

The party asked that “The most influential and elderly Dagomba persons in the party must be immediately set to work” while “The most influential and respected Gonja, Guan leaders in the party will also have to be set to work to at least chip at his stronghold. For instance, East Gonja has a lot of representation in our party. They should be put to work”.

“Settler communities such as the Konkombas Basaris, Kotokolis among others who are largely in the eastern corridor and who have had their share of problems with the Gonja’s must be given a major role”, it said.

Furthermore, “Northern Christian leaders of mostly Upper West and Upper East origins must be given major roles to gunner support as their areas may be the most risky in terms of vote loss due to their Christian affinities”.

Additionally, “The flagship programme of Mr. Maharna as Vice was the SADA. A critical study of the subject shows, it has been totally a failure; however propaganda has been largely used to promote the project. A consistent sensitization through radio, TV, public forums and demonstrations which were started have to be reignited in the three northern regions”.

“Corruption matters such as Amajaro, Embria, stx, Ibrahim’s Plane and the opinion actions on the new Prez on Woyome, CP, ISOFOTON, AAL, ROCKSHELL will have to be the focus,” the NPP said.

More so, “Northerners in the communications team should be considered for frontline roles on TV and radios of major networks. Senior northern statesmen and academics within the party should be representing the party on higher platforms on economic, political and social matters”.

“The most effective and abrasive communicators of both northern and southern origins should be sent on regular basis, to the three northern regions for a week or two to be on their networks”, the document said.

It concluded that “The northern parliamentary caucus, the northern party elders and statesmen and certain opinion leaders and main party persons should be tasked to bring a plan on the strengths and weaknesses of Mahama and the way forward. Makes it look all inclusive”.