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General News of Sunday, 1 June 2008

Source: Ghana Celebrities

Nduom On PNC-CPP Alliance

STATEMENT MADE BY DR. PAPA KWESI NDUOM, MP & FLAGBEARER OF THE CONVENTION PEOPLE’S PARTY ON THE PNC-CPP ALLIANCE ON TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008

As you may know, I am not currently in the country. I am in the USA with my family. Yesterday, I proudly witnessed the graduation of my daughter, Nana Aba Nduom (a former student at the Ghana International School in Accra), from Yale University. Nothing in this world matters as much to me as my family; making time to attend important events such as this is an absolute priority. I consider myself lucky and blessed to have the ability to attend her graduation with the rest of my loving, caring family

It is important that the people of Ghana know the truth about what has happened to the alliance agreement reached recently between the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP).

Nkrumaists the world over rejoiced when, on the morning of May 14th 2008, it was reported that the PNC and the CPP had reached an agreement to enter into an alliance for the 2008 elections. They waited for official confirmation of this from the PNC to calm their nerves. This did not happen. Those who tried could not reach the Chairman of the PNC. When reached, the PNC Flagbearer simply said, “no comment”. The Communications Manager of the PNC Flagbearer spoke very well and positively about the agreement on a Metro TV Breakfast Program. The Lead Strategist of the CPP Flagbearer’s Campaign Team explained what had happened to the media. A leading member of the PNC and that party’s former General Secretary Mr. Gabriel Pwamang when reached also spoke positively about the agreement. I gave an interview during the day about the agreement and was a guest on Metro TV’s “Good Evening Ghana” program to explain the fact that what had been achieved was a great tribute to the late President Hilla Limann and the late Kojo Botsio who led the fight for the reunification of the CPP family. I congratulated the Chairmen who led the two parties to reach the historic agreement and to everyone who participated for the seriousness attached to the discussions held during the negotiations.

Unfortunately, on Thursday, May 22nd, Dr. Edward Mahama the Flagbearer of the PNC held a press conference to announce the rejection of the alliance agreement by his party’s National Executive Committee. But he did not stop there. Dr. Mahama blamed the rejection of the alliance on what he termed a breach of trust on the part of the CPP and specifically blamed me for discussing the agreement in public in haste and reportedly labeled me someone he could not trust. In essence, what he said is that he was denied the opportunity to discuss the agreement with his people and that he was surprised by what he heard through the media.

Dr. Mahama is not new to politics. Indeed, he contested the Presidential elections in 1996, 2000 and 2004. During most of that time, he has also served as the leader of the PNC. So I take him as someone who has gained significant experience in dealing with the members of his party and who has won their confidence and trust. I have known Dr. Mahama for several years including the years before he entered politics. I know him to be a conscientious physician and also as someone who has learned the facts of life in America. I also know him as someone who has acted on principle a number of times during the past few years on matters of politics. So I do not speak today lightly or in haste at all. I have also allowed a few days to pass so that I would not speak on emotion in a negative manner.

We did not enter into this alliance agreement all of a sudden. The Chairmen of the two parties had preliminary meetings to test the ground. Dr. Mahama and I met also to exchange ideas about the same subject. It was when we felt that something positive could happen that the CPP’s Central Committee was informed about what was going on. The Chairman sought approval for a letter to be written to the PNC to get negotiations going. So, on the CPP side we knew we were working on authority and with the knowledge of the Central Committee which includes the Regional Chairpersons of the Party.

The important point here is that Dr. Mahama had insisted all along that HE had the mandate to negotiate and talk on behalf of the PNC from their Congress! This he had insisted on from the very beginning including the individual meetings with me and for the formal alliance negotiation meetings. The CPP side asked the question of authority and we were assured that the PNC team had it. So how come after agreement is reached, Dr. Mahama says he needed to seek authority from his NEC?

On the matter of publicity let me be very clear that I suggested that the negotiating team led by the two Chairmen and Flagbearers should announce the agreement the following day. This was turned down. It was agreed that a statement should be released instead and for a team to be formed to organize a proper outdooring of the alliance. The content of the statement was agreed and photographs were taken. The two Chairmen were to sign the statement by 10.00 am the following day for release to the media. Authorisation was given for the Chairmen and the Flagbearers to speak publicly on the agreement. Neither Dr. Mahama nor the PNC Chairman talked about seeking the approval of the PNC’s NEC before going public. These are the facts. These constitute the truth of the matter. It is the CPP that should be talking about a breach of trust. What happened that made the PNC Chairman unavailable to sign the statement the entire day on Wednesday, May 14th? Why is it that neither he nor Dr. Mahama could be reached by telephone that day even when the CPP Chairman had the statement in hand for signature? What happened?

So why was Dr. Mahama surprised? It could not have been over the fact that the alliance agreement was made public. That was agreed by the two teams! Was it because someone in the media said the PNC had “subordinated itself” to the CPP? Dr. Mahama knew the number of parliamentarians each side had before he entered into the agreement.

On May 10th, the negotiating teams agreed to field common parliamentary candidates and a common presidential ticket. A significant decision was made to the effect that the alliance’s presidential ticket would use the party name and symbol of the person selected to be the Flagbearer. The team asked Dr. Mahama and I to meet to see if by consensus we would agree on who should be Flagbearer and Running Mate. It set Tuesday, May 13th as the date for an electoral college to meet to vote on the matter if the two of us had not reached agreement by then.

We decided for several reasons that it would be better for the electoral college to make the decision on the roles the two of us should play. We also pledged to support each other, regardless of the decision reached by voting. I knew that as a leader, my task would be to sell the agreement successfully to the CPP if I became the running mate because some people from my side would have voted for Dr. Mahama. We both knew that the interest of the Nkrumahist Family was bigger that our personal interests.

In my view what Dr. Mahama needed to do right from the meeting on May 13th was to have gotten his key men and women together to get the PNC to accept the leadership he had shown throughout the alliance discussions and negotiations. This is what I would have done. If I had become the Running Mate and my party had rejected the alliance arrangement, I would have resigned my position as Flagbearer and allowed someone else to lead the Party to the 2008 elections. I believe in moral right and integrity in leadership. In my personal opinion, it is not enough for him to apologise to his party for acting without authority and then turn around and blame others for doing what he insisted all along he had the right to do – this has jeopardized the aspirations of millions of Nkrumaists all over the world.

In the interest of the aforementioned Nkrumaists, Mahama should go back to the PNC National Executive Council and apologise again – this time for misleading them about the circumstances that led to the alliance agreement and what happened on Wednesday, May 14th. He should show leadership by getting them to ratify the agreement. Failing that, he should accept the rejection by the party he leads quietly and stop impugning the integrity of others.

One of the important elements in what did is that we felt strong enough to agree to the condition that the alliance must exclude the NPP and the NDC. The CPP tradition believes that Ghanaians want an alternative to the NDC and the NPP. The CPP is well positioned to be that alternative. In this regard, I call on all members of the CPP family – from the Workers Brigade, State Farms, Parliamentarians, Ministers, Party Officials, Young Pioneers and their sons and daughters and grandchildren to come back home to make victory in 2008 a reality. I call on all Ghanaians who believe in self-determination, social justice and pan-Africanism to join and support the CPP to win.

On my part, I will continue to work to bring PNC and CPP members in our towns and villages across the nation together as one family with a proud heritage. For me the Nkrumaist Alliance remains as agreed in our hearts with the CPP name and the proud red cockerel as our symbol for our march back to the Flagstaff House in January, 2009. I know that the rank and file of the PNC agrees with me over this. This is not a matter of one party becoming the subordinate of another. It is a homecoming for all Nkrumaists. I am calling for an alliance of hearts. No matter what the leaders do or fail to do, the people must maintain their belief in the cause of Nkrumaist unity.

Finally, I wish to say that I am proud of the offer the leadership of the CPP made to the PNC and the selfless manner the joint negotiating team worked to reach the Nkrumaist Alliance Agreement. I am proud of everyone who made it happen. The CPP will re-energise its parliamentary and presidential campaign and work hard to win all our people back home. From now on, it is CPP all the way to victory in December, 2008 with a big heart and a house big and strong enough to accommodate all of its children, no matter where they have been in the past four elections.

God bless our Homeland Ghana.

There is Victory for the CPP in 2008! Yeresasamu with Edwumawura.

Forward Ever, Backward Never!

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