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Opinions of Saturday, 22 December 2007

Columnist: Menas-Bonsu, Kofi Diawo

A Divided Party - Kufuor's Legacy!

I was shell-shocked to read the piece by K.D. Mensa-Bonsu on the impending NPP Congress. The evaluation of John Alan Kyerematen was most educative. I would have wished it had come at an earlier time to have properly positioned contestant Kyerematen in the scheme of NPP affairs.

Maybe some of us should have also written earlier to have enabled the delegates to sife wheat from the chaft that is so much polluting the atmosphere. I intend to analyse the six or seven front runners in what otherwise should have been a keen contest amongst equals but for the unguided intrusion by President Kufuor.

ALIU MAHAMA

Let me begin with Vice-President Aliu Mahama. As a sitting Vice President, Aliu ordinarily ought to have been given a smooth passage to take over from his boss. Unfortunately, Aliu's path is strewn with thorns, nettles and thistles. First, unlike Roland Issifu Alhassan who was the parry's and the then candidate's choice to partner Prof. Adu Boahen, Aliu Mahama was handpicked by then candidate Kufuor single handedly. Roland Alhassan was with the party at the very outset. Indeed it was in his house that the first reception was held after the innauguration of the Danquah-Busia Club in Tamale and; with the exit of Bawa Diyaka, the lot fell on Roland Issifu Alhassan, particularly, when Alhaji B. A. Fuseini defected to the NDC.

Aliu's association with and assistance to Kufuor is well known to Kufuor's friends but his clear association with the party after its birth remains cloudy.

Without doubt Aliu Mahama is a pleasant character but he does not appear to have confidence and does not appear to have a firm grasp over the real issues of governance even after seven years as a sitting Vice-President who has acted on countless occcasions as President given the frequent travels of the President Kufuor. In these last days he appears to be purging himself of this tersiness amd vagueness, admittedly.

Aliu's backyard is still unsettled after the hurricane which engulfed Dagbon following the unfortunate death of the Ya-na. The NPP had five seats in the Dagomba Kingdom. After those unfortunate indcidents the party lost three of the seats. Today we have only two.

Whereas it is difficult to debit Aliu with this hocus pocus, like Pontius Pilate in the death of Jesus Christ, even after washinng his hands off this matter he will be mentioned in the Dagbon creed that the late Ya-na died at a time he, a son of the soil was a sitting Vice-President and Chairman of the Police Council. It is an injustifiable accusation but the Vice-President has become mortally wounded and it is difficult to rally his own people, his own region behind him. The question then is if he brings no constituency to bear on the electoral fortunes of the party does he expect the rest of the country to carry him on their shoulders when he cannot galvanise his own people?

YAW OSAFO MAAFO

Yaw Osafo Maafo is one person who is given to probing the finest of details. He is very meticulous. His performance at the Finance Ministry is well documented. Much of the success story of the NPP government which hinges on the rescue operation on the economy is attributable to the magic hands of Yaw Oyeadieyie. At the Education and Sports Ministry his "Midas touch" was experienced. If Yaw Osafo Maafo had remained a minister, things would have worked like magic for him. Also, his ouster by the President in inexplicable circumstances has dealt a fatal blow to his image and esteeem. So, rather painfully, Osafo Maafo's star is dimming with the passage of each day.

KOFI KONADU APRAKU

Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku is a very powerful debator and he spears a lot of wisdom and intelligence. Like Osafo Maafo he must be singing "Lead kindly light".That is inspite of his proven capabilities and bountiful energy. When a person is jettisoned in such a manner as was done to him, it is always difficult to pick oneself up. Apraku has done well in bouncing back but what does he make of the President's declaration that he will back any of the aspirants who win except those he has fired?

On each of the three ooccasions that Honourable Apraku has been elected to parliament, it has been with very slim margins and Dr. Apraku has to do whatever it takes to resurrect the party in his backyard for the overall success of the party in election 2008. The plea to Dr. Apraku who is still very young and a very astute politician is that he must remain in parliament if he does not win for parliament needs his positive contributions. The unfortunate truth is that since 2001 when he was made a Minister he completely abondoned parliament and since his 'step out' notice he is less seen in parliament. There is still a long road in front of him.

HACKMAN OWUSU-AGYEMANG

Hackman Owusu Agyemang is a royal of the NPP. The first national treasurer of the party and a man with a fat wallet long before he became a Minister. Hackman is very hard working and nobody can fault him with non-chalance. An action man he proved his mettle at Foriegn Affairs, Interior and at Works and Housing. He is one person who committed enormous resources to building the party. Hackman does not appear to have the physical strength to engage in the robust. Yet he is fine gentleman whose face is definitely presidential.

PAPA OWUSU ANKOMA

Papa Owusu Ankoma is a kid on the block but Papa doesn't appear to be firm and decisive enough. At the Attorney-General's Department no hard cases were successfully prosecuted. As the Majority Leader he was considered to be compromising too much for the comfort of the party in parliament. At Education and Sports no milestones have been left behind. A very pleasant character Owusu Ankoma perhaps ought not to have been taken away from parliament as he is very sharp and pin-point and enjoyed profound cooperation and collaboration from his peers.

ARTHUR KENNEDY, BOAKYE AGYARKO & FRIMPONG BOATENG

Arthur Kennedy, Boakye Agyarko and Frimpong Boateng should all know that to be made a President of a country, one ought to be tested in political administration. They must either be in parliament or be tested as Ministers before staking their claim. Its not the case that they are incompetent professionals or not knowleadgeable. The inconvenient truth is that they are untested. It is not for nothing that of the 43 presidents who have governed the USA every one of them has served as Governor, Congressman or Senator. Kwabena Agyepong talls into that category. Agyei-Barwuah has useful lessons to pick. He has long been in the U.K. and apart from his appointment by President Kufuor as Ambassador to Japan what political experience does he have?

KWAME ADDO-KUFUOR

Dr. Addo Kufuor is noble but the plain truth is that in all civilised democracies a brother, a sister, a daughter, a son or a spouse succeeding an incumbent immediately after the sitting president's term is an unknown phenomenon. Togo? DRC? Chile? Argentina? Cuba? These are not your typical democracies and Addo Kufuor ought to have known better. If some water pass under the bridge, a relative could pop up otherwise his own misadventure is an exercise in futility.

The President's brother prides himself with tremendous achievement at the Ministry of Defence. That indeed is very true. Subjecting the defence budget to intense scrutiny is what parliament since 1993 has exercised great circumspection about. But if the cupboard should be forced open one could discover not one but several skeletons. And he says he has submitted himself to audit-scrutiny and has come out clean. When was that, how was it done, and who did it?

The Auditor-General has sole responsibility to audit the public accounts of Ghana and all public offices Art. 187(2). The Auditor-General does so within six months after the end of the immediately preceeding financial year and submit his report thereafter to parliament Art 187(5). Clearly, the accounts of the year 2007 when Addo Kufuor left office have not been audited so from where comes the claim that he has been audited and found clear? These are infantile gimmickery. In any event whereas Hackman Owusu Agyemang's ministry is constructing government's affordable Housing at a cost of 200 and 300 million cedis per a 2 and 3 - bedroom facility respectively how much did the barracks accomodation of 1 - bedroom; 2 - bedroom and 3 - bedroom units cost this nation? An average of over 1.3 billion cedis! Clearly, those who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones.

ALAN KYEREMATEN

Alan Kyerematin could win this impending race in his own right. That is why the President's orchestration and manipulation is most regrettable. Alan, indeed , is a man with considerable experience but when it mattered he preferred to be at the background. Today, those who risked their lives should be shoved aside for To that extent Alan Kyerematin an Ashanti by birth - both parents are Ashantis - now wishes to be identified as a Fanti man. And the president is teleguiding his every step.

It is regrettable that in the Ashanti Region, candidate Alan is paraded as a thorough - bred Ashanti who should not give way to the Akyems to take over because of the fear that the Okyehene would be elevated above the Asantehene if any of the Akyems, particularly Nana Akufo Addo, should win power. And now the battle is reduced to insults and personal attacks on the character of Nana Addo. That is most unfortunate. But with characters like chief gossip and attack dog Dr. K. W. Anane and his lackeys at their clandestine best the contest is becoming more and more pedestrain.

The truth is that the IFC loan, the CNTCI loan which hugely embarrassed government were both foisted in this nation by Alan Kyerematin. Our rice industry, cotten farmers are all wailing because Alan's policies were all misdirected. Today, our Textile industries have hit rock bottom. The president's Special Initiatives which admittedly were brilliant innovations have all collapsed because they were not properly thought through. In all these the workers have been sacked or made redundant. That is the man who in apparent contradiction goes about singing: "Jobs for the people cash for the people".

Alan surely will be a difficult product to sell and this self - preservation agenda being prosecuted by President Kufuor must be condemned and resisted. Clearly, for the rest of the president's people following Alan it is a case of self - preservation. They believe if any other contestant wins they will no longer be in the mainstream hence the pushing and the shoving.

The Vice-President ought to have been the heir apparent to President Kufuor but for the matters referred to earlier. In his stead the region to look at is Central Region in view of their contribution to election 2000 and 2004 which enabled the NPP to win and retain power. A candidate from the Central Region could be the best choice for the party now. To satisfy Central Region for their effort and also in view of the fact that apart from 1992 effort by Dr. Osane Selby who himself is a Fante in the diaspora, having sorjourned for far too long in Kumasi and hence had lost his Fante identify, no Fanti has won the flagbearship of the UP tradition. A Fanti could sort it out with Mills in his own backyard and trounce him there.

But there is no high profile person from the Central Region in the party. Can the party then look at other minorities , particularly Gas? Ocquaye is ailing sad to relate and, Ala Adjetey, Odoi Sykes and Sai are all fast approaching dusk in their political carreers.

NANA AKUFO-ADDO

The next region to look at then is the Eastern Region. Is the tradition not Danquah-Busia? Busia has had his turn , Ashante has had her turn. Let us look at the East and all said and done Nana Akufo Addo should be the next flagbearer. For his sheer bravura, bravado and enduring commitment. A true loyalist and a man of great competence. Dan Botwe is a great party asset and his message is simple and unsophisticated for the ordinary man. Dan Botwe can wait.

Nana Addo without doubt has minuses: that is he is too indulgent with women. That is what the detractors say. But is it not the case with Addo Kufuor, Boakye Agyarko, Alan Kyerematen, Dr. Anane who has been red - carded in this before, Osafo Maafo, Apraku, if you will, our sitting President and even former President Rawlings? Let those who have no sin cast the first stone.

It is not to condone amorous affairs. Politicians should set better standards and Nana Addo should learn but all our Ministers, Members of Parliament (ask them about what they call "laptops" and "pendrives" whenever they go for workshops). They are all guilty in this accusation. The ball certainly is in the east. What we must do is to band together in view of what the President is brazenly doing. Would Osafo Maafo, Hackman, Dan Botwe, Felix Owusu Adjapong, Boakye Agyarko and Akufo Addo come together to form one band. Imagine the power that association will unleash! That is what the party needs, not a corruption of our people as Alan is doing.

If Alan should win by the method the president has elected for him could he count on the support of others? In 1996 Rawlings had about 58% of the popular vote. NPP had about 41%. In 2000 because of the change of guard NPP turned the table though the difference was 17%. In 2001 NPP managed only 53% against NDCs 44% a difference of 9%. It is possible to lose 4% if we do not unite, if people out of disillusionment fail to go with the NPP due to manipulations.

I sincerely believe that the fear of the uncertain under an NDC regime will not allow any loser to split up the party. What may happen is a lack of interest if the verdict is bought or stolen.

It is my prayer and it shall be the prayer of every NPP faithful that God should speak on the fateful day. But God should soften the heart of President Kufuor for if there should be any tsunami he stands the greatest risk. He who has ears let him listen.

KOFI DIAWUO MENSA-BONSU

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