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Opinions of Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Columnist: Kennedy, Arthur Kobina

Boakye Agyarko Misfires Again

Irmo, South Carolina

28th July, 2014

The 2012 NPP Campaign Manager, Boakye Agyarko, the man who praised the EC’s conduct of the 2012 Campaign before we went to Court to allege that it was rigged, has misfired again.

Responding to alleged claims by Alan Kyerematen, which he described as incredulous, Agyarko made some incredulous claims of his own. Among other things, he claimed that:

• Alan was never sidelined and that he could have played any role he wanted to play.
• Alan could have played a role during the court case.
• Alan did not call from Addis Ababa.
• Alan’s entrance into court was facilitated by former General Secretary” Sir John”.
Boakye’s claim that Alan could have played whatever role he wanted to play is false and he knows it. If that was the case, why was Alan not told that in the February, 2011 meeting instead of the agreement to continue discussions about his role? Did Boakye himself not state a few weeks ago that the only people given the liberty to go wherever they pleased were Nana, Bawumia, President Kufuor and late Aliu? In the presence of that edict, how could Alan have gone wherever he pleased? Alan’s case is buttressed by the fact that quite a few people, including myself and even some elected National executives were sidelined either at various times or throughout the campaign. Indeed, a radio station that had invited me to represent the NPP tried to take me off because “the campaign says you are not their man”. It took a nasty confrontation and a threat by me to denounce the station publicly and to boycott it before they reversed course and I was allowed to appear. Indeed, Mr. Agyarko’s claims are further undermined by the fact that in 2008, even the sitting President, President Kufuor felt he was being sidelined. As he pointedly wrote to tell me, “The decision not to contest Tein was made by the candidate without my input and knowledge.” Indeed, Boakye’s confirmation that Alan was not allowed to speak at Mantse Agbona is itself evidence that he was being sidelined. It was an unfortunate echo of the day in Cape Coast in 2008 when with Gladys Asmah and a few other stalwarts available,” Maame Dokono” was asked to speak with disastrous consequences for our campaign.
The claim that a lawyer of Alan’s ilk could have participated in the Supreme Court case does not bear scrutiny. If any lawyer like Alan could have been involved, why has the then Chairman of the NPP’s Constitutional Affairs’ Committee and former Attorney General Ayikoi Otoo, claimed repeatedly without contradiction that his efforts to be involved were repeatedly rebuffed by the Campaign? If Ayikoi Otoo could be barred, why would Alan have been let in?
Then there are Boakye’s claims about how Alan did not call from Addis Ababa and how he got into the Supreme Court on judgment day that have been discredited. As someone pointed out to me, even if Alan had called, it is doubtful whether the Campaign Manager who was noted for not taking calls even from senior campaign operatives could have been reached.
It is ironic that of all the issues raised by Alan, on funding for the party, on training and on inclusiveness, Boakye chose to focus his formidable intellect on trivialities. He could have taken Alan on--- on substantive issues like party funding and construction of party offices but he chose not to and that speaks volumes—about his mindset and that of those who managed the 2012 Campaign. Mr. Agyarko’s false and disturbing certainty bespeaks closed minds and suggests, ominously that he and his team have not learned any lessons from 2012 and that given the chance again, they will repeat their egregious mistakes and probably produce the same results.
It is sad that for short-sighted political advantage, even Alan’s international experience is being derided. After the 2007 primaries, did Nana not visit with many West African leaders to underline his international connections? Did we in the NPP not repeatedly criticize late President Mills for not travelling enough to secure foreign assistance when needed? Did we not tout Dr Bawumia’s work for external organizations as prove that he was and is seasoned? Did Boakye himself not repeatedly refer to his experience as an international banker? What changed? While it does not entitle him to be President or flag-bearer, Alan’s historic attempt for the WTO’s top job must be celebrated, not just by all NPP members but by every Ghanaian. As a Ghanaian patriot, I celebrated his contest and rooted for him. I was and am proud of him—just as I was ofCardinal Turkson’s consideration for the papacy; Nana Addo’s stellar tenure as Foreign Minister and even of Boakye’s admirable work at Bank of New York. Nkrumah was internationalist in outlook and so was Busia as well as Limann. Our nation will never be moved forward by “localists” with their heads buried in the proverbial sand.
Moving forward, I urge all those campaigning for various candidates to elevate their tone and to focus on substance. Let all those speaking for various candidates mind their language so that whoever is elected can count on the unflinching support of a united and focused NPP.
We should move on from trivia and focus on the big issues of how and why we lost in 2012, which changes in attitude, personnel and strategy will appeal to Ghanaians ; what and who can bring us victory in 2016 and the need to feel and give voice to the pain of the suffering Ghanaian masses.
Let us move forward together , in love and respect.
Arthur Kobina Kennedy