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Opinions of Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Columnist: Wilmot, Eric Magnus

Boakye Agyarko Misfires Again

This is a rejoinder to Arthur Kobina Kennedy’s article entitled, “Boakye Agyarko misfires again”. Permit me at various points to use Arthur K. instead of the entire name, Arthur Kobina Kennedy. Without playing with too much words, let me state emphatically that Mr. Boakye Agyarko has not in any way misfired. He rather needs to be commended and those who find it difficult to do so should not try behind extraneous issues to try to bring this hard working campaign manager down.
In Arthur Kennedy’s rebuttal of Boakye Agyarko he wrote, among other things, that “Boakye’s claim that Alan could have played whatever role he wanted to play is false and he knows it”. It is unfortunate to argue that if that was the case, Alan should have been told that in the February, 2011 meeting instead of the agreement to continue discussions about his role. A politician of Arthur Kennedy’s stature must know that in politics rush decisions are never made. Nana’s campaign team must be given a pat at their shoulders by beginning from the point of wanting to hear from Allan about the role he could play. Holding brief for Allan in this case does not work because if he said he would return some time later and he never showed up or call them then how could anybody blame them for Allan not showing up?
Yes, to use your own words, “Boakye himself stated a few weeks ago that the only people given the liberty to go wherever they pleased were Nana, Bawumia, President Kufuor and late Aliu”. Why can’t my senior man reason that they were the only people who indicated the willingness to do so? In fact if Allan has so indicated, I bet that he could also have been given a free role to play. After all, did Nana’s campaign team not have the desire to win the election? Please, anybody is free to defend Allan but no one should attempt to throw dust into our eyes.
I cannot argue with Arthur Kennedy about his experience with whatever radio station he encountered that initially indicated that he did not represent the NPP. However, I find it difficult to accept the logic in his extrapolation that it was the Akuffo-Addo campaign they were talking about. Mr. Boakye Agyarko was never a national executive member of the party; in fact he wrote in very clear language that he was the Campaign Manager. It will therefore be fair if the campaign team and the hierarchy of the party are not confused for one another. In other words, in my opinion, perceived or purported decisions by the party should not be taken as those of the campaign team for who Mr. Agyarko was chair. Being sidelined by the party is different from being sidelined by the campaign team, Arthur K. In addition, as Arthur Kennedy said, “it took a nasty confrontation and a threat by me [Arthur K] to denounce the station publicly and to boycott it before they reversed course and I was allowed to appear”. I was hoping to read that your threat came against Nana’s campaign team and that it was enough for them to backtrack. What you wrote only meant that it was the station itself that did not initially want Arthur Kennedy on their network.
Also, Mr. Boakye Agyarko was reacting to a claim by Allan’s team over the events leading to the 2012 election. Yet Arthur Kennedy chooses to cite issues that took place during the 2008 campaign and election to support his claim that Mr. Agyarko’s claims cannot be believed. I think for all intends and purposes, Arthur Kennedy is not being fair to Mr. Agyarko. If the happenings in 2008 is a good lens with which one can understand what took place in 2012, then why was the same President Kufuor whose input in the decision not to contest Tein (i.e., who was sidelined, as it were) be cited as one of the people given the liberty to go wherever they pleased in 2012? In other words, if we are going to invoke a little bit of history to make our argument sound, it will serve us better if we do not pick and choose. Again, rather than think of Mr. Agyarko as having misfired, I would want to applaud him for not repeating supposed mistakes of 2008. I reserve my comments on the decision not to contest Tein for now until the need arises.
Once more, I do not understand Arthur Kennedy’s logic that “Boakye’s confirmation that Alan was not allowed to speak at Mantse Agbona is itself evidence that he was being sidelined and that 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”. I see mischief in Arthur Kennedy’s writing here. If there is a disastrous precedence of someone not on the schedule being allowed to speak at similar events then why is Arthur Kennedy blaming Mr. Agyarko for not repeating a similar mistake. Let’s be real on some of these issues.

Arthur K. has the right to doubt whether if Alan had called before entering the court on the day of verdict his call would have been picked. Arthur K should please inform the person who pointed out to him that, even if Alan had called, it is doubtful whether the Campaign Manager could have been reached that for most of us who needed to contact him the Campaign Manager was within reach and when he was unavailable he returned to text messages that we left. So, those senior campaign operatives who claim the Campaign Manager was noted for not taking calls from them could have done better by either calling at appropriate times or sending text messages, where necessary. Please don’t ask me what time was appropriate because if indeed they were senior campaign operatives they would have known the best times to call.

Arthur K further questions why, of all the issues raised by Alan on funding for the party, Boakye chose to focus on Alan’s claims on funding the 2012 campaign. What does Arthur K. expect? Mr. Agayarko was Nana’s 2012 campaign manager for God’s sake and could therefore talk about the issues concerning funding of the campaign that per his records were being falsely claimed by Alan. I think that is fair enough. The man is not a National Executive to be able to talk about how Alan may or may not have funded the party in other capacities. For Arthur K. to shift the argument to the other areas of funding that the campaign manager was not the right person to speak to is unfortunate. The picture is becoming clearer to me that Arthur K. himself is someone who does not support Nana’s candidature. He is free to support any candidate of his choice but to refuse to give Mr. Agyarko and his team ominously that he and his team the credit that have learnt any lessons from 2012 and that given the chance again, they will repeat their egregious mistakes and probably produce the same results is hitting below the belt. As I have argued earlier, this is the team that on two occasions showed the will not to repeat supposed mistakes of 2008 (see the role they gave to Former President Kufuor and their ability to avert the Maame Dokono controversy).

I agree with Arthur K. that moving forward, we need to elevate our tone and focus on substance and not trivialities. In addition, I will also call on those contesting this high office of our party to be quick to call their supporters to order when they get involved in the distasteful negative comments about other candidates. They should also be quick to dissociate themselves from groups and individuals that use their names and stand on various platforms to speak ill of Nana. This type of nonsense must stop and I am surprised Arthur K. is not adding his voice in this direction.
Though I agree on the need to raise issues about who can bring us victory in 2016 and ways of improving the lot of the suffering masses, I disagree with Arthur K. that moving forward one of the things we should focus on is why we lost in 2012. In fact, if we believed that we lost 2012, we wouldn’t have resorted to the Supreme Court. As for 2012, what we need to move away from are the ways in which the election was manipulated against us. And in this respect, I applaud the move by party stalwarts like Nana Bediatuo.

Dr. Eric Magnus Wilmot