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Opinions of Friday, 14 October 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Critique Of The NPP Campaign Team 2012

INTRODUCTION

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo unveiled his campaign team for election 2012 in June 2011. It comprises of 35 members invested with the party's confidence to help capture the Jubilee House next year.

It's been four months since the team's inauguration. Therefore it is appropriate and timely to render a First Quarter ( 16 months since inauguration divided by a quarter) critique and review - a grade. I do so only as a responsible NPPian and purely in the spirit of the UP Tradition - and not the Danquah-Busia-Dombo Tradition - and in the interest of the success of election 2012.

The campaign team, like the party or an organization, has what one might refer to as the machine, the bureaucracy, the mechanism with which the things that have been decided on, and are expected to be done, gets done. Then you have the decision makers, key players, "the NPP brains", the thought makers, - the people mainly hand picked for special knowledge, experience and expertise, -that is, the fuel that feeds the machine, the campaign and at the same time acts as the GPS.

Thus this piece will skip areas like logistics, deputy secretaries and vice chairmen, operations and organizers including the Party General Secretary and Chairman. Advisory boards such ex presidents and ex vice presidents, former presidential candidates and MPs, in the primary and general, would also not be our focus. They are the constants. In effect, this critique will concentrate on the areas that, in the final analysis, make or break a campaign-that is, the variables and what might be termed, the positions and organs that come into being because of a campaign and are dismantled after the campaign. A note of caution: this critique is not "scientific" nor even intellectually influenced. It is purely based on "generated news items." (Grades come first )

CRITIQUE

C - Campaign Manager, Boakye Agyarko: the grade is for the overall reflection of the campaign thus far. Apart from that, his ideas about the grid-like grassroots campaign are very exciting. But a plane full of NPPians with Nana to Germany and London was uncalled for and excessive. Do we really need to take aspirant MPs/Regional Chairmen on a two speech tour? The strategic value, "exposure"or sightseeing, escaped us.

C - Manifesto Directorate, Yaw Twumasi: The glimpse of the manifesto in Nana's Liberty lecture and the Hamburg speeches showed the team had been working on the blueprint for Ghana's future. However supplementary articles and rejoinders from the outfit -or through whomever - in the aftermath and even now, would have been perfect.

B - Campaign Strategy, Dan Botwe: The Listening Tour is fabulous. The Hamburg and Liberty Lectures speeches were innovative. The controversial date of the latter was a little uncomfortable though. The handling of the personal attacks on the flagbearer has been slightly over par. The "oral" campaign is very good. The print -writing - wars/campaigns are below standards. The web campaign needs improvement. Sustained attacks on the ruling government have not been encouraging. Media boycotts must be discouraged. The option must be taken off the table if possible. But so far so good. A - Conflict Resolution, Frema-Osei : The amicable settlement of the Okaikoi MP crisis and of other equally important internal wranglings deserves all the praise. Kudos to the "Ambrose Dery Committee. D - Research Directorate, Victor Newman : If I understand what it is meant by "Research" in this context, then they deserve the grade. The Communication team's complaints about the lack of relevant documents and knowledge could have been avoided if the information was forth coming. The Communication team's misplaced and inappropriate blame on ex ministers as the culprits would have been avoided also. D or C*- Legal Team, Gloria Akufo :Nana Bediatuo is always introduced as Nana's lawyer. He speaks for Nana as such; brought the US Ports Authority documents etc. But is Nana Bediatuo part of the Campaign legal team, or party legal team or Nana Addo's personal legal team? If he is part of the "Campaign legal team" then the legal team gets *C. If not, then we need to hear more from the outfit. Nana is an individual but he is also a party asset. Personal lawyers should not be dealing with campaign issues. C - Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta: Not sure whether Finance takes the blame for this but it has to do with money. Many communicators, although not officially recognized as part of the campaign team are frequently heard on radio/TV. They go on their own volition. But many are suffering financially under Atta Mills. The financial net must be widened to acknowledge them, now and then. But so far, it is quiet on this front as expected at this stage of the campaign. A - Election Affairs, Dr. Matthew Prempeh, (NAPO): He is on top of things. The faithful are being kept abreast of EC issues and meetings, IPAC etc.

B - Communications Team, Nana Akomea: Bravo! History has conspired with politics and have placed the current team in the most contentious and the most vicious and the most propagandist era in the Fourth Republic. Many curved balls have been thrown the team's way. It has been a time of the unexpected. The team have been on the defensive most of the time. Yet they have never yielded any grounds. Many taboos, for instance, have been broken in the team's- member-presence. But they have handled "thems" very well. In all, its success will depend on the collective "attitude" and "behavior"- coupled with some gravitational forces of some individuals- on the entity called the NPP. The whole writing department of the entire party, on the other hand, is lacking or not coordinated

F - Vice Presidential Candidate. The strategic delay is understandable. But the contrary is equally compelling. A ban is in place on the discussions of potential VPs. No talking until the VP Candidate is picked. But Politburo-like coronation is a thing of the past, except maybe in North Korea. Still, Party edicts must be obeyed.....not before I throw in my pick for VP though, Islamic Scholar and a Cape Coast University Lecturer, Mustapha Hamid.

And finally:

A - The Candidate Himself: The campaign team he has selected is beyond satisfactory. The enthusiasm he is generating on the Listening Tour is unmistakable. The pace of the campaign is healthy, the internal calm soothing. The two major policy speeches were revealing. He has been on the road since the beginning of the presidential primaries. Yet he has not lost a step. The "Force" is still strong with him. The first quarter of the campaign clearly shows that he is on the right path. And he is not stopping till he reaches the Jubilee House.

CONCLUSION

There is room for a lot of improvement thus the overall grade C+. Unsatisfactory aspects of the campaign at this stage are partially due to the inevitable kinks within a newly formed team. Mistakes can be over-looked in the 1st Quarter. Quarter two begins in the first month of the new year. By then a more accurate picture 'd have been drawn, the direction of the campaign would have become clearer and detailed materials 'd have produced.

In the interest of the UP Tradition- and not the Danquah-Busia-Dombo Tradition- another critique 'd be released in the 2nd quarter.

Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto