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Opinions of Thursday, 23 January 2014

Columnist: Ata, Kofi

Has Akufo-Addo let the cat out of the bag?

Yesterday it was reported that Nana Akufo-Addo has deferred his return to Ghana from London from January 27 to March 1, 2014 (see, “Akufo-Addo defers his return to Ghana to March). I had no intention of writing an article on this report as I posted a comment disputing the reason/s offered by Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko on his Facebook page as per the report. However, after reading comments by those who disagreed with my views, especially those who abused me for holding a contrary view, I decided to do further analysis of the report, particularly the reasons offered by Gabby.

"I've heard a lot of moves to welcome Nana Addo's return on January 27th, two days after the regional elections of the NPP. Encouraging but, really, considering he has been able to keep himself out of all the internal jostling for positions and the big one is due March 1, is there not a case for him to continue same way and stay put to return after March 1st? Fostering unity is key, let him maintain his distance to the end, if you ask me. An extra six weeks away may do more good and no harm."

The above quote were the reasons given by Gabby as to why Nana Akufo-Addo has postponed his arrival in Ghana and below was the comment I posted on the news item on Ghanaweb.

“I find Gabby's Facebook posting very interesting. This is a carefully planned strategy to deceive the public into believing that Nana Akufo-Addo has nothing to do with the ongoing NPP internal conflict at home because he is out of Ghana. Not even a 5-year old child will buy such deception. With today's IT, one can even manipulate what happens on Mars from Earth. Nana Akufo-Addo should not throw dust into the eyes of the public by thinking that his absence from Ghana means he has no hand in what is happening within the NPP at home. This type of lies is an insult and it also betrays the intelligence of those who are behind it or advise Nana Akufo-Addo on such decisions.

This actually tells me that Nana Akufo-Addo and his surrogates are actively manipulating the elections from within and from outside Ghana. Gabby's post, if true, is just to create the impression that the party elections are free, fair and devoid of any influence by Nana Akufo-Addo. This is nothing but Kwaku Ananse story and only NPP supporters will buy that. Continue fooling yourselves and blame others when the party tastes another electoral defeat in December 2016, if you do not end such infantile tricks”.

For those of you who asked me to prove that Nana Akufo-Addo is manipulating the NPP internal conflict, my answer is that, I do not work for the US or UK security or intelligence agency, so I have no access to tracking devices or telephone interception devices. However, I have a mind that is inquisitive and analytical enough to question and analyse issues and that is what I intend to do as my answer to you.

Without going into the geopolitics of West Africa and for that matter Ghana, anyone who critically follows politics should be aware that, it’s a game full of intrigues, back-biting, stabbing, manipulation, jostling for positions, power dynamics, collusion, alliances, cliques etc. These are done with only one main objective and that is, to attain political power and control. Anyone who thinks and believes that Nana Akufo Addo has been sitting in London with his arms folded since he left Ghana on September 15, 2013 and not in regular contact with his inner circle and loyalists regarding the future of his political career must be mistaken. If this is the case, then, Nana Akufo is either not interested in contesting for the NPP flagbearership or not a serious politician if he intends to contest.

Again, it is impossible and unbelievable for leading members of the party, especially the national and regional Executive members to come out openly to pledge their support to a third Nana Akufo-Addo attempt without first speaking to or consulting him. In fact, I believe that Sir John and Jake (the Party General Secretary and Chairman respectively) had spoken to Nana Akufo-Addo before they came out publicly to pledge their support to him soon after the Supreme Court ruling. I will not be mistaken to say that, probably, that was agreed days or even weeks in advance before the Supreme Court ruling. The inner circle of Nana Akufo Addo might have had a plan B, that was, what should happen if the Supreme Court decision were not in his favour.

I can say without doubt that whilst Nana Akufo-Addo has been away in the UK and travelled to the other European countries and the US, he has been in constant touch with at least, Sir John and Jake who are making the rules for the party elections. Indeed, the two discuss their plans and ideas with him before they put them before the rest of the National Executive.

The liaison between the General Secretary and the Chairman on one hand and Nana Akufo-Addo on the other would have been difficult to hide had Nana Akufo-Addo stayed put in Ghana; because to avoid their telephone conversations being intercepted in Ghana or even someone eavesdropping on them, they would have discussed some of these ideas and plans in person with him in person. Such an arrangement would have deepened the internal conflict within the party because eyes would have seen them together and probably resulted in a civil war. Again, Nana Akufo-Addo would have been blamed personally for putting self above party. Such accusation would have caused irreparable damage to his chances of a third attempt.

I am also of the view that, in some cases, Nana Akufo-Addo and his close advisers are those suggesting policies and strategies to Sir John and Jake from outside. Some of these close advisers and leading members of the party who support Nana Akufo-Addo have travelled to meet him in the UK, Europe or the USA just to avoid being seen, which would have been difficult had Nana Akufo-Addo been in Ghana.

For example, the decision to hold the National Congress at regional level instead of one National Delegate Conference is purely to make it far easy to manipulate the election of the flagbearer (see, “Monstrous laws could cripple NPP).

Though the objective is to reduce cost, I can say that organising ten regional delegate conferences could end up being more expensive than one big national delegates conference. Ten venues would be hired, the national executives may have to attend all the ten regions, and electoral officials from the Electoral Commissions will have to travel to all the ten regions and that definitely will be more expensive than one national event. The excuse given for the new system is totally unacceptable though I appreciate that the last one was a challenge. The difficulties encountered at the last one were purely administrative lapses from disorganisation and incompetency.

There is no doubt that Nana Akufo-Addo needed a rest after two years of campaign across the length and breadth of the country and after eight months of tension filled Supreme Court hearing. However, his continued absence from Ghana has outlived its usefulness and can only be explained as a ploy to manipulate events back home without been caught red handed.

No serious politician of Nana Akufo-Addo’s calibre will stay away from home, when he is seriously considering contesting for the flagbearship of his party to become the president of the country, unless he has control over events within the party directly and indirectly. That is why Nana Akufo-Addo has been doing since he left the shores of Ghana.

His continued absence is a decoy to avoid being accused of causing the internal conflict through his modus operandi. Nana Akufo Addo would not have spent a day longer away from Ghana if he is unable to control events in Accra within the NPP. He is remotely controlling and making decisions from outside Ghana, and pretending his absence will inure to the benefit of NPP. That is a big deception and those who will buy it can pay a premium for it, but for me I will not offer even a farthing for it.

I rest my case.

Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK