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Opinions of Saturday, 21 September 2013

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret

Infighting Within NPP Heats Up Unabated

By Margaret Jackson

There is something called political prudence and another called political calculation. Political watchers and analysts believe that politically smart people always take into consideration political prudence before making political calculations. Failure to be politically farsighted can easily lead you to make stupid and costly political miscalculations.

A few hours after the determination of the Supreme Court (SC) verdict which saw President John Mahama’s victory in the 2012 Presidential Election confirmed and legitimized by the nine-member panel that heard the case, the top NPP hierarchy starting with the defeated flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, made the miscalculated political move other than political farsightedness to square things out with their supporters.

Nana Akufo-Addo was the first to express his disagreement with the verdict by the Justices, but accepted it nonetheless, stating that he would not go for a review of the case and called President Mahama to congratulate him.

But it did not take long when daft Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie; NPP’s General Secretary came out and unleashed his misconstrued salvo. Owusu Afriyie stated that President Mahama and Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur may have been privy to the verdict before it was delivered by the SC.

Just read the childish talk by Owusu Afriyie who will go down as the most foulmouthed and unpolished politician of our time, “He knows best what went into all this. Indeed it amazes me that he and his vice president and all the people around him wore white even in the morning before the verdict came.”

Not long after, Joseph Ayikoi-Otoo, a former Attorney General under JA Kufuor’s regime and the man who saved Kwadwo Afriyie from jail time when he disparaged the SC, expressed his disappointment over the decision by Nana Akufo-Addo not to seek a review of the verdict. To Ayikoi Otoo, Nana Akufo-Addo threw in the towel too soon since he had a mathematical chance to mount a strong challenge on one of the rulings by the judges.

Enter Kwadwo Afriyie again! He came out strongly to state that the NPP will brush aside the towel thrown in by Nana Akufo-Addo and seek a review of the case since he was not the only petitioner in the case. Kwadwo Afriyie then started going from one Radio Station to another saying that Nana Akufo-Addo will contest the 2016 general elections as the flagbearer of the NPP.

Even before the dust could settle on Kwadwo Afriyie’s statement, NPP’s National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, also veered into the fray by stating that Nana Akufo-Addo is the best marketed candidate for the NPP in 2016. Therefore, maintaining him will be the best shot for the NPP. He also added his voice that the party was going to seek a review of the case.

The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Frederick F. Antoh, also from nowhere came out to declare his unflinching support for the candidacy of Nana Akufo-Addo to be the flagbearer of the party for 2016.

Perhaps Professor Dominic Fobih, former Education Minister in the Kufuor’s government put the icing on the cake when he boldly stated NPP may lose the 2016 elections if Nana Akufo-Addo does not lead the party.

These moves to impose Nana Akufo-Addo on the NPP for 2016 has not gone down well with some top brass of the NPP who have come out strongly to condemn Owusu Afriyie, Obetsebi Lamptey and others for daring to clamour in favour of Nana Akufo-Addo.

Kwesi Amakye, a Political Science Lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology was one of the first individuals to have clubbed Akufo-Addo by stating that as a twice defeated candidate he is a spent force as far as running for the presidency is concerned.

He even asserted that, “Nana Addo’s days are over. Nana Addo’s days are over.”

Then it was the turn of the suspended founding member of the NPP, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby who came out to state that he will push for the suspension of party leaders who have openly shown their biases over who leads the party in the 2016 elections. Wereko-Brobby added that the NPP’s constitution bars its executives from showing such biases.

Nana Akomea, NPP’s former Director of Communications, also went ballistic by stating that the party must first restructure its plans ahead of the 2016 polls, therefore the calls for who leads the party in the 2016 Presidential election is too premature. He added that, “If one comes out to boldly declare his or her support for Nana Addo, those who support Alan Kyeremanten will also start talking as well. This will not help the party (NPP).”

The ubiquitous Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin North, then released the bombshell that factionalism is gradually eating up the NPP like cancerous cells. He then lambasted the supporters of Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyeremanten for causing such divisions within the party.

Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Former Information Minister, also came out to question the credibility of NPP's national executives to lead the process in conducting a free and fair elections. He complained to the NPP’s national council of elders about the biases being exhibited by some national executives of the party especially on Owusu Afriyie’s open support for Nana Akufo-Addo to lead the party in 2016.

Asamoah Boateng boldly stated that the open support for Akufo-Addo may influence and intimidate others who have the intention of contesting for positions in the party.

The former Information Minister, also belittled the so-called “Thank You” Tour organised by the national leadership of the NPP to thank supporters of the party, saying that it is not the way to go after the party has spent eight months in court.

He stated that some national executives were hiding behind the supposed tour to campaign for themselves ahead of the party’s national elections.

Dr. Richard Anane, a former Minister of Health in the Kufuor government, also called for the resignation of Owusu Afriyie if he wants to do the bidding of any presidential hopeful of the party. He stressed that the endorsement of Nana Akufo-Addo, as the presidential candidate of the NPP for the 2016 elections by Owusu Afriyie clearly demonstrates that he cannot be a neutral arbiter.

A former National Chairman of the NPP, Harruna Esseku, was also not happy that some individuals in the party were pushing Akufo-Addo through the throats of members and stated that no one can be imposed on the party.

Since then it has become a free for all fight with heavy weights within the NPP aligning themselves to one faction against the other. Former President JA Kufuor is rumoured to be highly against the 2016 candidature of Nana Akufo-Addo and the re-election of Owusu Afriyie as General Secretary.

Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie who has never ceased to express his distaste for Nana Akomea was very happy when a golden opportunity presented itself with Akomea writing on his Facebook Wall that he has resigned as communications director of the party. Afriyie moved with a bullet speed and announced that Akomea has been replaced with Perry Okudzeto as acting communications director, even before people could debate in earnest on why Akomea resigned.

But Owusu Afriyie himself is under siege as some party stalwarts who see him as an albatross who does not bring much to the table except chaos and confusion, are prepping Kwabena Agyapong to wrestle the general secretary position from him.

Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, who has suddenly gone quiet, is also feeling the heat following the announcement by Paul Afoko that he will be vying for the National Chairmanship of the party. Afoko took a swipe at Jake that he is seeking the position because he wants to revitalize the party into an election winning machine no matter who becomes the party’s flagbearer for 2016.

But just as the NPP was receiving some respite, it has emerged that all committees formed to facilitate the 2012 electioneering campaign have been dissolved, further putting the party in unchartered waters.

The infighting and acrimony in the NPP has suddenly intensified and each day brings its own drama and unfolding trends. No one at this time can predict where the pieces will eventually settle as many people in the NPP are suddenly steaming with anger and are of the belief that Akufo-Addo and his team are hiding something from them.

The NPP is never going to be the same. The party leadership has always been able to sweep the mess in the party under the carpet for purposes of party unity. Not anymore! The party is yet to reach its boiling point and when we get to that stage, many top brass within the NPP will be torched and the survivors may not be able to resuscitate the party to contest and win the 2016 elections.

magjackson80@yahoo.com http://majjacks80.blogspot.com