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Opinions of Sunday, 31 May 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Kofi Annan To The Rescue, Maybe?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
May 28, 2015

In the roiling wake of the acid-dousing assassination of Mr. Adams Mahama, Mr. Sam Okudzeto called for former President John Agyekum-Kufuor to intervene in order to halt factional hostilities raging in Ghana's main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) - (See "Kufuor Must Intervene To Save NPP - Sam Okudzeto" 5/27/15).

Well, I would rather have Mr. Sam Okudzeto and Mr. Akenten Appiah-Menkah step to the fore and attempt to resolve matters. And my reason is because these two gentlemen are unarguably among the most respected elderly statesmen of both the New Patriotic Party and the nation at large. Besides, in the recent past, former President John Agyekum-Kufuor has not shown any remarkable eagerness to solving the problem which many party insiders believe him to have mischievously masterminded. We also know that the current infighting, as also occurred in the past, is centered around Akufo-Addo and Kyerematen partisans. And the Kyerematen partisans have their ideological mentorship origins in the presidential ambitions of the former Popular-Front Party (PFP) legislator from Atwima-Nwabiagya.

But even more importantly, as a lame-duck president and one who was very much in charge of party and national affairs in 2008, President Kufuor did a diddly little to prevent his favorite political steed from tactically breaking away from the party, with barely four months to Election 2008. That burden fell almost totally on the shoulders of the immortalized Mr. Joe daRocha. The pioneering dean of the University of Ghana's Law School would shortly conclude that short of his own personal political ambitions, Mr. Kyerematen had very little respect, if any at all, for both his colleagues and the collective interests of the New Patriotic Party. He would counsel party stalwarts to let Mr. Kyerematen go his own way.

It is also hardly a secret that the suspected masterminds behind the brutal assassination of Mr. Adams Mahama, a passionate Akufo-Addo partisan, are publicly sworn Kufuor-Kyerematen partisans. In other words, one cannot expect the former president to fairly and objectively referee his own game. The present problem began when some unprincipled party stalwarts decided to allow the NPP-wrecking Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen to return into not only a general membership of the New Patriotic Party, but also to facilely and cavalierly flout standing party rules by almost immediately filing to contest the 2012 presidential nomination of the party. And having been resoundingly trounced for the second time, as was to be expected, by the man for whom Mr. Kyerematen is widely known to reserve an inveterate animosity, the Kyerematen-Kufuor faction resorted to the next most effective tactic for frustrating Nana Akufo-Addo's third consecutive shot at the presidency.

And that tactic, of course, involved the "democratic" seizure of the administrative machinery of the New Patriotic Party. It is very unapologetically clear that the Kufuor-Kyerematen faction feels divinely preordained to perpetually hog the party's presidential ticket. Matters have not been helped by Nana Akufo-Addo's decision to select Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as his running-mate for the third-consecutive time. The former Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ghana is easily the best leader, at the moment, to succeed Nana Akufo-Addo, just as then-President John Agyekum-Kufuor envisaged then-Candidate John Evans Atta-Mills to be the best leader to succeed him at the close of his 8-year tenure. Otherwise, why did Mr. Kufuor flatly refuse to endorse his two-term Vice-Presidential Candidate and substantive Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, thereby throwing the NPP's 2008 presidential race into a free-for-all affair?

And just why did the maiden national-merit honors list published by Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, President Kufuor's Chief-of-Staff, include the names of Messrs. Rawlings (who had, by the way, rejected the award beforehand), Atta-Mills, John Dramani Mahama and Kojo Tsikata, all stalwarts of the then-opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), but not the 2008 New Patriotic Party Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo? Already, some Kufuor-Kyerematen partisans are calling for the former president to form a new party. The critically thinking reader can readily fathom the unmistakable implications behind such call.

One also needs to only casually peruse Mr. Kufuor's rather badly written and edited biography, Between Faith And History, to extensively learn about what Mr. Victor Owusu's pet student has to say about the 1979 political infighting that led to the splitting of the so-called Popular-Front Party from the William "Paa Willie" Ofori-Atta-led but R. R. Amponsah- and A. A. Afrifa-sponsored United National Convention (UNC). If you really think that my good, old Uncle Kofi Diawuo is a savvy party unifier, you would be in for the greatest shock and trauma of your life. Americans call the preceding "a rude awakening."

Ultimately, if the key players of the New Patriotic Party really mean it when they say that the party needs to promptly get its act together, in order to have a fighting chance come Election 2016, then I say hedge your bet on having Mr. Kofi Annan facilitate such a critical process. With former President Kufuor, I have little hope, if any at all.