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Opinions of Friday, 27 August 2010

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Let’s get Ready for 2012…”Chasing the Elephant to the Bush”

….A review- Part 1


When the book was published…I hated the idea of…swore never to read it. But I’m glad I did read it. It is more or less a harmless book but very informative, educative and enjoyable. I hope you also find this detailed review as such. Dr Kennedy, I own you an apology.

*Chapter 1
Basic information so I will skip

*Chapter 2: "State of the Party"

-...For all the time they worked together, The Chairman & Gen. Sec. never had a good relationship.
-When the party won the elections, party executives stopped building the party - in the regions- and left for Accra.
-Many MP's did not have enough resources to campaign. Had to use own limited resources initially while waiting...
-All cabinet ministers were Against K4 taking the country to HIPC but they all realized the wisdom of the move after it was done.

*Chapter 3: Presidential & MP Primaries.

- Arthur K's background: Hail from the Central, born in the Volta, went to school in Ashanti & Accra, marriage ties to BA.
-Vetting meeting with President Kuffour: a tip bit

Kuffour to kwabena Agyapong : who did you vote for in '98 primaries?
K. Agyapong : Nana Addo
Kuffour: Still made you my press sec right?
K.Agyapong : yes
-When President K4 was reportedly asked why he wouldn't urge in limiting the number of presidential aspirants (17), he reportedly replied that he was not trusted as an honest broker.
-Party elder Appiah Menka wanted five shortlisted candidates then.
-"To my shock and bewilderment, I got one vote" -
TIT BIT from this Chapter
-Our car accidentally caught fire on a campaign trail from Karaga to Guieshegu in Northern region. Some bystanders helped us to extinguish it.
-"For some strange reasons ", in some places, qualified MP candidates were disqualified and disqualified Candidates were qualified to pave way.....
-though number of them won, they still cost us crucial support.....
*Chapter 4 & 5 : Assembling and building the Campaign team.
Subtitle of Chapter 4:“They were a collection of stars and not a team" -anonymous-

-"It did not really matter what your title was (in the campaign team sic). What mattered was one's access to the candidate & support of those making spending decisions.
-Tensions b/n campaign team and Party executives. Party executives, although "part" of the campaign team but not" managers" of..... Felt campaign team was trying to "reinvent the wheel".
The unhappiest of the party executive (part of the team but not managers) were women organizer, Asobayire and Lord Commey with Dan Botwe. At most meetings these executives thought most basic things were not being done.
-Tensions b/n campaign team and gov.t as well. Ministers thought they had good info but were ignored by campaign team.
-Arthur K's committee,/Campaign team:
The easiest member to work with was Madam Sai-coffie. Asabee worked very hard since he had to campaign for his MP's seat as well. He worked even harder for Nana, during the 2nd round, even after he lost his seat in the 1st round.
-Outside the campaign team and from the gov.t, Chief of staff Mpiani worked the hardest plus the late Wiredu.
-One person who fore- saw the need to enhancing team work in the campaign was Jake.
-Sometimes, people were excluded from meetings without explanations
-Many in campaign team thought that they had to be where-ever the candidate was to be, regardless of their own responsibilities.
Section – SPENDING COMMITTEE.

-No one was sure where and when the spending committee met.
-Spending committee referred to us " the Data bank group: K.Gadzepo, Ken & Nana Offori -Atta & others.
-Some committees and programs lacked funding. Some committees functioned well because of access to the spending committee
-Spending committee made its own decisions as to what to fund and what not to....to the bewilderment of many.
-Spending committee had own method of determining what was and what was not important to warrant funding.
Section- UNDERUSED TALENT

-The President, Jake, Chief of staff- Mpaini, D. Botwe were all underused.
-One person who should have been used more was the President, K4
-Regional committees were also underused.
-In Ashanti, a month to elections, only 4 out of 39 constituencies had campaign plans.
-Lawyer Owusu Afriyie aka Sir John worked very hard in Ashanti region. With a little help he would have done wonders in the region.
Tip bits:
-Lord Commey suggested the "Kangaroo dance".

- Arthur K worked well with Kwadaso MP- Dr. Owusu .A. Akoto, Gabby, Jake among others.

.Section: NANA ADDO

-A good leader always takes all responsibility for the failings of his team. Nana Addo did just that in Post election campaign committee meeting. That is good leadership.
("Thumps up, Nana"- from Moi.)
Some advisers did not serve him well.
-Towards the end, the feeling one got was that Nana had not been asked to authorize most of the decisions he was reported to have authorized.

-A familiar refrain:" Nana asked me to do it"
-Many of such situations were created by loyal associates, eager to display their influence..
-One strength of Nana is that he does not hold grudge.
-Another admirable trait Nana has is that he is very considerate.
Section: KYEBI MAFIA

-"An account of this campaign will be incomplete without any discussion of the so-called “Kyebi Mafia".
-Some of them were not from Kyebi.
-"Otchere Darko for instance, was one of the hardest-working... gifted... sometimes very difficult to get along with...... offended people with casual abandon... seemed to rub many people the wrong way. On the other hand, he was very loyal ...to people and to his staff ."
-"I have no doubt that the family has the best intentions in whatever they do. However, sometimes, in their eagerness to serve Nana’s interest, they ruffle feathers, sometimes very badly and gratuitously."
-"Sometimes, in the case of some of them, their eagerness is not always matched by tact and skill. ........with careless talk,
-.......must find a balance where their undoubted strengths can serve Nana Akufo-Addo without alienating people unnecessarily."
-"If they really care about him, as much as I presume they do, they would adjust their behavior accordingly,...."
-"To get to the Presidency, Nana must reach significantly beyond his family."
*Chapter 6 : Choosing the running mate.

-...Nana's 1st choice was Hajia Alima Mahama.
-Traditional rulers, many from the north, started reaching out to party leaders to help change the candidate’s mind. Main argument was that she was unmarried.

-Da rocha- we will choose a new candidate if the candidate picks her.
-A poor girl who had become a lawyer and a single woman raising a child would inspire other women. " Unfortunately, many and probably a majority of those opposed to her were women."
-Dr. Bawumia surprised that he was picked, admitting he was not even a party member although a sympathizer.
-After He was picked, He was surrounded with mostly inexperienced staff considering his inexperience…
*Chapter 7: Manifesto
Section: NDC Propaganda (I prefer P-ndc)

-The NDC (P-ndc) had a full time propaganda sec.- Fifi Kwetey- and we had let go of our communications director in 2005, failing to appoint one for the campaign strategy.
-The NDC Press Conferences, called “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT” had nothing to do with truth. It should have been called “PEDDLING LIES”
-But the budget requested to fund a campaign to effectively combat these lies where denied by the spending committee (Databank group)
-We did some very good work with the help of Sammy Crabbe/ Accra, Sir John of Ashanti, Adu Gyan B/A, K. Duncan of Central and C. Braimah of Northern Region, among others.

-"Other speakers were not so disciplined and we could never agree on designated spokespersons for various topics."
*Chapter 8: Strategy.

Reviewer's note (moi)
...I will skip this Chapter. Many points might be used again.
A lot of eyes are watching. I won't help them in this department.
However if you (they) are interested, get the book yourself.
(-I will say one thing however, that the pollster Larry Gibson is a mess. Everything he talked about or discerned could have been "discerned" by any Ghanaian, even our brothers and sisters who did not complete pre-school. This is my personal opinion and not from the book or from Arthur K)
(-When the author himself writes that after many people had promised him votes but got only 1 vote in the presidential primaries, it is rather interesting that they would spent time listening to a pollster. Once again my personal opinion and not that of the book or of the author.)

-TIT BITS from this chapter
-Nana Akufo-Addo kept a punishing schedule. It was not unusual to have him finish a day at one a.m. and start the next day at six a.m. with meetings.
-Madam Oboshie Sai, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Prof Frimpong Boateng, Kwamena Duncan, Nana Akomeah, Papa Owusu Ankomah and Andy Awuni etc ,what do they share in commomn? They are all soft spoken.

-Arthur K prefers them in many of studio/radio interviews and in other situations as against "pound the table" people.

Section - NDC (I prefer P-ndc) STRATEGY
...
"-..... The NDC decided to do was to also undermine the confidence and the credibility of the Electoral Commission."
-Indeed, the European Union Election Observation Mission to Ghana stated in its report that

“As part of its tendency to ACCUSE ALL STATE INSTITUTIONS OF OVERT BIAS, the NDC CONSTANTLY CRITICIZED the ELECTORAL COMMISSION for lack of impartiality WITHOUT any SUBSTANTIAL grounds for many of its allegations.”
End of Part 1
Akwasi. A. Afrifa Akoto.