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Opinions of Thursday, 24 April 2014

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

My Message to the NPP Delegates

Fellow Delegates,

Permit me to share with you the stance I've taken in my political career with the
view to getting my beloved political party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) into power
in 2016. As you all know, this journey started right after the NPP lost power in
Election 2008. I, together with many patriots, have never taken a rest since then,
and it would be even difficult for me to quantify in monetary terms, the resources I
have wasted on the party. I lost my job in the United Kingdom (UK) after
participating in Election 2012, but that could not shake my loyalty to the NPP. I
did all these with one common goal, to get the NPP under Nana Addo Danquah Addo into
power.

However, for two successive elections, this goal has not been materialised.
Personally, I've taken the trouble to find out why the Ghanaian voter population
keep rejecting the most marketed, popular, visionary, and one of the finest
politicians of our time, Nana Akufo-Addo during national elections. I was actively
involved in the NPP's internal elections, especially the polling station,
constituency, and regional elections. I have monitored the campaigns and the results
of the recently-held national executive elections in Tamale. I have also interacted
with a wide range of people within and outside the NPP, including what is referred
to in political circles as 'floating voters'.

And, if I should stand here and say that Nana Akufo-Addo is not popular, then I'll
be deceiving myself. Admittedly, Nana Addo is popular, but realistically, his
popularity is limited to the NPP delegates. This is as a result of the manipulation
of the NPP Electoral College by the Jake-led NPP leadership. A couple of months ago,
I did an article on the NPP Electoral College and described it as a "democratically
undemocratic". The cancellation of 16 constituency and other polling station results
was a clear vindication of what I wrote. Thus, Nana Addo's popularity among the NPP
delegates is something not surprising to me.

It is however, interesting to note that Nana Akufo-Addo's popularity started when I
was in the kindergarten. How has Nana's popularity benefitted the NPP as a party?
Has Nana's popularity translated into electoral victories for the NPP? If the answer
to the above two questions is a big NO, then it is imperative for us as delegates
and party members to change our perception about Nana Addo and map up better
strategies to capture political power. We need to move from traditional to
transitional; emotional to rational; and selfishness to selflessness. We need to
understand that elections are not won on righteousness and popularity, especially in
Africa.

Since the inception of the 4th Republic, our electoral contests have always centred
on personalities and not programmes of political parties, else the free maternal
care and NHIS alone could have kept the NPP in power. For example, Rawlings's
charisma was enough to beat both Prof. Adu Boahen and Kufuor in Election 1992 and
Election 1996 respectively. Also, Kufuor's physique, coupled with his composure and
temperament accounted to a very large extent, for his victories against Prof. Atta
Mills in Elections 2000 and 2004. On the other hand, Prof. Mills's humility,
composure, and symbolism as a man of peace matched him straight to the Castle at the
expense of Nana Akufo-Addo in 2008. In Election 2012, when the odds were in favour
of Nana Addo as a result of Mills's untimely death, and 'Woyomism', John Mahama came
from nowhere to beat Nana Addo by more than 300, 000 votes. How many of you could
therefore say that, Mahama's victory in the last elections was due to the NDC's
performance in government?

Folks, this is the more reasons why I expect all patriots to think outside the box.
It is a fact that Nana Addo's popular votes keep dwindling in all elections; the NPP
has lost grip of all the Akan Regions; and it seems the party has been hijacked by a
section of people creating unnecessary tension within the party. We therefore do not
need a rocket scientist to tell us that Nana Akufo-Addo does not suit the taste and
preference of the Ghanaian voter population. How could a 72 year-old Nana Addo
overturn an incumbent president, John Mahama's over 300,000 votes? This is not as
easy as we could all imagine.

Brethren, as we match to Election 2016, the preoccupation of the NPP is to win
political power. Anything else is secondary, for no good politician can develop
Ghana from the opposition's bench. It is thus the responsibility of all NPP members
to look beyond the confines of the party and get suitable candidate who can win
extra votes outside the NPP's boundary. A candidate whose attributes could match
those of President Mahama. Such attributes include humility, affability, physique,
composure, giant and gentility, temperament, beauty, and youthful exuberance.
Somebody who bears the name John and appeals to the masses. I know somebody would
mount a challenge to these attributes, but these are the taste and preferences of
the Ghanaian voter and not Katakyie. Any layman agrees that the first principle of
any good political strategy is to examine the voters' choices and preferences, and
to tailor the party's activities to suit them. In our villages, the illiterate woman
who sells "maasa" with her porridge and realises that her customers don't patronise
the "maasa" would quickly replace them with "koose". If these "illiterates"
understand this basic marketing principle, why are our intellectuals in the NPP
fumbling?

Personally, I think a lot of people in the NPP have what it takes to beat John
Mahama and his NDC. But, one man who stands tall among the rest is no other person
than Hon. John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen. Seriously, Alan is cast in the mode of former
president Kufuor. He is gentle and giant. He has the charisma, and his good looks
attract even non-NPP members. He speaks gently and his humility is unquestionable.
His mother is from the Central Region and father from the Ashanti Region. If such an
asset is found in the NPP, why can't we take advantage of that and win power first?
As Dr. Kwame Nkrumah once said; "See ye first political power, and all other things
shall be added unto you".

Fellow delegates and NPP members, you all know how principled I am and how loyal I
have been to the NPP and Nana Addo. But, the time is ripe for us to do a
dispassionate analysis on issues. Honestly, Nana Addo's age will not help the NPP,
as our "illiterate voter population" would still be swayed by the NDC's propaganda
machinery. We'll have to use so much energy and time to defend and explain to the
Ghanaian voter why old age does not matter in elections. This will be at the expense
of selling our campaign message. Indeed, Nana Addo could be a potential good
president, but not all potential good presidents were able to become presidents due
to nature. For instance, Dr. J.B. Danquah, Prof. Adu Boahen, John Kerry, Hilary
Clinton, Chief Abiola etc missed the opportunities, but life went on as usual. I
expect Nana Addo to take a rest from active politics and throw his weight behind Dr.
Bawumia and Alan, if indeed he has the NPP at heart. If Alan Cash is given the nod
as the flagbearer, and either Dr. Bawumia or somebody else is chosen from the
Brong-Ahafo Region, and we police the ballot well, I don't see why NPP cannot
wrestle power from the NDC in 2016. The changes that occurred in the NPP Regional
and National Executive Elections have served as an eye opener to all of us. Let's do
one more change in the Flagbearership, and I can assure you that Election 2016 would
be ours.

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri
(Free SHS Ambassador)
Official blog: www.katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk
0202471070 : 0264931361