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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Columnist: Amankwah, Kwabena

NPP Wahala, Not Akyem Vrs Asante War.

R. Harruna Attah has over the years remained a powerful source of inspiration and a role model to me in the world of journalism. We have never met before, anyway. It was actually in the days when he was in charge of The Statesman as the Editor that I got baptized into the fold of writers.

Yes, I felt on top of the whole world when my first article, “THEY ARE SYCOPHANTS” found space in his Statesman during the repressive regime of former President Rawlings, when many people had been cowed into silence and inaction.

His analytical style of writing, his sheer bravado, and fortitude to endure the unjustifiable persecution he suffered in the dark days was among the factors that inspired me to write to expose some of the ills visited on the good people of Ghana by the Rawlings regime.

Who say it was easy for me at that tender age; especially when agents of the regime at my holy village had threatened I would be grabbed like a foul. I had almost become a “nuisance” to my parents who certainly “feared” for my safety. But the inspiration from people like Harruna Attah encouraged me to defy the pleas of my parents. That is what one can call POSITIVE DEFIANCE.

That is why I have always been eager to read every write-up of my man. I still vividly recollect his “WOMEN’S HANDBAG” editorial written some 15 years ago in The Statesman. That was why I could not allow his “NPP IN SEARCH OF AN IDENTITY, AKYEMS VRS ASANTES, REALITY, MYTH OR MISCHIEF?” article in the Friday, February 12, 2010 issue of The Mail to escape my reading lenses.

In that piece, Mr Harruna raised some issues who sought to create some erroneous impressions, and I think I owe the good people of Ghana, especially members of the NPP fraternity, a religious duty to correct them. Yes, Chief Apostle cannot sit down and allow his people to be led on the path of unrighteousness (regards to Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, my second political mentor).

“As the party [NPP] prepares for congress to elect national officers at the end of the month, it’s become an open secret that the contest may just end up as one between the Akyems lining behind their Nana Akufo-Addo and the Asantes lining behind their Alan Kyerematen.” This was a thought expressed by my man, Harruna Attah.

Sir, with due respect, you are wrong. The facts on the grounds do not support your claim. The fact of the matter is that the contest is between those NPP activists who want to listen to the voices of the masses and do what they want, to ensure the party’ s return to power in 2012 , and those who want to do otherwise.

I want to remind you, if you are not aware, that Nana Akufo-Addo currently enjoys the greatest support in the Ashanti Region compared with the rest of the regions, even his own home region. This is because the masses in the party’s stronghold have realized the harm they did the party and the nation when they failed to come out in their huge numbers to vote for NPP’s victory in the 2008 elections.

Critical scrutiny of the elections that have been held at the various levels of the party in the Ashanti Region lends support to the fact that Nana Akufo-Addo is now the “golden boy” of the masses in the NPP’s World Bank, if the contests are indeed about him and Alan.

Why did the delegates to the Region’s congress vote the way they did? What lessons are there in respect of the disposition of the constituency executives who voted massively for F F Antoh and his team? And why do you think the polling station executives also elected the constituency executives who delivered that blow to Yaw Amankwah and co? Remember the congress took place after Yaw Amankwah had gone on air to lambaste (either justifiably or otherwise) Nana Addo over an action others had also been carrying out.

So you see? The contest for the soul and heart of the NPP is not between Akyems lining behind their Nana Addo and Asantes lining behind their Alan. If it were, Yaw Amankwah and his team would not be handed that blow by the delegates who surely want to see the selection of the peoples’ choice as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2012 elections.

Mr Harruna Attah is right to write that the Akyems voted massively for Mr John Agyekum Kufuor who is an Asante in the 2000 elections and that the “spirit of ‘Party First’ persisted for the next elections [2004] until 2008…”

But I also insist that they did that great honour to Mr Kufour because of how Nana Akufo-Addo sincerely led the party’s campaign, even though he had lost that famous Sunyani contest to Mr Kufuor. Was Nana treated the same way in 2008? Did he “resign” when his people were ill-treated? Certainly NO! That is the difference.

What is refreshing is that the SPIRIT OF PARTY FIRST, that was killed and buried before 2008, has resurrected in the Ashanti Region. And that is why the people have indicated their strong resolve to support the people’s choice to ascend the nation’s presidency in 2012. It is clear they are not prepared to allow themselves to be led on the path of unrighteousness again by those who crucified the spirit of party first on the altar of parochialism.

Hear Harruna Attah again: “It is believed that the unimpressive turnout during the 2008 elections in the Ashanti Region, the NPP’s stronghold was because of their preference for an Asante man as presidential candidate and not Nana Akufo-Addo who is as Akyem.” What an analysis! And how wrong the belief is!!

Sir, are you not aware of the plain fact that the Eastern Region, and even Kyebi, also recorded unimpressive turnout during the 2008 elections? Could that also mean the people there also preferred an Asante presidential candidate and not Nana Akufo-Addo? Sir, please, come again.

The simple truth is that we lost the 2008 match to the NDC not because our performance was not unimpressive. It was because we scored an own goal. Even to argue that our performance in the Ashanti Region was unimpressive makes the analysis lop-sided. Was our performance in the Eastern Region impressive? What about the other Regions?

Nana Akufo-Addo’s defeat to Prof Mills in the 2008 elections had nothing to do with a war between the Akyems and Asantes for the soul and heart of the NPP. That is not my belief. Those who want to go with Mr Harruna’s claim should also agree to this: that Nana lost the election because of sabotage and parochialism engineered by Asantes who constitute the crème de la crèmes of the NPP fraternity.

According to Mr Harruna’s piece, “rumours are doing the rounds – and there are many of them – that some ethnic traditional leaders in both Akyem and Asante are sending out word quietly about what they expect the people to do.” What is wrong with that? Who does not wish a good thing for his community? That is natural!

But the fact of the matter is that there are also rumours that the electorate is warning the kingmakers of the NPP not to make the mistake of rejecting Nana Akufo-Addo as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2012 elections. And that the kingmakers are prepared to listen to the masses.

Let’s allow the traditional rulers to lobby; let’s allow them to consult their oracles, and even cajole them to be favourbably disposed towards their cause; let them even employ traditional scam to advance their cause. What is certain is that the party, represented by its kingmakers, will listen to the voice of the masses and deliver the goods at the appointed time.

The rank and file of the party are also determined to work their hearts out. This determination, with the support of the electorate who are eager to see the return of the NPP to the corridors of power, will ensure that the right man ascends the nation’s presidency in 2013.

My people, so you see now. The contest for the soul and heart of the NPP, the February 27 congress and the impending flagbearership contest cannot be a war between Akyems who are lining behind their Nana Akufo-Addo and Asantes who are lining behind their Alan Kyerematen.

The contest is between activists of the NPP who are ready to listen to the voices of the masses and give them their choice of leaders and a presidential candidate they want to see as the president of Ghana in 2013 and those who want to do the contrary. So, you now agree with Chief Apostle that the “wahala” in NPP is not a war between Akyems and Asantes, as Harruna Attah wants the whole world to believe.

BY KWABENA AMANKWAH

FORMER TESCON-UCC SECRETARY

M0B 0244-217504

AMASKWABENA@YAHOO.COM