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Opinions of Saturday, 21 February 2009

Columnist: Awuku, Samuel

NPP prepares for its National Conference

NPP NATIONAL EXECUTIVES MUST TAKE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW PROCESS SERIOUSLY

As the NPP prepares for its National Conference in May this year to review the party’s constitution, a lot of issues are being raised here and there which must be taken seriously in order not to mar this rather important exercise. Already people are beginning to raise questions about the transparency of the process and whether is not going to be a selected few making contributions for and on behalf of the masses in the party.

This Constitutional review which has been long overdue must be taken with all the seriousness it deserves and not be toyed with as it is currently being done by the National Executives, since it will shape the future direction of the party. As we speak no Committee has neither been announced formed or who and who constitutes the Committee no one knows. And since time is not on our side and looking at the few months left for the May Conference one would have thought that the process would have kicked started in earnest.

Our General Secretary a couple of weeks ago granted an interview to an Accra based radio station calling on party faithful to submit their proposals for the amendments which in my view was a clear case of maladministration and an insult to the structures of the party. Such communication should have in the first place been properly communicated to the regional offices and the constituencies and the other branches of the party before going to press, by doing that you set the agenda for grass root participation since any lapse identified by any ordinary member will have to be given proper consideration. This behaviour exhibited by the General Secretary was regretful and unfortunate since they are the same people encouraging people to use the right medium to address their concerns. It is clear that looking at the Constitution of the NPP now; it leaves room for so much manipulation and exploitation by a few adventurous National and Regional Officers which became evident during the vetting of our parliamentary aspirants in 2007/2008. Also our Constitution as it stands now is silent on the role of Ex-Prez Kufuor and future Ex Presidents of our tradition. Also the actual role of our Regional Council of Elders is vague thus making such an important organ weak and non functional. TESCON which is the intellectual bedrock of the party is not represented when it comes to our Congresses or Conferences hence defeating the purpose for which it was established. Some of these concerns make the amendment process an important exercise and hence should not be taken for granted.

Another worrying signal is the open endorsements of candidates by leading members and interest groups. As much as party members have every right to endorse candidates here and there, this should be done with much circumspection and at the right time and forum.

It is no secret that the NPP is undergoing a rebuilding process which will seek to correct the wrongs of the past while strategically positioning the party to take over the reigns of power. These endorsements will not only disrupt the rebuilding exercise but also help deepen the perceived factionalism in the party. We have reached an important point in our party’s history where now we don’t only need to win the hearts and minds of the masses while in opposition but their confidence and trust as well. I am convinced that actions of some leading personalities in the party raises doubt about their neutrality and their ability to help unite this party since most of the endorsements came at a time when the party was yet to take stock of what went well and wrong in the campaign. I would also like to use this medium to congratulate Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo on his decision to allow frank and open discussion about the causes of the party’s defeat and also his decision to help rekindle the base of our party, through his nationwide thanksgiving tour, thus giving hope to the many disenchanted and disillusioned party faithful and reassuring them of the party’s resolve and determination to recapture power in the 2012 elections. On the perceived factionalism within the NPP, I want to challenge the National Executives to nip this trend in the bud since history is not on our side in this regard. While we wouldn’t like to see a repeat of the 1979 PFP, UNC disagreements, attempts should also be made to address the concerns raised. On this score, I call on both Nana Addo and Alan Kyeremanten to lead the way in the rebuilding process to help dispel rumours of factionalism and cracks at our front. While all these efforts are being made, I want to make a clarion call on all party footsoldiers to remain calm and committed towards this exercise.

I strongly believe that if the NPP renews itself, offer the masses the chance to participate in the decision making process at the grassroot level and reshape the future direction of the party, it will make it easier winning the 2012 elections with a united front. Since it takes a party which is strategically positioned and psychologically prepared to win an election whereas a good candidate adds to the strength of the party in the polls. Thank you and God bless Ghana. …………………………. Sammi Awuku NPP YOUTH ACTIVIST (0244 252052)