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Opinions of Thursday, 28 May 2015

Columnist: Appiah, Papa

Nana Akuffo Addo, The Heart of NPPs Demise

Does Nana Akuffo Addo really believe, that as the leader of a crumbling party, it is enough for him to simply remain silently in his dugout and occasionally release press statements to deny allegations of involvemrnt in or tacit approval of ongoing upheavals? There are times in war when even generals have to come out to the battlefront, and directly engage the enemy. And this is one such occasion.

And if he believes that he can grace meetings organised without the knowledge of the chairman or general secretary of his party, indirectly consent to the disruption of meetings organised by his chairman and general secretary in the Upper East, then travel to Europe with his previous chairman rather than the current chairman, return to mourn the death of a good man so ruthlessly and cowardly murdered, followed quite closely by the firing of gunshots at a group believed to be on the side of Afoko is no crisis at all, then he is not fit to be leader of the NPP, never mind president of Ghana.

And if there is anybody in the NPP who sincerely believes, that all this is part of democracy, and that it will all settle down after the parliamentary primaries, and after Afoko and Agyapong have been removed, and that Ghanaians will then go to the polls in droves to vote for Nana to become president, then they have obviously been blinded by sheer naievety, ignorance or fanaticism.

No amount of clamouring for the dismissal of constitutionally elected officers will save the NPP, so long as people persistently choose to ignore the fact, that the problem of NPP is not Afoko or Kwabena Agyapong but the leader of the party himself. In times of crisis, a leader must be seen to be leading, not with the occasional press statement but with meetings and press conferences, if necessary on a daily basis, and alongside people believed to be his detractors in a solid show of unity. Has Nana done that?

The fact of the matter is that Nana Akuffo Addo would rather be rid of his opponents within the party. But he is too smart to want to be seen to have shirked the facade of a democratic law-abiding lawyer. He is nevertheless, quite happy to let others do his dirty jobs. It may be acceptable to release press statements to say he was not behind attempts in the regions to get rid of Chairman Afoko and his Secretary General for example, but could he have done more to nip it all in the bud? Could he have travelled to some of these regions with Afoko and co to try to douse the flame in a show of support and unity? Leaders are expected to lead, not by denial of involvement in what is wrong, but by active involvement in what is right.

Good leaders keep their friends close, but their "enemies" even closer. And that is why in 1998, despite a belief by the Kuffour camp that Akuffo Addo had made surreptitious attempts at getting Kuffuor removed and be replaced by him; an allegation Nana Addo denies but which nevertheless does not change the point, that Kuffuor still thought it wise to keep him in his government, first as attorney general and then as foreign minister. Kuffour must have known, as Lyndon Johnson once said in reference to J Edgar Hoover, that it was better to have a man like Akuffo Addo "in the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in".

And let no one dare accuse me of an Anti-Akuffo Addo agenda. I am a Rawlings admirer who voted for Agyekum Kuffour in 2000 because I thought he would drive the country in a new direction. Genuine floating voters like me are rare, but we do help decide tight elections. And only a fool would believe, that Nana Akuffo Addo has the appeal, capacity and know-how to win a landslide in Ghana.

I am somebody who is choking with disgust at the Kremlin-inspired propaganda tactics of John Mahama, where you beat your chest to make firm promises to your countrymen and then release the bitter truth in bits over the coming months to reduce the impact. I can no longer bear being ruled by "twats" like Fiifi Kwettey.

I can no longer countenance a leader who feels sorry for incompetent, corrupt heads of departments being grilled by Members of Parliament for failure to do their basic duties, as Mahama admitted to recently. I am genuinely looking for a credible alternative government in-waiting and I do not see that in the NPP as currently constituted and will never be till the heart of the problem, Nana Akuffo Addo, has been ripped out.

And just by the way, I'm beginning to have doubts about the organisation of the PPP since I donated a meagre 200 dollars to them about two weeks ago online, and did not get even an automated message to say "Thank you, your money will be put to good use."

So where do we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine.
Papa Appiah