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Opinions of Sunday, 31 August 2014

Columnist: Alibo, Robert Ayinenaba

Restoring the contest of ideas and NPP unity

Restoring the contest of ideas and NPP unity towards elections 2016

By Robert Ayinenaba Alibo

One most important feature of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that its members bragged about since its formation in 1992 is that it was a peaceful party where the contest of ideas was the main weapon for political exploits. Through the contest of ideas, the party won the accolade ‘they have the men’ from Ghanaians.

This feature has been eroded in the last seven years and the results have been a drop in the admiration of the NPP as a viable alternative and for that matter the two painful electoral defeats in 2008 and 2012.

It is sad that the NPP does not appear to have learnt any lessons from the two electoral defeats as members are still actively engaged in personality attacks, flagrant violation of party rules and the use of violence as means of demonstrating who is in charge. The bravado of those who sought to prevent President Kuffour from attending President Mahama’s inauguration, the description of party members who express divergent opinions as monsters and the violence at the party Headquarters are very sad examples.

At a time that party elders called for calm and circumspection, Dr. Arthur Kennedy throws a salvo to surmise the cause of the crisis in the party; quite unfortunate. I was, however, happy that he received condemnation of equal measure. Then not long, the sound of a ballistic missile was heard. This one was fired by Hon. Kennedy Agyepong wildly alleging that Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, Former Chief of Staff, Hon. Richard Anane, MP for Nhyieso and two other party bigwigs are plotting to assassinate Nana Akuffo-Addo. It is needless to recount that Hon. Ken Agyepong had earlier called the former chief of staff names.

This time, I have not heard any of those who descended so heavily on Dr. Arthur K. do the same to the Assin Central Legislator. However, the assassination or poisoning allegation by Hon. Ken Agyepong has gotten some members of the public asking questions. Is there something that Hon. Ken Agyepong knows that the rest of us Ghanaians do not know? Or is it that he is trying to preempt some imminent event? While I do not know the extent to which this allegation can further worsen party unity, I do know that comments by the same Legislator got the party a lot of punches in the last elections. Nana’s candidature and person have always been badly bruised by comments of his own party members as these comments serve as fodder for the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

These comments do not help the case of the NPP for victory 2016.

Unity has eluded the NPP the last seven years and this is borne out of deep seated mistrust and division nurtured over the years. The NPP stands to lose the next elections if pragmatic steps are not taken to ensure party unity before going into election 2016.

Listening to people, a number of suggestions regarding building a formidably united NPP as was the case in recent past have caught my attention. One such interesting suggestion that will trigger commentary is that of a compromise ticket.

This position suggests an Alan-Bawumia ticket. The view is that this arrangement will whittle down the differences (perceived or real) that is said to exist between the Kuffour and Nana factions in the party. This way, Nana joins Kuffour to be the two most respected elders of the party while their interest, if any, are served by the proposed ticket.

The NPP needs to rebrand and rebuild with party unity on the radar. It is my fervent hope that this little write up and the suggestion put forward will mark the beginning of the contest of ideas that Ghanaians once associated the NPP with.

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