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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

Open letter to former president J.A. Kufuor

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Dear President Kufour,

Greetings from South Africa and I hope this letter finds you and the entire Elephant family well? Your Excellency, the purpose of this letter is to simultaneously thank you and to commend you for the initiative you have taken to foster the much-needed unity in our party for the crucial 2016 battle to rescue not only our party but our country from collapsing.

Sir, in a write up last year which was published by a few of our print media houses, I expressed my skepticism about the existence of so-called factions in our party and contended that even if there was such a situation in the party I was one of those whose “faction” was the NPP. By this, I meant that there is a discernible majority of us whose pre-occupations are to safeguard the supreme interests of the party at all times.

There were three premises for my skepticism about the existence of factions in the party. First, I found it extremely difficult to fathom why any member of a political formation like ours would seek to hurt the interests of such a formation. Second, in my previous write up on the issue, I had introduced the concept of the “New Mandate” by which I meant the massive support the delegates gave to the elected executives at the Tamale congress to carry the party to victory in 2016 after two successive defeats at the polls.

It was against this background of the trust the delegates had given to the new executives that I found it equally difficult to understand why any of the new executives would work to betray this trust by ensuring that the party loses the 2016 elections because of their dislike for any individual or group of individuals. I mean, rationally speaking, any thinker in my position at the time would have been equally confounded by this seeming contradiction of trust and betrayal.

Third, every Ghanaian knows that our tradition as a political party is synonymous with liberal democratic values. Thus, my initial reaction to the “rumors” of factionalism in the party was that this could be a classic case of mistaking our “primordial” democratic ethos of ‘agreeing to disagree’ on internal party matters for factionalism; our history is littered with cases of disagreement but we always rise above the fray to confront the common enemy.

However, since I wrote that piece in May 2014 when I was on a short academic visit in the United States, utterances by some leading members of the party and indeed the fact that you have initiated this current move to resolve the “crisis” in our party, I have revised my notes about the existence of factions in the party.It is now a truism that the NPP is being shredded into pieces by factionalism on the eve of seismic local and national elections.

Your Excellency, it is within this context of a real crisis that threatens the very existence of the party that I join the millions of party members, and indeed Ghanaians who are yearning for a real change in the country’s leadership, to thank you for the role that you are currently playing to bring everyone together for the battle ahead and beyond.

Conflict is an essential characteristic of any situation involving two or more human beings and I know that being the wise man that you have always been you are under no illusion that your peace offensive is going to be smooth sailing. This road to peace and its concomitant victory for the party in 2016 will be rough and bumpy but as Shakespeare in his King Lear would have advised you,

“You are tied to the stake and you must keep course”.

Your detractors will come in all forms and shapes and the temptation for a change would be enormous so at every turn and twist, turn to the very God who chose you to play this role in the first place. Excellency, an example of the temptations that would confront you in this noble cause for party and country is the leaking of the first meeting of the initiative at your private residence to the media and the negative spin our political rivals have put on it.

This political spin on a well-intentioned meeting is nothing but a delay tactic by our political foes. To all intents and purposes it is a ploy to drag the peace initiative at the expense of other crucial issues the party must push to address before the 2016 elections. In fact, we have such issues as the voters’ register and the rectification of the biometric system to address, so it is in their interests to tie us to internal party matters which would blind us to these critical issues.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a party elder like you calling for a truce in a party that you have led to victory on two occasions, a feat which is unparalleled in the history of our party. And as a devoted Christian, there is nothing wrong in inviting prominent members of the clergy in the country to join you in achieving your goal of uniting a party as old as ours.

To support a party that supported you to usher in the best political and economic management in our country’s history is not a sin to be repented of. Every Ghanaian knows the lasting legacy you left in 2009 when you left office but rest assured that no legacy of yours will equal the peace project that you are currently involved in as far as the party is concerned. After all, this is the party you have devoted your entire life to serving and I am sure you shudder to think of its possible demise in your life time.

Excellency, please know that you are not alone on this seemingly treacherous journey because the entire membership of the party is behind you, the current flagbearer, and every executive of the party with prayers and fasting for the path of peace you have chosen to succeed. We need every party member on board the campaign to ensure victory in the battle ahead. At this point, I cannot but re-echo the words of the former Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin, who said:

“Real politics starts when you are talking not at the level of thousands but at the level of millions”.

It is only when we as party members unite behind our leaders that we can convince non-members to join us in this crusade to reclaim power next year. Indeed, we cannot afford to shed a single vote because of factionalism and we can only guarantee this if you and partners succeed in your efforts to unite the party. No one group or faction can win elections in the country either in 2016 or 2020 if there is indeed any such agenda.

As for those within and outside our party who are hell bent on derailing your peace initiatives through various means, all I can tell them is that they have a dislocated relationship with the truth. History is moving on and the choice is theirs to either be on the right side of history or they can choose to read history sideways; but either way, they must be prepared to bear the consequences of their choices.

Finally, for those men of God who agreed to be part of this historic moment to pull our party back from the brink, my humble advice to them is that they should equally keep course. They should not be deterred by the negative spin our detractors have put on their role but rather be tenacious in their resolve to help salvage the party that is on the cusp of pulling the country back from the brink.

As men of the cloth, they know better than the rest of us that it is not for us mere mortals, to judge them here on earth for their role at this historic moment as we are all here temporarily as sojourners; their judgment awaits them in the hereafter and it is what matters the most.

We know from the scriptures that throughout history, God has intervened in the affairs of Man through his prophets like them and in the process making them politicians par excellence.Therefore, it is rather unfortunate for some of our compatriots to think that as men of God they are not to partake of our political discourse.

Thank you again Excellency and God bless you as you move with alacrity to leave a meaningful legacy of peace and unity for our beloved party and country.

Acheampong Yaw Amoateng, PhD, is a Research Professor of Sociology at North-West University in South Africa. He was a Deputy National Coordinator of the School Feeding Programme under the Kufuor Administration. He writes in his personal capacity.

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