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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Columnist: Annan, Mark

Stop toying with electoral reform process; too much depends on it for the NPP

Every committed NPP member understands how dear the ongoing Electoral Reform Process is to the Party's chances come 2016 especially as it faces yet again a ruthless incumbent willing to go to extremes to retain power. It is clear for many that the NPP would have to kiss goodbye to 2016 if we get it wrong on the Electoral Reform project taking a cue from happenings at the Supreme Court.

It is for these reasons why one cannot understand why the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyapong is willing to ignore the seriousness of the process and damn the consequences only to satisfy what seems to be purely personal interests.

Mr. Kwabena Agyapong at the start of the Electoral reform process selected Mr. Mac Manu as the NPPs Representative on the Electoral Affairs Committee. Though it was a unilateral decision, the selection of Mr. Mac Manu received no opposition because frankly, he is the best the Party has at the moment for such an important task.

Surprisingly though, in the past few days, Mr. Agyapong without consulting NEC again, has withdrawn the appointment of Mr. Mac Manu and rather nominated himself to serve on the Electoral Reform Committee for the simple reason that because the NDC is represented by its General Secretary, he also has to represent the NPP. This is dangerous for the Party since for such an important project, the Party needs its best foot forward and cannot take chances just because of one person's desire to rub shoulders with his colleague in the NDC.

With a towering stature as a former Chairman, Mr. Mac Manu has garnered far more experience in the area of election management and reform and is by far the most competent individual to represent the Party. Not only does Mr. Manu tower above the likes of Asiedu Nketiah when it comes to the issue at stake, but he is internationally recognized as an expert in the field and has seen his expertise being sought after by very reputable political parties all over Africa.

The NPP as a party has also for long recognized Mr. Mac Manu's expertise making him an integral member of the electoral affairs committee in the run up to the 2012 Elections and ceding to him the training of election agents and other key officials with regard to election management.

With this track record which the General Secretary of the Party is aware of and the fact that Mr. Mac Manu has been an integral brain in the drafting of the NPP's proposals for reform, which the General Secretary was not, it is intriguing, that the General Secretary would want to take his seat on the Committee only because he sees his counterpart from the NDC also having a seat there.

In simple terms, Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyapong is not the best foot we have to place forward in this particular case and the NPP cannot take any such risk with a delicate issue like the much sought after Reforms.

I must add that the issue is compounded by the fact that our General Secretary has demonstrated over the months since his election that he does not have the fire in his belly for a battle with the NDC on any issue. This is the General Secretary who goes to every extent to divert attention from the NDC anytime they are in the corner to intra-party NPP issues to give the NDC a respite. This is the General Secretary who has even gone out of his way to express so much concern for the image of John Mahama and asked NPP members to stop describing John Mahama as a thief.

In all honesty, this is not the man to entrust such a delicate operation to. He does not have the competence at least compared to Mac Manu, and he doesn't seem to have the will.

For NPP members, we have a very small window. It is now or never. If we sit down and allow our chances to be toyed with, it will be over before the Electoral Commission even accepts nomination forms. This is the time to take our destinies into our hands to speak up and act to ensure that we are in the best condition come 2016. The time to pretend all is well should end now.

Mark Annan

(Cape Coast)