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Opinions of Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Columnist: Asamoa-Baah, Kofi

Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth

The selection process to succeed President Agyekum Kufuor is well underway. Since there is no heir apparent or an ingrained procedure to ensure a heir apparent, a sizeable number of the President’s cabinet have declared their intention to run for the flagbearership of the NPP .

At last count, there were probably sixteen or so candidates including eight members of the cabinet running : ranging from fired Ministers / Deputy Ministers to a former Presidential Spokesperson !! Reports indicate infighting, mudslinging and unsavory attacks on opponents. This is crazy and insane. Somehow there appears to be this strange mind warp in the NPP that anybody can be President !! Thank GOD , most of these candidates are just running on a political treadmill ---- they are running , but are not going anywhere !!

We all understand that it is their democratic right to run for high office, but this unprecedented high number of candidates has created a lot of angst in the Party.

Pursuant to an amendment in the NPP constitution in 2003 , any cabinet member who wants to run for the Presidency must resign his post. As a result , eight Cabinet members have been asked by the President to resign , and indeed some have already done so – creating a nightmarish scenario where the machinery of government could be paralyzed !!

Most of us would have wished that the Party had a robust mechanism for a smooth transfer of power as we just witnessed in Britain, where Prime Minister Blair quietly transferred power to Chancellor Gordon Brown without any hitch.

The NPP is probably a victim of its own successes. The Kufuor administration has done a stellar job of improving the economic and political fortunes of the country in such a short time. This explains why a lot of people want to succeed the President, and build on the solid foundation that the President has laid for the country.

If we agree that President Kufuor has done very well, then we cannot discount the contribution of the sitting Vice President to this marvelous legacy.

Leadership is not a solo performance .Vice President Aliu Mahama has not only been loyal to the sitting President , but he has also been a clean and strong leader in his own right. He has been called on several occasions to make tough decisions for the country , especially during the many foreign trips that has been undertaken by the President .

On each occasion, the Vice-President has met the challenge head on , and performed his duties admirably and effectively. Indeed , his loyalty and considerable smarts has enhanced the leadership of his boss !!!

On one hand , allowing anybody and anyone who is a paid card bearing member of the Party to run for office, demonstrates the deep-seated democratic principles of the NPP. – a Party of Principles and not of Personalities. We all remember the comical show during the NDC Congress when other candidates were allowed to file to give the process some semblance of internal democracy when infact the flag bearer had been decided long ago by “ The God Father at Ridge” . This was just a camouflaged “ Swedru Declaration”

Any wonder , out of a total of four candidates ,Prof. Atta Mills alone got 1382 votes out of a possible 1600 – a whopping 82% !!!

On the other hand , this high number of potential candidates cuts an unflattering picture of the Party . This has the potential of adversely affecting party cohesion and unity . It is refreshing to note that , the National Executive has decided to introduce a “ Code of Conduct” for all contestants to abide by ; just like the “ 11th Commandment” advocated by former US President Reagan which said “ Thou shall not speak evil about another Republican “.

Only one person can be President at one time , which means the other fifteen or so candidates will have to be whipped in line immediately after Dec ‘07.

Whoever we elect at the Congress in Dec 2007 will echo in December 2008. I only hope that even before Dec 2007, the Elders of the party will convene, as a matter of urgency, a special meeting to persuade some of these contestants to drop their presidential ambitions and throw their support behind two or three strong candidates.

The overarching agenda is to win Election 2008 , and this should not be overshadowed by shortsighted pettiness and shallow mindedness. A house divided against itself cannot stand. President Kufuor should throw his considerable weight behind his Vice to ensure a smooth transition of power and to negate this lingering accusation that the NPP is an Akan / Ashanti party. The NPP base is solid and I don’t see huge numbers of voters deserting the Party in ’08, considering the impressive achievements chalked by the NPP within such a short time.

Nation building is serious business , and the NPP must not self-destruct to give any semblance of a chance to the NDC. That will be disastrous for the country.

The NDC is a Party where the perennial and career flagbearer has promised to consult 24/7 , his master and mentor J.J.Rawlings. Ghanaians want a real leader , not a toy President or a ventriloquist !! This is a Party (NDC) where their leader in Parliament, Hon Albin Babgin came unplugged during the 60th Birthday bash for Rawlings and promised to “ die for the Godfather of Chaos” This is juvenile and pretty comical.

It should however serve as an eerie forewarning to us all !!! That such smart men( both are lawyers ) should stoop so low and succumb to such deranged fervor and narcissistic blindness is both tragic and hard to understand.

This is one more reason why the NDC should NEVER be returned to power !!!! It is this decrepit dependency and clownish capitulation of power to one man that has made the NDC an unattractive brand to most Ghanaians. The real Party of the people is the NPP !!!

Ghanaians have tasted real “ Freedom in Development “ , and would not trade down and vote for a Party that has only promised them FIRE AND BRIMSTONE !!

We cannot afford to self destruct , and cut our nose to spite our own face.
Generations of Ghanaians will not forgive us if we let them down. There is a lot of heavy lifting to do , because this time around we do not have incumbency on our side.
But with singleness of purpose and a will to succeed , the NPP should be able to “ three-peat “ in 2008 , which would be a nice birthday gift for President Kufuor, who turns 70 next year around election time .There is a verse in the Holy Book that says :
“ GOD swears by TIME .“ TIME WILL TELL !!!!
Meanwhile , the broth keeps brewing in the NPP !!!

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