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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Columnist: Africanus Owusu-Ansah

United NPP stands; divided it falls

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand”

Mark 3:25

“If you can keep your head when all about you,

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;…”.

‘IF’ – Rudyard Kipling

“We are only as strong as we are united,

As weak as we are divided.”

J.K. Rowling

WHAT’s HAPPENING to the NPP? This is a sing-songed question of most Ghanaians who identify themselves as belonging to the NPP or have sympathy to it, or see the NPP as providing a strong alternative to NDC which they perceive as veering into a ditch or plunging the country into an abyss. Much ink has been spilled on the recent goings – on in the NPP. They have given the NDC a breather, and provided them the opportunity to render political advice on how to tear the NPP apart.

The hullabaloo is rooted in the suspension of Mr Paul Afoko recently. Afoko’s spokesperson, Nana Yaw Osei, called the bluff of the Committee, saying the decision taken by the “so – called committee” was “illegal”, and that Paul Afoko was “still at post”.

Dr Charles Wereko Brobbey “weep(s) for Ghana because the 2016 elections will be between chaos and incompetence”. He described the suspension of Afoko as a coup d’état. To him, it was the delegates who had voted him to power in Tamale and not a “small group of disgruntled persons” that had the power to touch him. Furthermore, Charles Wereko – Brobby expressed the fear that Afoko’s suspension would add greater credence to the “perception that the NPP is an Akan party”.

Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy expresses his disagreement with the National Executive Committee on the decision. He advised the “true leaders of our tradition to stand and confront this outrage. Let him (Afoko) proceed to court, not for his own sake but for the sake of our party and its principles”. Arthur K opined that the “thinly – disguised coup d’état against Afoko” did not inure to anyone else’s benefit. Rather, “it seems the takeover of the NPP by CPP elements is now complete – with Blay as chair and Abdul Malik Kweku Baako leading the public relations case for the coup… We used to mock the NDC for being ruled by men instead of laws”.

Mr Frank Agyekum in an article “ NPP hits self – destruct button” in the media think that “party supporters and sympathisers who heaved a sigh of relief at the united front… must now be crest – fallen by the singular act of the Disciplinary Committee and NEC”. Mr Agyekum’s article recalled “a similar instance in 1979 when victory was virtually snatched from the jaws of the party’s antecedent, Popular Front Party (PFP) when… one faction broke off to form the United National Convention (UNC).” Both parties lost to the People’s National Party (PNP). To Mr Agyekum, “the current rift appears to be following along the lines of the PFP – UNC divide. The PFP led by the late Victor Owusu was an idol of former President Kufour; the late William Ofori Atta who was leader of the UNC was uncle to Nana Akufo Addo”.

In a sharp rebuttal to Frank Agyekum’s treatise, Musah Superior describes Frank Agyekum’s piece as” totally needless and grossly unhelpful … written from a factional perspective and against the interests of the greater party”. He reminded Frank Agyekum that neither PFP nor UNC broke from the other. “Both were formed from largely the same political tradition after the collapse of the PP in 1972…” Musah Superior could not understand Frank Agyekum’s revival of the PFP and the UNC split and asked: “Is it to signal a possible break – away group towards 2016”. He adds: “Mr Frank Agyekum must recognize that President Kufour has had his term (his two terms) and that there is and there should be no ‘race’ or division between a Kufour faction and an Akuffo – Addo faction, or appropriately, a William Ofori – Atta faction and a Victor Owusu faction. The only competition that matters is between the NPP and the NDC, Akuffo Addo and John Mahama”.

Musah Superior surmises: “It is in Akuffo Addo’s interest that there are no splits in the party… He served President Kufour loyally as a campaigner and subsequently as his Minister and would expect similar service… from all others now that he is also the flagbearer of the party.” Musah Superior thinks Frank Agyekum “just brushed off the gruesome murder of Adams Mahama… aside the fact that it was the catalyst for the calls to remove the duo. Even if Kwabena Agyapong was never directly accused, it is believed that their move to go to the Upper East without any regard for the regional chairman set off the events which ultimately led to the murder of a colleague patriot… not a small matter to brush under the carpet and seek to court sympathy for the man whose brother is principal suspect in the murder”.

Musah Superior cannot fathom why a “legend” of the party, C.K – Tedam could be run down by Andrew Awuni without a whimper from “what Frank Agyekum indicates is the Kufour camp”. He posits that the disciplinary committee and NEC are made up of respectable people: C.K.Tedam, Rev. Asante Antwi, Madam Ama Busia, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, Dr Addo Kuffour.

Musah Superior proclaims: “The party is behind Nana Akufo – Addo and is ready to work for victory… Individuals may choose to sit on the fence or attempt to even break the vehicle; but such persons… are in the minute minority and their numbers will continue to shrink!”

The nonagenarian C.K. Tedam who is Chairman of the Council of Elders of the NPP threw into the fray his side of the story, claiming that “every time he (Paul Afoko) called a meeting, he called it at a hotel and he would bring all sorts of people, some semi – military to surround the people”. Mr Tedam who addressed Paul Afoko as a “son” was unhappy about the Council of Elders and NEC being treated like “prisoners” to be talked to by the Chairman. Paul Afoko refused to attend to various invitations and they felt “that with Paul Afoko being there we cannot win the election”.

Mr Baah Acheamfour proceeded to the police to make a complaint on the misappropriation of NPP funds and Paul Afoko went to give a statement to the police, despite a “ceasefire” by Nana Akufo Addo. Thus when two persons from Tamale, including Alhaji Sulemana Yirimea petitioned the elders of the party, it was upheld and this led to the suspension of Paul Afoko. And Emmanuel Tweneboa Kodua, Stephen Owusu and Joseph Oppong want to get Freddie Blay, F.F. Anto, C.K. Tedam, John Boadu, Sammy Awuku and Kamal Deen Abdulai jailed for not heeding a court’s injunction and calling and attending a steering committee meeting.

Questions: How does suspending Afoko make NPP an Akan party? Are CK Tedam and the petitioners for Afoko’s suspension, Akans? Is Bawumia, the running mate an Akan? What has come over certain men now to make them so stiff-necked and insensitive to advice? Are people being advised properly?

So people cannot change their alliances and allegiance (Freddie Blay and Kweku Baako), except to do mischief in another party? Did Victor Owusu begin and end a UPist? What did the party executives swear to do—uphold the NPP Constitution? Remember what happened to Obed Asamoah, Josiah Ayeh, Nana Konadu, Frances Essiam, Kofi Adams—all of NDC? Did the NDC lose or win after their sack from the NDC?

If you were to advise Nana Akufo-Addo (95% NPP presidential campaign winner), what would you say?

Africanus Owusu-Ansah