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Opinions of Monday, 22 February 2010

Columnist: Amankwah, Kwabena

Why NPP Needs a Ga Chairman

Members of the New Patriotic Party, the party that is destined to rescue Ghanaians from the current predicament they are suffering as a result of the “adverse selection” that saw Prof Mills elected in 2008 as the President, are expected to congregate in our “World Bank” at the weekend to elect national officers for our party.

It is true that developments in the country make it crystal clear that the Mills-led National Democratic Congress is gradually preparing the grounds for our party’s return to power in 2012. But, one thing is certain. The glaring failures of Prof Mills and his team will not necessarily put the ball into their net. They will simply not score an own goal as we did in 2008.

Whether we can score that golden goal in the 2012 match or not will largely depend upon the caliber of people we elect as our party officers and, of course, the person we shall eventually settle on as our presidential candidate.

The three most important positions in the party are the Chairman, General Secretary and Organizer. My analysis will mainly centre on the Chairman who represents the face of the party and will be expected to engineer the strategies needed to win the 2008 elections, even though some attempt will be made to touch on the other positions.

Well, Chief Apostle is convinced the two aspirants who are seeking to chair our party have got something good to offer. No one can, however, fault him when he expresses the belief that one of them can do better than the other.

This is especially the case when one subjects them to critical, objective comparative analysis in terms of COMPETENCE/TRACT RECORDS, DISPOSITION towards the 2012 election, ETHNIC DYNAMICS in the nation’s politics, and HISTORICAL FACTS since 1992. Analysis of the other two positions will be done in the context of INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY that makes it imperative that we retain some of the old executives.

On the premise of the above, Chief Apostle takes you down the road in his argument in support of the aspirant he expects to be given the mandate to lead the party as the National Chairman.

HISTORICAL FACTS

The contest for the chairmanship is a straight fight between Jake and Ntim. I find it difficult to appreciate what motivated the rest to join the contest. Are they in to “spoil” votes in favour of their camp? Who says they do not belong to one of the camps? But I understand Sammy Crabb‘s decision: the NPP needs a Ga Chairman. PERIOD!

A journey down memory lane reminds us that after wondering in the political wilderness for almost 30 years, it was a Ga National Chairman (may the soul of the late Peter Ala Adjetey rest in perfect peace) who partnered an Akan presidential candidate (well done, Mr Kufuor) to secure us that historical victory in 2000.

Another history is about to be made in 2008 when Prof Mills’ name will go into the records as the first president to have served only a term in the Fourth Republic. That history could surely be made with another Ga Chairman partnering an Akan presidential candidate.

Already, it almost 100 percent certain that the party will go into the 2008 elections with an Akan presidential candidate – either Nana Akufo-Addo or Alan, or even Prof Frimpong Boateng or Hon Isaac Osei. Only a miraculous event could prevent this arrangement.

Could an Akan Chairman and Akan Presidential Candidate lead us to victory? Remember this partnership did not work in 1992 when the late Prof Adu-Boahen contested the presidency under the chairmanship of an Akan, B. J da Rocha. That partnership again did not work the magic in 2008 with Nana Akufo-Addo and Peter Mac Manu.

I know those who do not think the way I do will argue that the Akan-Akan partnership worked for us in 2004 with Mr Kufuor and Haruna Esseku. They will again argue that in 1996 we had a Ga Chairman, Odoi Sykes, but he could not secure us victory with Mr Kufuor as the presidential candidate.

Doesn’t that even strengthen my point? Mr Kufour had lost the elections in 1996 and was retained as the presidential candidate for the 2000 elections. He won the 2000 with Ala Adjetey. Is it not likely that we could also have Nana Akufo-Addo as the candidate for the 2008 elections? Will the dynamics not be similar with a Ga Chairman?

For the 2004 elections, it was the easiest for the party. There was no contest for the flagbearership; we were also in government and President Kufuor was the most popular person in the country. The dynamics were quite different in 1996 and will also be different in 2008.

Again for strategic reasons, the position of National Chairman had always gone to the Gas until 2002 when Mr Kufuor ensured it went to Haruna Esseku. Prof Mike Oquaye would have been the Chairman if Mr Kufuor had not stepped in. As for Mr da Rocha, he was made the first Chairman in view of the instrumental role he had played in the formation of the party.

COMPETENCE/TRACT RECORDS

It is not about whether Jake is to Nana Akufo and Ntim is to Alan-Kufuor – the consideration should be COMPETENCE and TRACT RECORD, and what will work for the party’s victory in 2012. Didn’t Jake work for Mr Kufuor against Nana in 1998 at Sunyani? Was he not Mr Kufour’s campaign manager in 2000 and 2004? Didn’t he deliver the goods? The man is now linked with Nana Addo because he accepted to work for the party as the campaign chairman in the 2008 elections. Yes! We lost the election, and so what? Was Ntim not part of Bawumia’s team?

It was Jake who led the party in the Greater Accra Region as the Chairman to secure 52% votes for Mr Kufour and gave the party 16 parliamentary seats. Remember he had inherited nine parliamentary seats and 46% of the popular votes. Be reminded that Sammy Crabb reversed our seats from 16 to nine in 2008.

Yes, Ntim was also the 1st vice when we won the 2004 elections. But the fact is simple: we were then in government and that election was the easiest we have ever had. We are now in opposition and we need somebody with experience of winning from opposition.

ETHNIC DYNAMICS

Now on the issue of ethnic balance, the election of a Ga Chairman will make us pass the test, and ensure that the Gas do not feel marginalized in the scheme of affairs of the party. A Ga Chairman, with a team of Ashanti/Brong General Secretary, a Voltarian Treasurer, one Northern Vice/Northern Women Organizer, one Fante Vice/Fante Women Organizer ensures a perfect regional/ethnic balance that could make the ethnic dynamics favourable to the party. Let’s not forget we are tagged as Akan party.

Let’s give the Chairman to a non-Ga, have no Ga in any elective position in the National Executive, and see if we can perform better in the 2008 elections in the Greater Accra Region constituencies mainly occupied by Ga indigenes. Remember we lost the 2008 elections partly because we performed abysmally poor in those areas.

CANDIDATES’ DISPOSITION

The other issue to consider is the disposition of the aspirants towards the aspirations of the masses of our party. Who is favourably disposed towards what the masses want? Majority of the rank and file of our party were in fovour of the expansion of the party’s Electoral College. Majority are in support of the idea of early congress to elect the flag bearer. Jake is with the majority while Ntim is on the side of the minority.

Who then can work comfortably with the party’s rank and file, and promote the agenda of the majority? Above all, the voices of the electorate indicate the person they want to succeed President Mills in 2018. Which of the two aspirants is on the side of the people’s choice, and what lesson does that teach us? A word to a wise, the sages say, is enough.

INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY

The campaign message of some of the aspirants is that all incumbent officers should be kicked out of office. Those who seem to have bought into that propaganda do not even want to find out why some old officers have been retained at the various levels of the party’s structure. The reasons are simple: they performed relatively better under the circumstances in which they worked; again they were elected to guide the new officers.

Would it be a wise decision to sack the entire working force of a company, from the messenger to the Managing Director, bring in entirely new staff, and expect the company to deliver results in two years time? What are we talking about?

But, a caution please. If the person did not deliver, he needs to be swept away with a new broom; if he delivered, he needs to be retained.

These are the cases of Nana Ohene-Ntow, John Boadu and Rita Asobayire, incumbent General Secretary, National Youth Organizer and Women Organizer respectively. We need two of them – a male and female, of course. Mad Rita is the lucky one.

Here comes the contest. Who should be retained, Nana Ohene-Ntow or John Boadu? Let’s be sincere about this. We need a team player who can fit into any squad. We need the one who has demonstrated his competence over the years and is above his competitors in the race for their respective positions.

John Boadu is contesting the National Organizer position with Alhaji Muctar Bamba and Isaac Edumadze. The actual contest is between Boadu who is not on anybody’s slate and Bamba who is on the two slates. Which of the two can you trust in terms of integrity, competence, tract record, and the capacity to face Opanyin Yaw Boateng Gyan, his counterpart from the NDC? Remember the Organizer is in charge of party resources/logistics and their distribution. Do you know the value of TRANSPARENCY? Remember he is also in charge of developing training programmes for the party and also partnering the Communication Director to develop appropriate campaign messages. Let’s not make a mistake that will haunt us later.

As for Nana Ohene Ntow, the challenge is very strong and one wonders if he can stand the might of Lawyer Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (a.k.a Sir John), who is largely seen as the person to represent the Ashantis in the Executive. Don’t forget Busia’s nephew and Nkrabea are also in the race. Lawyer Buabeng Asamoah, the delegates think you are no longer in the race.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Chief Apostle wants to remind all delegates that the weekend’s elections are not about what we want. The considerations are competence and what will work for the party to secure victory in the 2012 elections. We are not going to Kumasi to satisfy the agenda of our camps, neither are we going to allow any monetary or material inducement to influence our decisions. As for those who have got the money to camp us in hotels, let’s enjoy the meals and drinks they will offer; let’s be nice and gentle to listen to them and their God fathers; but let’s not allow them to lead us on the path of unrighteousness and destruction. Let’s allow our conscience to guide us to do the right thing for our party and nation. God bless you, and see you at the Garden City.

By: Kwabena Amankwah

Former TESCON-UCC Secretary

Mob: 0244-217504