Politics of Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Source: Al-Hajj

NPP to break up after Tamale Congress if…

Akufo Addo’s “I can’t work with Afoko & Kwabena Agyapong edict”

The turf war between Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and former President John Agyekum Kufuor over the control of the soul of the opposition New Patriotic Party is getting murkier and murkier as the April 12 congress draws nearer.

Far from the feud between the duos been over as the party’s spin doctors want Ghanaians to believe, henchmen of the most successful leader of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition, former President Kufuor, are taking the fight to the party’s impending congress schedule for Tamale later this month.

Intelligence report gathered by The aL-hAJJ indicate that the Kufuor men are threatening a breakup of the NPP should the outcome of the congress is seen to be influenced by the twice defeated presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Already armed with grapevine information that some regional executives have compromised their positions and have sidestepped the party’s constitution, campaigning against aspiring candidates believed to be heirs of Nana Akufo-Addo’s internal rivals, classified information picked up by The aL-hAJJ reveal that former President Kufuor’s loyalists in the NPP could jump ship in the event the April 12 congress go against them.

“We are waiting for Tamale, if they think they can manipulate everyone for a certain outcome in Tamale, they must be joking…, let’s wait after the congress and you will see what will happen”, a peeved Kufuor loyalist told The aL-hAJJ yesterday.

Reports are that Nana Akufo-Addo has whispered into the ears of some regional executives in support of his comeback-bid to do everything possible to ensure business magnate, Paul Afoko and ex-President Kufuor’s Press Secretary, Ing. KwabenaAgyeiAgyapong, do not get elected National Chairman and General Secretary respectively.

However, Nana Akufo-Addo’s office has since denied the allegation, stating that it will be difficult for the twice defeated presidential candidate, who has a stake in the NPP “not to have preferences; after all, he is also going to vote for candidates so definitely he has a preference but as an experienced politician,” he will not openly show support and campaign for specific candidates.

Party insiders say Nana Akufo-Addo, who marked his 70th birthday last Saturday, March 29, 2014, and his backers for third time attempt are of the firm conviction that Mr Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong are in the race to advance the interest of former President Kufuor and in the event they get the nod, they will obstruct the former Foreign Affairs Minister’s recently announced plans of leading the party again going into the 2016 elections.

Indeed, Paul Afoko’s pal and former Chief of Staff in the Kufuor regime, Mr Kwame Mpiani, who is said to be chief architect in the “operation get Nana Akufo-Addo’s hands off the party” in a recent radio interview, warned that Nana Akufo-Addo and his surrogates’ position ahead of congress makes a mockery of Nana Addo’s own call for unity in the party and his desire to lead the party to electoral victory, he told an Accra based radio, Friday.

Cautioning that, their posturing ahead of the Tamale congress have the potential to divide the party that needs to unite its ranks in its quest for political power.

According to the respected former Chief of Staff to President Kufuor, he has picked information that some regional chairman are campaigning against some aspiring candidates because the former Abuakwa South legislator, said he would not be comfortable working with those people in the event they succeed at congress.

It is no secret Mr Mpiani and former President Kufuor, both close pals and bosses to Mr. Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong, want the duo to annex the position of National Chairman and General Secretary in turn, in order to break Akufo-Addo’s monopoly over the party’s elected national officers since 2006.

Though judging from media reports, majority of the NPP supporters seems to have endorsed Nana Akufo-Addo’s desire to lead the party to battle again come 2016, Mr Kufuor and Mpiani, are said to be opposed to the idea and are reported prepared to do everything possible to scuttle that move, even if that will split the party as it happened in 1979.

Party insiders say Nana Akufo-Addo’s popularity in the party is incomparable to any other potential flag bearer aspirants, however, his preferred candidates for National Chairman and General Secretary, Mr Fred Oware and Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie aka Sir John respectively, are lagging behind the Kufuor/Kwadwo Mpiani candidates, Mr Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong.

Information gathered by aL-hAJJ revealed that the twice failed presidential aspirant hurriedly announce his readiness to lead the party once again (even though the party was yet to elect its national officers) in order to court support for his preferred candidates who were lagging behind strong candidates like Afoko and Kwabena.

“Because there were contrasting reports about Nana Akufo-Addo’s future political plans, he was losing some of his supporters to the other camps and that was also affecting his preferred candidates’ campaign, so his announcement was to tell all his supporters to vote for those he has blessed”, a party source who pleaded anonymity told The aL-hAJJ.

All rival camps in the NPP have lined-up candidates to contest for national executive positions in the party’s upcoming national congress scheduled for Tamale on April 12, 2014. Some of the positions up for grabs include Chairman, General Secretary, Treasurer, Women’s Organizer, National Organizer, and Youth Organizer among others.

Whiles the Kufuor/Mpiani camp is said to be supporting Mr Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong for the crucial positions of National Chairman and General Secretary; Nana Akufo-Addo is reported to have ‘divorced’ his former preferred candidate, incumbent chairman Jake Obetsebi Lamptey for Mr Fred Oware and Sir John as General Secretary.

President Kufuor’s ex-protégé, twice failed flag bearer aspirant and former Trade minister, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen is also reported to have endorsed serial national chairman aspirant, Mr. Stephen Ntim and Lawyer Yaw Buaaben Asamoah for those same positions.

But even before delegates give their verdict on April 12, the Kufuor camp have served noticed that they would not tolerate any influence peddling at congress and in the event that happens, they would walk away.

Mr. Mpiani as part of his warnings to Nana Akufo-Addo and his men stated that the proxy fight some regional chairmen are engaged in is divisive and the party would be the eventual loser.

He explained that the chairmen were in office to work with all hands available to the party and should they persist in their campaign for the rejection of some contestants, they risk driving them away from the party.

How do the chairmen work with these individuals should they be lucky enough to win the elections, or even if they lose, how do the party chairmen get them to support the cause of the party, he quizzed.

Mr. Mpiani said the chairmen should play their roles as party officers working to ensure a fair ballot, it is not their place to determine who is voted for, and any unfair practices on their part could cost the party even at the national level, because the peeved may refuse to vote at all in the national elections, or worse still vote against party candidates.