Where is Akufo-Addo while the NPP burns?
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Folks, in any human situation where bad blood reigns, it takes only one word from a peace-maker to calm nerves and build productive relationships. Such a peacemaker may be old or young, well-endowed intellectually to dissect causes of the problems and find solutions to them or be or naturally gifted with leadership skills to bring heads together and not knock them against each other for personal advantage. The NPP is at the moment in dire need of a unifier to prevent it from crossing the Rubicon.
And none other than Akufo-Addo, who is acclaimed by those endorsing him all over the place as their preferred Presidential Candidate for Election 2016, comes to mind. What is he doing to put his own house in order? Don’t tell me that unlike other political parties, the NPP doesn’t have a founder or leader and that Akufo-Addo shouldn’t be the one to tackle the challenges posed by the ongoing rumpus in the party.
He has issued a statement that some have been quick to dismiss as either belated or ineffectual. (See: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=322012&comment=0#com) Others have read a deeper meaning into that statement to suggest that he is being mischievous, accusing him as the force behind all that is happening. So, is he really doing anything to improve matters?
No one needs any supernatural instincts to know that from the way he is being uplifted all over the place by the party’s functionaries, he is the de facto leader and is expected to know how to calm nerves so his own party can provide the platform on which he will stand in confidence to contest Election 2016. If he thinks otherwise, he will come out none the wiser when the dust settles. Is he really aware that his own house is burning and cannot stand to help him achieve his ambitions? What is he doing about it apart from tele-guiding the campaign of calumny against those challenging him for the flagbearer position?
He says he is looking up to the Super Delegates’ Congress on August 31, which is itself endangered by the suits being filed by aggrieved party members? What sort of leadership is he providing to persuade Ghanaians that he can manage national affairs (given what is happening in the NPP camp)?
The persistent rumpus in the party seems to be worsening day-by-day, and it raises serious issues that must not be glossed over. The hat occurred at the party’s headquarters on Tuesday is a manifestation of the creepy internal politics going on. It will heighten the tension and detract heavily from the party’s worth unless something happens to calm nerves and restore sanity. This dog-eat-dog situation clearly works against the party and challenges those who matter in it to use their natural peace-building skills to advantage. Does the NPP have such people? I wonder.
Blaming the actions or utterances of Kwabena Agyepong (General Secretary) and Paul Afoko (National Chairman) as the immediate cause for the mayhem rocking the party won’t solve any problem. It will rather expose the insidiousness that characterizes the NPP’s brand of politics. That is why it is ridiculous for someone like Dr. Richard Amoako Baah, a political science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to question the competence of Agyepong as if that is the main problem facing the NPP. Dr. Baah’s charge is that Agyepong is “inexperienced” and does not appear to “understand his job.” Or that Agyepong has failed in his core duty of uniting his own party. All too soon at post?
Accusing Agyepong and Afoko of being supporters of Alan Kyerematen who are doing things to the disadvantage of Akufo-Addo and seeking to turn them into the bull’s eye to be targeted by the archers in the party will worsen the situation. Obviously, the NPP is wobbling and needs more than a show of force to be restored to stability. There is too much undercutting going on, too much head-butting going on, which explains the scope of the current deplorable situation.
On that score, I side with Nana Ohene Ntow, a former General Secretary of the NPP and now a spokesperson for Alan Kyeremanten, who is said to feel very sad for NPP. “I do not see how if there are issues and the party chairman or general secretary decide to address a press conference then that press conference would be disrupted by armed gangsters and hoodlums. I think it is a very shameful day for our party,” he added.
He is convinced that the mayhem was premeditated and suspects that some people might have been hired by some party leaders to cause confusion. He alleged that the perpetrators were influenced by very well-known people in the party and called for through investigation into the mishap and charged the party leadership to investigate the matter and get to the bottom of the issue.
On his part, Kofi Adams, a Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, has described the NPP as a totally confused party, which does not know what it is about, more so for alleging that the mayhem was caused by hirelings of the NDC.
Although the immediate cause of the mayhem can be traced to the directive by Agyepong for Perry Okudzeto, the Acting Director of Communications, to proceed on leave, there is more to the matter. The same approach was used against Opare Hammond (former Director of Finance and Administration) who has now strongly come out to describe the party Chairman and General Secretary as “empty barrels” for alleging that he misappropriated funds while in office.
Indeed, Agyepong and Afoko are on a mission to rebuild the operational base of the NPP but are hitting the brick-wall all too soon because they seem not to be on the same wavelength with the “forces beyond their control” in the party; hence their being bad-mouthed left and right. But what we see today is nothing new in the NPP cabal. There is much to prove that the NPP has been a divided house over the years that none in positions of trust could put together. No unifier to do the job!!
That is why I consider it a clear instance of plain dishonesty for someone like Prof. Mike Ocquaye to say that the NPP isn’t facing any turmoil and remains united. What is unfolding indicates otherwise. Why is it difficult for politicians of his sort to tell the truth? Instead of evading the facts of reality, I expect people like him to say it as it is and seek ways to solve the problems that are gradually and steadily pushing the party to the edge of the precipice. It faces an imminent implosion, especially if the opponents of Agyepong and Afoko take matters into their hands to frustrate them or even attempt removing them from office per force. Are these the liberal democrats justifying their property-owning democracy with acts and not mere self-gratifying boasts?
Threats to remove Agyepong and Afoko from office speak volumes. Were they not voted for at the appropriate forum convened by the party? Did they not contest their positions with others? What qualities did the NPP delegates see in them to warrant their being voted for overwhelmingly to remove the “old” executive officers from office? And to cap it all, was Agyepong not one of the aspirants for the flagbearer position for the 2008 elections? Is it now that those undermining him know of his inadequacies as an administrator?
The future of the NPP lies in the hands of those in charge of its affairs at the various levels. Now that the cracks are emerging, it will take someone with good leadership skills to prevent an implosion.
From the widespread endorsement that those who matter in the party (MPs, regional and constituency executive officers, especially) are giving Akufo-Addo to create the impression that his choice to lead the party again is a Non-negotiable fait accompli, one expects that he will rise to the occasion to calm nerves and prove that he can unify the party. But nothing has come from him to that effect.
Instead, he is gallivanting about and relishing the show of support being given him wherever he goes. Incidentally, this open show of support is a major cause of the friction in the party, apparently because the 6 other contestants feel aggrieved that although that open declaration of support for Akufo-Addo breaches the party’s constitution, nothing is being done by the National Executive Committee to punish the violators.
Apparently, some members of the National Executive Committee have themselves shown open bias against these 6 contestants and declared their unflinching backing for Akufo-Addo. This house is divided against itself and cannot be expected to stand. How long it will take to crumble remains a matter of conjecture. Is this what Akufo-Addo needs to achieve his childhood ambition of becoming Ghana’s President, even when he can’t build his own party?
I shall return…