“Ghana’s main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, is imploding”, writes the party’s former Presidential Aspirant Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy.
Dr Kennedy says in an article that: “Since Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku declared his desire to be the NPP Presidential candidate for the 2016 elections, he has been called a traitor, an incompetent, corrupt and threatened”.
Kennedy, who also recently said the party’s two-time presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s chances of winning the presidency should be re-examined, said: “Many Ghanaians have been shocked at the venom of these attacks” for some reasons.
According to him, the NPP’s internal elections to elect a flagbearer will be “presumably”, opened “to all party members with the requisite qualifications and Dr. Apraku, who was screened and deemed qualified to contest in 2007, would be qualified this time around”.
Secondly, Dr Kennedy wrote, “Dr. Apraku, has served the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo very loyally and deserves respect and courtesy, regardless of whether others agree with his ambitions or not”.
He said: “Indeed, he would be following in the foot-steps of Nana Akufo-Addo who put up an admirable losing contest against President Kufuor when the latter was seeking re-election as NPP Presidential candidate in 1998”.
Kennedy bemoaned: “It would appear that these attacks are motivated by the desire of some in our party to turn the next election of a flag-bearer for our party, into a coronation for the 2012 candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, instead of a fair fight between contestants with a level playing field”.
“Right in tandem with the attacks on Dr. Apraku, there have been declarations of “No-Nana-No –Vote” from the studios of Joy fm and from respected NPP branches like the UK branch, from London”.
He said the seeming attempt to stifle alternative voices in the party portends ill consequences.
“Indeed, before these declarations, none other than the General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka “Sir John”, had declared that Nana would be our candidate even if he was in a wheel-chair. That was the equivalent of a referee for a match between Kotoko and Hearts declaring before the match that Hearts would win the match no matter what. It is difficult to clearly decipher the meaning of “No-Nana-No vote” in our democratic dispensation. Does it mean that if, God forbid, Nana was to be summoned to meet his maker, these people would not vote for the next NPP candidate? Does it mean that if he loses, they will not support our winning candidate?”
“To add insult to injury”, he wrote, “as part of the campaign for leadership positions, current executives are being labeled as corrupt without any evidence. While I certainly support accountability for our leaders, we must be fair. That was why I was angry when those in charge of our court case were making wholesale charges of incompetence and corruption against many of our polling station agents who did their best despite insufficient training and resources from our leaders”.
Dr Kennedy has made some suggestions to the party toward forestalling an implosion.
First, General Secretary “Sir John” must stop acting like the Campaign Manager of Nana Akufo Addo and be the true and neutral Chief Executive Officer of the NPP. He is disappointing many of his ardent admirers, including myself. He is a better person, leader and Church Elder than his recent actions portray.
Second, the National Chairman and Council of Elders must start acting to restore our party’s democratic credentials. Their failure to act when they were so eager to discipline the likes of Tarzan is disappointing.
Third, I urge Dr. Apraku to stay firmly positive. While defending himself, he should resist firmly the temptation to descend into the gutter with others. He must be measured and positive in making his case and in responding to charges.
Next, no one in our party bears more responsibility for what is happening than our 2012 Presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo. These attacks on Apraku and others as well as these chants of “No-Nana-No- Vote” are being done by his supporters to benefit him and his silence has been deafening. When an elder permits young people to use his cutlass in slicing python meat, he cannot claim not to be responsible for the killing and slicing of the python. While Nana Addo has a very strong and persuasive case for his retention as flag-bearer if he decides to contest, it is my considered opinion that his silence in the face of these attacks are denting his leadership and democratic credentials, not only in the NPP but more importantly, in the nation at large. How can voters believe he will tolerate criticism as President when he will not tolerate it as a candidate? How can voters believe he will control his Ministers when he will not stand up to his supporters now? I urge the LEADER AND DEMOCRAT that I have known and respected, Nana Akufo-Addo, to stand up and be counted. He should dissociate himself from these attacks, call off the attacks and remove from his inner circle those who are destroying our great party in his name. One cannot destroy a party in order to lead it.
Finally, I am distressed at the number of NPP leaders who are silent in the face of these injustices that are destroying the party they profess to love. As the Bible puts it in Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”