A leading member of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Dr Kwaku Osafo, has described the usual pre-election unity talks of Nkrumaist parties which had never been successful as a “subtle attempt to break the CPP and kill its vision of salvaging the country”.
He also blamed the lack of fulfilment of the unity talks to form a united CPP on the “intransigence of the smaller Nkrumaist parties and the ambition of their leaders to hold on to their positions”.
However, Mr Gabriel Pwamang, General Secretary of the People's National Convention (PNC), another Nkrumaist party, debunked the claim and criticised some elements within the CPP for always working to foil the unity talks.
He said leading members of the CPP did not exhibit good faith after the signing of the 1995 accord, which was “the road map leading to unity and not the unity itself”.
To a lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, Mr Ransford Gyampoh, the fragmented Nkrumaist parties in the country had failed Ghanaians.
He said instead of taking the opportunity of an absence of a third political force on the political landscape to put their acts together and form a formidable force in response to the demands of voters who were yearning for a third force, the CPP had resorted to petty squabbles over trivial issues.
Justifying his claim, Dr Osafo said the Convention Party (CP), the PNC, the PCP and the NCP with leaders such as the late former President Dr Hilla Limann, Mr Kojo Botsio, Mr Felix Amoah, Chris Eghan and the current General Secretary of the PNC, Prof Nii Noi Dowuona, signed an accord to bring all Nkrumaists together.
He said the accord, among other elements, stipulated that the central committee should ensure that the symbol, name, and motto of the CPP, which had then been proscribed, be restored.
Also the central committee was to ensure that those accepted into the fold of the CPP, be they Nkrumaist parties, organisations or groups came in without any precondition, such as a changed name change, symbol and colours.
The accord, he said stated that the united party must make structural changes to accommodate those who would join the CPP.
He alleged that just after the death of Dr Limann in 1998, some leading members of the PNC surreptitiously applied to the Electoral Commission (EC) to use the name CPP, which the EC refused, a move which was also seen by many as a betrayal.
Dr Osafo, who is also a leading member of the Patriots, a group within the CPP which claims to be re-organising the party, wondered why people would talk of concession before joining the CPP.
He challenged all those who believed in the Nkrumaist ideals, especially those in the smaller parties, to enter the CPP, contest any position of their choice and help with resource mobilisation, because there was equal opportunity for every Nkrumaist to contest any position in the party.
He also argued that as it had been the norm, should the parties start unity talk today, as usual, the process to agree on certain details would take some time, meanwhile time was not on their side as far as the 2008 elections were concerned and offered the same advice to those Nkrumaists who intended to form a new political party.
Dr Osafo quizzed those entering the unity talks with conditions that would invariably affect the name, symbol and colours of the original CPP formed by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, whether any of them had contributed anything to the vision of Nkrumah which merited any alteration of the name, symbol, the motto or the colours of the CPP.
He reminded all those calling for concessions before affiliating with the CPP that the party was a legacy bequeathed to all Nkrumaists by Dr Nkrumah, “a party that liberated Ghana and initialled the freedom movement that brought about the emancipation of most African countries”.
Dr Osafo said the significance of the name, symbol and colours, which were the grandeur and esprit de corps for the blacks in the Diaspora by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, could not be downplayed.
“We should develop the habit of defending our heritage, the Republicans in the US had at times been out of power for years, likewise the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa who had also not substituted any of their identity. So why do we want to throw away the CPP, its motto, colours and symbols,” Dr Osafo asked.
He stated that there was no evidence that the Nkrumaist political parties that were refusing to join the CPP would ever win elections, yet their leaders had maintained their positions just to attend state functions.
He also advised other Nkrumaist groupings, such as the Socialist Forum, to refrain from the peripheral activities which would not earn the CPP any vote, but should rather concretise their actions in ensuring that the CPP came to power so that their vision of Nkrumaism would be realised.
Explaining, Mr Pwamang reminded Dr Osafo that supporters and members of the PNC who had worked with the party's symbol, name and colours demanded that all should not be lost in the attempt to unify all Nkrumaists.
He said the PNC was a democratic party, where its leadership derived its strength and authority from the members and, therefore, could not do anything contrary to the will of the members, and even to those who had left the CPP for both the NDC and the NPP
He made it clear that the 1995 accord never united the PNC and the PNP, but was a road map that would have led to an eventual unity.
Mr Pwamang said the parties that signed the accord had an agenda which culminated in bringing together elders of both parties to establish a mechanism for fusing their structures together in the shortest possible time, and holding congresses to consummate the unity talks.
He said the accord was never implemented, because at the meeting to discuss a joint congress, the CPP said it would bring six delegates from each constituency while the PNC brings brought two.
“If you come to negotiations with such a proposal, it means you are bent on defeating us in anything,” he added.
According to Mr Pwamang, the PNC also proposed a leadership fusion where the CPP would take the chairmanship position and the PNC would take the deputy slot, with this running through all the positions which will be endorsed by the joint congress and to prove to the world that this was really a united party.
He said the CPP leadership refused to accept the reasonable proposal by the PNC leadership just before the 2000 election but afterwards called for another talks.
He said the PNC currently had four members in Parliament while the CPP had only two and that must be recognised in all negotiations
Story by Donald Ato Dapatem