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30.03.2007 General News

CPP Presidential Race • Issues At Stake

Barring any hitches, the Convention People's Party (CPP), the oldest political machinery south of the Sahara will go to congress in August, this year, to elect a candidate for the 2008 Presidential election.

This would be the third time that the CPP, as a political party under the Fourth Republic, would be attempting to seek the people's mandate to re-arrange the social and economic order of the country.

Candidates of the CPP registered marginal votes in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, which were won by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Both Messrs George Panyin Hagan and George Oposika Aggudey could not get beyond even five per cent of the total votes cast in the respective elections.

What really accounted for the dismal performance of the CPP, especially during the 2004 polls and what are the real challenges of the party and presidential aspirants as the party prepares for another congress and general election?

In addition, what would be the factors which will determine the winner of the presidential primary in which the 2004 presidential candidate of the party, Mr Aggudey, has already announced his intention to contest in his bid to lead the party once again in the 2008 polls.

The abysmal performance of the CPP in both the presidential and parliamentary election was self-inflicted.

Majority of the leading members of the party decided to pitch their tents with other political parties at the expense of their own presidential candidate, who was duly elected at the party's national delegates congress in September 2003.

This stance taken by such leading members weakened the resolve of the rest of the functionaries to campaign for the CPP presidential candidate to enable him to make an impact in the election.

Not only did they withdraw their moral support for Mr Aggudey, but also they denied the campaign team financial support for the procurement of logistics such as vehicles, public address systems, T-shirts, posters and other electoral paraphernalia to support him in his bid to win the polls.

Party work is carried out in the various constituencies and not at the national secretariat of a political party but in the case of the CPP, the majority of its activists, especially at the national headquarters and the regions chose to sit in the comfort of their offices instead of being on the field campaigning for the presidential and parliamentary candidates.

The reasons assigned by a few of the activists interviewed by the writer were that the national secretariat of the party did not send them monies and logistics which could have facilitated their campaign in their respective constituencies.

True to their anticipation, the monies never came and in some cases, some activists played into the hands of the opponents of the party, who coaxed them to support them in their campaigning.

In addition, there were some among the ranks of the CPP who were against the election of Mr Aggudey as the presidential candidate of the party and for that matter strived to undermine his chances of making an impact in the poll.

Such personalities went to the extent of encouraging the electorate to vote for the candidates of the other political parties.

Some of such personalities have not shown any sign of remorse for the part they played in denouncing Mr Aggudey even after the 2004 election but have continued to treat him with contempt.

One needs to realise that mortals are fallible and fragile and for that matter commit lots of mistakes, which could be atoned for.

The writer accompanied Mr Aggudey on his campaign tours in 2004 and found to his chagrin that absolutely nothing had been done by way of marketing the flag bearer to the electorate.

In majority of the constituencies visited in the Eastern, Upper West, Upper East and the Northern regions, the electorate were not aware that the CPP was also participating in the general election.

This was because, the few CPP offices in those areas had been closed down, a situation which arose from the fact that the party had defaulted in the payment of rents or their activists had travelled to other parts of the country in search of jobs.

It was also ironic that several communities had not even seen the picture of the presidential candidate of the party when the general election was just a week away.

Enquiries made by the writer indicated that even though pictures of Mr Aggudey had been despatched to such constituencies some time earlier, the activists, for reasons best known to themselves had refused to display them for public to know him.

An uncanny strategy that some of the executive adopted was to abscond to undisclosed destinations whenever they heard of the presence of Mr Aggudey in their respective constituencies.

So in several constituencies that Mr Aggudey visited, he did not have the company of the executive to introduce him to the electorate, much more support him to distribute amongst the people, the paraphernalia that he had brought from Accra.

In other words, the CPP sowed its own seeds of destruction and paid dearly for it in the general election.

Mr Aggudey put his trust in compatriots who had clamoured on rooftops as disciples of the late First President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, but whose actions left much to be desired, in the last polls.

Will the same scenario be repeated next year?

Article by Kweku Tsen