The Ghanaian Observer (GO) newspaper says intelligence information it has gathered confirms the existence of a secret power scheme within the crowded leadership contest of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to stop Dan Botwe and Alan Kyerematen from being elected as the ruling party's next flagbearer for 2008.
Dan is a former Information Minister and a two term General Secretary of the party whilst Kyerematen is the Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and PSI.
According to the newspaper, the common charge is that the two “can't do the job.”
Dan is seen as a dark horse and Alan as the candidate who has bought for himself the most formidable campaign machinery to win the contest.
For reasons commonly shared by some very senior members of the NPP, several of the 19 or so potential candidates are even willing to sacrifice their own individual presidential ambitions and make sure none of the two men succeed, GO has learnt.
Already, GO can disclose that high powered meetings, usually bilateral, are being held between the various aspirants in this Stop-Alan-and-Dan campaign. The charge against Dan Botwe is that he's not a team player and has neither the skill nor the temperament to become Ghana's next President.
GO can further disclose that this sentiment is fully shared and endorsed by some persons at the Presidency, who are also bent on stopping the Dan train.
The name of Alan Kyerematen even commands a more emotive "we must stop him at all cost" response than that of Dan, outside of the Castle. His Cabinet colleagues, GO has learnt, are almost united in seeing the former EMPRETEC boss as a lightweight and not possessing the political weight and maturity to first unite the party to, ultimately, give the nation the necessary leadership.
His rumoured 'excessive' spending is the bone of serious anxiety for many other contestants, who are afraid that it only goes to buttress opposition charges that the NPP is riding on corruption.
His detractors charge that so widespread and elaborate is his so ¬called Kalamari campaign set up that the beneficiaries of his alleged financial and logistical largesse even cover polling station executives in over 20,000 polling stations across the country.
The Trade Minister is seen as a frontrunner, but the expectation of his detractors is that this would change as the nomination, expected in December gathers heat and the various schemes and horse-trading come to play.
Alan, who is rumoured to be on top of President Kufuor's wish list, invites, mixed reactions from his rivals, who can't understand why the President would wish to "hand over" his presidential throne to the man under whose control the President's own Special Initiatives for Ghana's industrialisation have suffered massive embarrassments.
GO is aware of insider trading within the NPP flagbearership race to stop Alan, a man his colleagues describe at best as an "aloof technocrat."
On top of Alan's woes is the fact that Dan Botwe is also willing to sacrifice his own ego if that is what would stop Alan from being crowned.
Indeed the Ghanaian Observer says it can further reveal that it was out of sheer resentment and annoyance about Alan considering himself as presidential material which motivated Dan to run as well.
Alan has not also been helped by being seen as the Castle's choice and the paper says it intends to publish an exclusive report that will show that the choices before the Castle are not as straightforward as some people may think.
Though, the paper said it could not vouch for the credibility of charges of flip flopping on party organisation against Dan Botwe, the Castle and others within the upper party echelons blame the Haruna Esseku and Dan Botwe era as doing very little to strengthen the party at the constituency level.
The former General Secretary who is affectionately called 'General' has been accused of limiting his competence to making the party little more than an election machine rather than building permanent structures, a failure which, his detractors say, has fed the disillusionment within the party at the constituency level.
When the President recently spoke in London to the party to go for experience rather than to vote on love and emotions, it is believed that message was a thinly 1 disguised early salvo in the Stop¬-Dan campaign.
GO can reveal that Dan Botwe has given notice that he would not just sit tight and take such "cheap shots." He's citing his five-year experience as a member of Kufuor's Cabinet from 2001 to 2006, as constituting enough experience.
He's said to be also willing to force people to compare notes, saying the President's own experience before 200 I was two years as Ministerial Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Ministry under Dr Busia.
The other candidates are also known to be very uneasy with what they see as Dan's extra ¬closeness to the people at the party headquarters. National Organiser, Lord Commey, and National Youth Organiser, John Boadu, are generally suspected to be "working for Dan." National Chairman, Peter Mac Manu, is also known to have a "soft spot" for Dan, the Cabinet Minister, who came out loudly and publicly to campaign for Mac Manu, when it was widely known that the President was working for Stephen Ntim for NPP National Chairman during the December 2005 contest.
But, one important check at the NPP HQ is Dan's successor, Nana Ohene Ntow. The two men get on like Rawlings and Kufuor.
Source: The Ghanaian Observer