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25.04.2007 General News

Nduom for President?

By Nana Obeng-Danquah

Paa Kwesi Nduom for President', a message that may be on a poster near you soon. The cat is finally out of the bag.

As reported by this paper two years ago (but denied), Dr Nduom has been positioning himself to form "a new political party,” that will offer a "credible challenge” to the political duopoly held by the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress.

Checks made by this paper have unearthed a letter drafted by all seven Parliamentarians of the Nkrumaist parties agreeing to the formation of such a new political party. The Crusading Guide disclosed news of the new party yesterday.

The desire is for the new party to become the unifying force for all the Nkrumaist splinter groups. But, so far there is little indication of the new movement receiving the endorsement of the existing leadership of the respective parties.

The party is expected to be launched by August. Enough petitions have been received nationwide to satisfy the Electoral Commission of the new party"s national appeal. But, if the parliamentary caucus of the Convention People's Party and the People"s National Convention are not able to bring on board their mother parties their efforts could result in merely the formation of an additional Nkrumaist front. (See Editorial)

Dr Nduom says he is even prepared to “sacrifice” his parliamentary seat if that is what it takes to bring about the new party. “I just don't believe that the CPP tradition is going anywhere as it. I like what the UP tradition has done. It's kept its basic principles; it's kept its members and, more importantly, it has broadened its support base.”

Speaking to The Statesman Tuesday, Dr Nduom recalled that a united Nkrumaist front has been the shared wish of the leaders of all the splinter groups for the best part of the Fourth Republic.

“Many people, including Kwesi Pratt, agree that we've wasted enough time arguing over names and symbols. If the leadership of both the CPP and PNC has grown tired about the need to unite, then some of us feel we must now take over the initiative and champion the formation of a new party.”

The Minister in charge of Public Sector Reforms and CPP MP for KEEA believes a new party is needed to “bring together not only the Nkrumaists but those who want an alternative to the NPP and NDC.”

Is he eying the presidency in 2008?

“Don't mistake me for the Foreign Minister,” he said chuckling. “Right now I need to work for us to get a credible organisation in place. That's fundamental. That's where my focus is now.”

Are you going for the Presidency?

"Well, a lot of people have talked to me about it. But right now I need to focus."

Nduom for President?

"With these things you need to get your feasibility right. You don't just jump into it like that. Getting the new party formed is one battle that I want to deal with now."

Yet, The Statesman can report that there's every indication that the chairman of Nkrumaist caucus in Parliament is preparing himself not only to launch a party, but to lead it, even if only to contest the next parliamentary elections and not the presidential race.

One can, perhaps, get a better glimpse into the likely direction of Dr Nduom's political ambitions, through the updated information provided on his website, www.nduom.com. He calls it "All Inclusive Campaign for Prosperity of All Ghanaians."

"The website makes all NPP aspirants' websites look like a scribbling pad for kindergarten kids," observes NPP activist, Calus Von Brazzi.

In 2005, we reported that at 10am on December 2, 2005 which incidentally happened to be National Farmers Day, Dr Nduom held a secret meeting at his Coconut Groove Hotel, Accra. There, he met the nucleus of a team that was drawn from the Ho Polytechnic, Friends of the NPP, TESCON members, KNUST students, IPS students and a few other political activists from all the existing political parties. He circulated a document titled "Is There A Need for a New Political Party?"

The fourth paragraph of the document reads: "The new party aims to gather like-minded people from all parts of Ghanaian society, activists from the existing political parties and others who are looking for a credible alternative that would be competitive in the 2008 elections."

Though he denied our story at the time that he was planning to form a new party, yesterday he was more than willing to confirm to us its imminence. He's not concerned about the name or symbol to be adopted.

He does not want it to be seen as just another Nkrumaist party. "It's rather an effort to bring people together."

What if the leadership of the Nkrumaist parties does not buy into it? "If the convincing is not possible and still all of us involved in the process insist it is the right thing to do then I am prepared to make whatever sacrifice it takes. We should not be afraid of a new party tag at all."

The proposed party aims to galvanise the youth of Ghana, especially those who are disenchanted with the two main parties in contemporary Ghana.

Talk of an eventual merger with Obed Asamoah's Democratic Freedom Party is not been encouraged, at least, at the moment.

On his website, under the page 'Agenda for Ghana', Dr Nduom sets out his vision:

"I believe that we Ghanaians CAN continuously create wealth to improve the worth and welfare of our people. We CAN together, seek to build a society of disciplined individuals with a passion for excellence. We CAN raise the average income of its citizens to $10,000 in our lifetime.

"This will happen if we focus on doing things differently. Our success will also be predicated on doing different things than we have done in the past. Our immediate focus should be to ensure that all our people have access to the basic necessities of life.

"I came to this conclusion during my tenure as Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission. I had the opportunity to tour all the ten regions of the country and interact with our people. I have also had the opportunity to visit South Korea, Singapore and other countries that have been able to rise from poverty conditions to become relatively prosperous nations in the past three decades.

"In 2001, I decided that Ghana needed to concentrate on only four areas - Culture & Attitude, Healthy, Productive Communities; Long-Term Savings; and National Identification System in order to accelerate our development. If we get it right in these areas, and it will need good leadership, Ghana CAN be whatever it wants to be."0.

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