The Accra Daily Mail says even as the NPP was toasting itself last Sunday at its national rally at Kasoa, there were growing signs that the ruling party is losing its way in its succession programme. Dissatisfaction, suspicion, fear and even hate have taken over in this mean spirited campaign to succeed President Kufuor.
According to the paper, an agitated chairman of a Brong Ahafo constituency, pleading strict anonymity, last Friday night spoke to ADM on what he described as the "terrible thing happening to our party". He told ADM that a former minister, also the MP for a constituency in Kumasi "descended" on the Brong Ahafo Region to canvass support for a presidential aspirant.
This former minister told the B.A. constituency chairmen that he was campaigning for "the preferred choice of Accra". The significance of "Accra" was not lost on the chairmen and they quickly grasped the meaning.
This former minister, himself the subject of much controversy, leading to his resignation last year, then proceeded to offer "assistance" to the constituency executives to influence them to entice delegates to vote for Accra's choice. Each constituency chairman received ¢10 million, other executive members each received ¢3 million; ¢10 million was also "donated" to each constituency to "help" with the organization of delegate selection. By the end of it all, ¢150 million had been spent on each constituency.
Special mobile phones were also given to each of the executives. The chairman who spoke to ADM said "we were given mobile phones with television". These must be the latest multimedia phones on the market. He departed with the promise that more would follow once Accra's bidding is achieved.
Reports from Tamale and the north, according to the paper, also spoke of lesser amounts and some cheap phones floating about.
It is circulated that now that the delegates are selected, the leading spender is ready to visit each delegate with an envelope containing US dollars!
A Central Region constituency chairman called a source known to ADM and narrated a similar story. According to him the aspirant himself had "descended" on the Central Region and splurged ¢50 million on each constituency with the promise of more to come.
The complaining chairman was grateful for the windfall but concerned about the legacy of such politicking.
This heavy spending is replicated all over the regions and constituencies but in fairness, not by all the aspirants but by a few who have constituted themselves into the elite of "moneycracy" throwing all caution to the wind and openly using money to determine the outcome of this month's congress.
The principle or lack of it in this strategy is to use money and more money where persuasion with ideas fails. So far the party leadership and elders have remained cagey about this development which makes total nonsense of "Zero Tolerance for Corruption", said the paper.
Compounding this murky use of money in the race to succeed President Kufuor is the sinister role being played by some Regional Ministers, Municipal and District Chief Executives. These Ministers, MCEs and DCEs, also claiming instructions from Accra have adopted tactics that can only be described as intimidation and coercion to whip constituency executives into line to ensure a win for Accra's choice.
For some inexplicable reason, it is the RMs, DCE, and MCEs of the three Northern regions who have been targeted in this grand strategy. Recent sackings and appointments have rather heightened the suspicion that Accra may indeed be sending a strong message to MCEs and DCEs to fall in line.
Exercising his right to remain anonymous, a DCE complained to an ADM source that they are on strict orders to deliver their districts to Accra's choice. In an interesting turn of events, this DCE told the ADM source to "use your influence in the media to blow this up because we are under intense pressure." And that is how come ADM got this lead. ADM has since cross-checked with other sources in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale and meetings at the MCE's residence and other places to advance Accra's choice have been confirmed.
In the Upper East Region, the Regional Minister is reported to be rounding up regional and constituency executives to "convince" them to bloc vote on December 22. But the Northern Regional Minister, who is said to be eyeing a running mate slot promised him by another aspirant is "bravely" holding out and is said therefore to be in open confrontation with his MCE who is neck deep in the grand strategy to deliver to Accra's choice.
The above narration could be put down to the intrigues of the cloak and dagger politics of the Third World. Perhaps, but is that not also the genesis of all the trouble spots of the continent?