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27.09.2002 General News

CPP to join NPP for 2002

By The Statesman
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The leadership of the Parliamentary Action Group (GAP) of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has pledged its full support for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2004 Presidential election.

This, coming on top earlier calls by other leading members of the influential and pragmatic wing of the party, is the clearest indication so far that the Nkrumaist party will opt for some, form of electoral pact with the ruling party.

But, another leading member of the CPP and a fierce critic of the PAG, Kweisi Pratt Jnr, has denounced the move, accusing his colleagues of subverting the Nkrumaist course amid plans to form a “progressive” but ideological alliance with other parties such as the National Reform Party, instead.

Revealing the news exclusively to The Statesman, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and leader of the PAG, Freddie Blay, sees throwing its support behind the only party that appears capable of preventing the return to power of the National Democratic Congress, as a strategy worth pursuing.

The declaration of support for the NPP in the next Presidential election, according to the CPP's only Parliamentarian, is motivated purely by the greater need to strengthen democracy in Ghana, and to allow his party to focus more effectively on strengthening its political base at the constituency level.

Freddie Blay, who is also the publisher of the Daily Guide, warns that his group would defy the CPP and go along with the NPP if the party refuses to see the wisdom in an electoral pact with the ruling party in 2004.

"When there is democracy, the CPP can organise itself and become attractive enough to be elected into power and then we can establish a common and healthy rivalry to the NPP," said he. "The Action Group would fight with the NPP to prevent the NDC from returning to power," pledges its leader.

The NDC, he notes, were never ready for democracy. "They were forced to go for it." The MP for Ellembelle is convinced that his party cannot win the 2004 elections. "Anybody who thinks the CPP is winning the 2004 general elections does not appreciate the realities on the ground. That person is out of tune with the reality," stresses he.

But, the Managing Editor of the Insight, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, has taken a swipe at Freddie Blay for the MP's pessimism (or realism) on the CPP's fate in 2004. "I don't accept the analysis that the CPP is not going to win the 2004 election. Unless Blay is a soothsayer-because there's no way of predicting what is to happen on the political front before 2004."

While refusing to be drawn in on which of the two major parties he would rather see in power in 2004. Pratt does not see much difference between the ruling party and the main opposition party. "In terms of policy orientation, there's not much to choose between the NDC and the NPP."

The leader of the Parliamentary Action Group, on the other hand, believes that the CPP can learn a lot from smaller parties elsewhere, whose political orientation may appear poles apart from their bigger and stronger governing partners. Citing the recent elections in Germany, Freddie Blay said that J. Fischer's Greens and Schroeder's Social Democrats had to come together to beat off a strong challenge from Stoeber's Christian Democrats.

The Green Party, which draws support from less than 12 per cent of the German electorate, has become a major player in the country's politics, holding powerful cabinet portfolios such as foreign affairs.

In Ghana today, even before any formal pact has been arranged with the NPP, the CPP boasts of a Cabinet Minister in the person of Dr Kwesi Nduom, another member of the PAG who favours Kufuor's Presidential bid in two years time.

Freddie Blay describes CPP executives who are opposed to the Parliamentary Action Group as "Headquarters Constituents." In what seems like a thinly disguised swipe at Kwesi Pratt and others, Freddie Blay says:

"They have lost touch with what is going on in the constituencies. They think a party is organised by having radio programmes and press Conferences." Beaming with confidence, Blay predicts, "when the time comes, I am convinced a lot of people will see the facts and the logic and support what we are doing."

Blay explains that the only objective of the Action Group is to increase the number of CPP Parliamentary seats in the 2004 general elections, adding cautiously, "I am CPP." Kwesi Pratt Jnr, who absolutely dismisses the argument for an electoral pact sees the immediate future of the CPP conversely. "The party line is very simple. We are building a party which is independent of both the NPP and the NDC."

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