Akufo-Addo's 'Weaknesses' - a Setback for the NPP in 2016
It is surprising to note that many members and sympathisers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have overlooked the weaknesses of Nana Akufo-Addo ever since he became the leader of our great party. This ignorance, I believe to a very large extent, has caused the party two electoral defeats, but regrettably, no useful lesson has been learnt from it. Is the Akufo-Addo we knew as a courageous, unifier, disciplinarian, fair and firm in the yesteryears, the same Akufo-Addo we know in his post-flagbearership era? This write-up seeks to find the answer.
Firstly, Nana Addo's major weakness as a leader lies in his inability to unite people for a common good. If a cursory look is taken at Election 2008, he was short of just 23,000 popular votes to become Ghana's president. Yet, Nana Addo failed to woo other third parties and independent candidates to his side during the run-off, something Candidate J.A. Kufuor capitalized on to beat a sitting Vice President, John Mills in Election 2012. So, whose fault was it that Nana Addo lost Election 2008 by 40,000 votes?
The adage goes that; "Opanin ntena fie ma asenua mfo", which literary means, the Elderly must not sit unconcerned whilst the stool gets wet. In the Kufuor era, hardly did any Ghanaian, and for that matter, Kukrudite hear the issue of factionalism within the NPP. But today, factionalism has become the order of the day in the party. Nana Addo's back-room staff are full of vindictiveness and seem to have personal scores to settle with others. Those surrounding Nana Addo see Mr. Alan Kyeremateng as a threat to his presidential ambition. For instance, at the NPP rally at Mantse Agbonaa in Accra prior to Election 2012, Alan was professionally and deliberately denied the opportunity to speak on the platform by the MC for the occasion, who happens to be a close associate of Nana. It is common knowledge that Alan's supporters have almost been hounded from their own party, forgetting that, the affable man, Alan Cash has a huge stake in the NPP.
It can be deduced from the above that Nana Addo and his advisors have not imbibed with them, the spirit of reconciliation as exemplified by former president Kufuor. For apart from reconciling all Ghanaians in the name of National Reconciliation, Kufuor brought all NPP members under one umbrella. Right from the Sunyani Congress in 1998, Kufuor worked in harmony with Nana Addo and his Campaign Manager, Mr. Kwabena Agyapong by making the two a Cabinet Minister and Spokesperson respectively. The likes of Nduoms (CPP) Mallam Issah (PNC) etc became part of the Kufuor administration. Couldn't Nana Addo take a cue from this and assign roles to Hon. Alan Kyeremateng, Hon. Isaac Osei, and Prof. Frimpong-Boateng etc in the 2012 elections?
Notwithstanding the above, Nana Addo posture as a disciplinarian, courageous, fair and firm personality became suspect as an NPP leader. Too much room was given to his supporters to operate and this worked against him. The attitude and posture of the immediate past NPP National Executives added salt to injury. The open declaration by Sir John and Jake with regard to Nana Addo's third term bid right after the Supreme Court verdict was a non-starter. Presenting Nana Addo even in a wheel chair for Election 2016, forcing Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on the NPP, and the NPP-UK Branch's "No Nana, No Vote" were all provocative. These statements, actions, and stance were all contrary to the NPP Constitution, but Nana Addo could not have the courage to condemn such actions. Recently, an Aide to Nana Addo, Mustapha Hamid spoke ill about Alan Cash, but as usual, Nana failed to crack the whip. From the above, it can be concluded that there is no difference between Prof. Mills' and Nana Addo's leadership styles, especially when the former kept mute for the 'babies with sharp teeth' to have their way.
"To be forewarned, they say, is to be forearmed", but whether Nana Addo paid attention to the above quote or not is another thing altogether. A lot of people within and outside the NPP complained bitterly about Nana Addo's close associates, especially the "Akyem Mafias", but this complaint was also overlooked. It is a fact that the way some of these guys and communicators carry themselves put potential voters off. Some of these people wrongly assume that the NPP is theirs because Dr. J. B. Danquah was the architect of the formation of the UP Tradition. If you think about how the Danquah-Dombo-Busia Institute has now metamorphosed into Danquah Institute, then it tells volumes about the issue I've just raised. On countless occasions, Nana Addo has been portrayed by these people as the president of the country. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult for even NPP sympathisers to give Nana Addo a common handshake, let alone talk to him. He is shielded by his security apparatus as if he is Obama entering Osama's territory. They don't give Nana Addo a free role to interact with the 'common people' and this attitude sends a wrong signal to the public. The perception out there is that, Nana Addo wants to become president at all cost and follow the footsteps of his late father. If perception counts in politics, then it is up to the NPP delegates to do the right thing now. How do you win the presidency on the ticket of NPP, when your people speak ill about the occupant of the Golden Stool, and also create a camp against former president Kufuor?
Another serious thing that has been a stumbling block to Nana Addo's presidential ambition is the way he has been portrayed by his admirers. They see Nana Addo as the epitome of holiness, which is tantamount to being a saint or angel. These die-hards easily forget that Nana Addo is a mortal soul and thus, makes mistakes. For instance, his two political statements; "All die be die" and "Y3n Akanfo" were misinterpreted to cause damage to the NPP in Election 2012, yet none of his close associates advised him to apologize and refine them. How many NPP sympathisers were aware that these two statements together with Hon. Ken Agyapong's take on Ewes and Gas were written boldly on the doors of all Voltarians? Unfortunately, if you give a constructive criticism to Nana Addo, you're likely to see the wrath of those guys who think they love Nana more than how Nana loves himself. You're either tagged as Alan Boy or suspended from the party. But, is Alan Kyeremateng a member of the NPP or NDC? If the NPP has accepted wholeheartedly the likes of Frances Essiam (former Women's Organiser of NDC), and Freddie Blay (former CPP MP), and could visit Rawlings in his house, why can't we accept Alan and all that he represents?
In winding down, I'd like to put on record that, I, Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, will continue to do a dispassionate analysis of the facts available. Nana Akufo-Addo appears to be a weak candidate for the NPP in Election 2016, because of probably his physique, personality, and posture. His electoral fortunes also appear to be dwindling from three (3) regions to a struggling two (2) regions. In 2008, he lost by 40,000 votes, but this increased to 300,000 votes, not forgetting his current age. We need a stronger candidate. Though, I've supported and defended Nana Addo since 2008, especially his flagship policy on free SHS, it's only a fool who doesn't change his mind when the facts are starring you in the face. NPP members should move away from being traditional to transitional; emotional to rational, and selfishness to selflessness. The party urgently needs a candidate whose personality and posture can match that of Prez Mahama, because it looks like our 'illiterate voter' population value these qualities more than anything else. I strongly believe Alan Kyeremateng suitably fills the gap. Nana Addo has had two clear chances, but unfortunately, he has been the architect of his own failure due to several controversies surrounding him. Think NPP! Think Victory!!
God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!
Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri. Email: [email protected]