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10.09.2015 Opinion

Old Wounds Re - Open In NPP?

Old Wounds Re - Open In NPP?
LISTEN SEP 10, 2015

'Hence it is evident that the state is a creation of nature and that man is by nature a political animal. And he who by nature and not by mere accident is without a state, is either above humanity or below it; he is the 'tribe-less, lawless, heartless one, whom Homera denounces - the outcast who is a lover of war, he may be compared to a bird which flies alone'

Aristotle 4th BC
AKENTEN APPIAH - MENKA is a name that reverberates in all the corners and crevices—the nooks and crannies– of the New Patriotic Party. He identifies himself as a village boy, lawyer, politician and entrepreneur. In his autobiography 'The River in the Sea,' is a brief account of the history of the New Patriotic Party, the architects and their various roles in the formation of the party.

He recalls: 'Primarily, the breakup of the Second Republic of the Progress Party Frontline was regrettably the uncompromising off - spring of the professional and personality clashes between Victor Owusu on one side against N.Y.B. Adade… The other cause of the breakup of the post– Second Republic Progress Party frontline was lack of expertise in the Danquah - Busia - Dombo tradition to handle and manage crisis within a political party, as well as the arrogance and pride of members to subject their personal and sometimes petty and over - ambitious wishes to the main and central body interest. A defect which still persists in the DBB (Danquah—Busia—Dombo) tradition and needs serious diagnosis and prescription'.

A political party is an organisation of people who come together with particular beliefs and compete in elections to try to win positions in local and national government. Every political party counts on numbers to win elections; therefore, those elected to lead and run the affairs of a political party should do well to make it attractive. Party matters are best discussed within the confines and corridors of the particular political parties. In a modern democracy, any attempt at bringing people together in a 'dialogue' is considered a prestigious stock—in—trade of experienced individuals, elders, or others respected for their good judgment and wisdom. Such a task is not left in the hands of hot—headed, inexperienced, infantile rabble-rousers and nincompoops.

A lot of people know the backgrounds of most NPP officers. Paul Afoko has for long been associated with the NPP, President J.A. Kufuor and Kwadwo Mpiani. But he is a self—respecting, principled man. He will not subordinate himself for any monetary consideration; he will never be anybody's man'. Kwabena Agyapong is equally a long—standing advocate of democracy, and associated with the NPP. He played a critical role in the Kufuor administration, not less being a spokesperson for the Castle's activities. Freddie Blay is a great catch of the NPP. A veteran politician, an Nkrumahist, he is a dependable figure for the NPP to garner votes from the Western Region, and especially from his Ellembelle Constituency. Alan Kyeremateng is taking his cool time, after losing to Nana Akufo Addo in the presidential primaries; he finds time to move with Nana Addo on his rounds. And he does not display any sign of bitterness.

The recent wrangling within the NPP does not enthuse the rank - and- file of the party membership - save, of course, the conflictants. The newspapers see this tango as 'old wounds' being opened or re - opened. What are the 'old wounds'? Has the NPP not wriggled itself free of the ghosts of 'arrogance', 'pride' and other negative attributes, including 'self - conceit'? People living outside Ghana keep asking: 'What is happening at home?' They hear of the rapid depreciation of the cedi, the continuous running of 'dumsor—dumsor', the rising prices of goods and foodstuffs. But they have also heard about the goings—on in the New Patriotic Party—and are deeply worried that their last hope for political survival, and their eventual return home, is crumbling.

Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong are elected Chairman and General Secretary respectively of the New Patriotic Party. They have their roles in the party officially cast and moulded in the Constitution of the party. So also are the roles of the First Vice Chairman and the Treasurer. The roles of all the other officers of the party are equally specified. So, 'the CID Headquarters is investigating a case of alleged diversion of NPP funds by First Vice–National Chairman, Freddie Blay, and the Treasurer, Abankwa Yeboah, contrary to laid down procedure'? Whose money? The contributions from the MPs? Or money Nana Addo has personally raised for his campaign, to boost his chances for success in the 2016 election?

Kwabena Agyapong thinks he has been 'sidelined' and goes to complain, not to the Council of Elders, nor the National Executive Council, but the press - the radio and the newspaper. Should he not be peeved? Is he not human? So, he goes to the press and talks blah, blah, blah. Paul Afoko is quiet. Not that he is taciturn, but his silence appears tactical, and well calculated, advising himself that: 'Speech is silvern, silence is golden'. The 'DAILY GUIDE' gives a picture of Chairman Paul Afoko, and they write: 'The Chairman's story is a case study in political intrigue underpinned by pedantic manoeuvres…The supporters of the NPP could soon heave a sigh of relief since it would appear that the end of the road is closed, with the mother of all goofs by the party chairman who has mastered the art of hiding behind shadowy characters to throw mud at his perceived enemies'. Is that true about Paul Afoko? Would it not serve the NPP to stop labeling and stereotyping?

But who is this Baah Acheamfour who took party matters to the police? What does he seek to gain? He may have good intentions, but did he choose the right forum? What the players are doing is nothing less than providing fodder for the opponents of the party. The timing of this bombshell, coming as it did, on the heels of the 'Arise and Build' national tour of the leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, appears worrisome to some analysts. Some think it is an exercise of self–destruction.

Akenten Appiah -Menka reminds Ghanaians of the role of a 'leader' of a political party. He recalls that the name New Patriotic Party was unilaterally given by da Rocha, after the committee set up to work out the detailed functioning of the new party had proposed 'National Patriotic Party'. He adds that the decision to boycott the Parliamentary elections, after the disastrous show of the NPP's Presidential candidate, in the 1992 election, was unilaterally taken by Professor Albert Adu Boahen.

Veteran Menka thinks rigid application of law does not work for any political party. Readers may be reminded of 'The Hawthorne Effect' in which informal relations were found to play a crucial role in the success of businesses. Carlos Ahenkora is the parliamentary candidate of the NPP for Tema West. He demonstrates his political astuteness by thinking like Appiah Menka: 'Suppose Nana Akuffo Addo holds the hands of Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong and says: 'These are my Chairman and General Secretary…They are the people I am going to work with'… What will be the effect of such a move? Will that not be a practical demonstration of attempt at 'unifying' the various 'factions', if they exist?'

Arthur Kennedy may be pardoned for the unwarranted attacks on Nana Akufo Addo, including one that questions Nana Addo's claim of incorruptibility. Who will challenge the story by a whale that a crocodile had died? He may know something the average Ghanaian may not know, he, having worked closely with Nana Addo in the 2012 election.

Thomas Gray in the concluding stanza of the 'Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat (Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes)'notes: 'From hence, ye beauties, undeceived, Know, one false step is ne'er retrieved, And be with caution bold, Not all that tempts your wondering eyes, And heedless hearts is lawful prize; Not all that glitters is gold'. No one in NPP gains by fishing in troubled waters.

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