- avoid early presidential primaries - but Party chalk says only congress can decide A leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the western region has warned the leadership of the party not to conceive any idea of going to congress early to elect a presidential candidate to contest the 2008 elections on the ticket of the party.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle in Takoradi a couple of weeks ago, he said the party could suffer a humiliating defeat in 2008 if priority attention was given to the early election of their presidential candidate with the view of getting enough time to market him. He noted that the desire to elect the candidate would overshadow the work of government since all ministers would focus their attention on who would be elected to lead the party in 2008.
He noted also that because of the huge reputation and popularity of President Kufuor, he would surely eclipse any candidate that would be elected to succeed him and thus defeat the purpose for which the party would want to go for an early congress. He further noted that the NPP won last year's elections due mainly to the popularity of the president.
Reacting to this theory, the western regional chairman of the NPP, Mr. Peter Mac Manu said the decision to either elect a presidential candidate as early as possible or wait for some time could only be taken by congress which is the highest decision making body of the party.
He said the party would be calling an emergency meeting soon, now that president Kufuor had been sworn into office and the issue raised by the leading member would be tabled for discussion, based on the reasons raised, and if that was accepted by the congress, the early election of the presidential candidate would be avoided.
Mac Manu noted that as a party and government that listened to advice, they would not downplay any good suggestion that would help the party retain power in 2008. 'But like I told you earlier, it is congress that can either accept or reject the decision,' he added.
The leading member told The Chronicle that what the NPP needed to do now was to concentrate on the good governance of the country and also work hard to create more employment for the jobless youth. He said if this aim was achieved, the electorate would look at the performance of the party and vote for it in 2008 without looking at the popularity of the candidate leading the party to the elections.
He noted that if the performance of the party within just four years in office and the last year's elections results were juxtaposed, one could see clearly that the Ghanaian electorate was not the sort of voter one had to joke with since he could change his mind at anytime.
According to him, when they looked at the numerous schools the government had constructed throughout the country, the number of road construction going on in the country, plus the mass cocoa spraying exercise, they had thought the electorate would consider these achievements and vote massively for the party but that did not happen.
Diagnosing the mindset of the electorate, he observed that unemployment was such a critical factor that apparently blinded them from the massive road constructions and wide network of school buildings across the country.
He said it was based on this that the party had to do away with the early election of a presidential candidate and focus instead on how to work hard and collectively as a government in power to create employment for the people.
He noted that it was the same ministers of state who were going to work hard to achieve this goal that would be engaged in an acrimonious campaign to secure the presidential slot of the party and thus shift their focus and unity.
“What is the sense in going to early congress to elect a presidential candidate only for us to lose the election in 2008 because we failed to perform as a party”, he asked and stressed that if his advise was not heeded, they would be heading towards certain defeat in 2008.
Turning his attention to the western region, the leading member said if the party was to win massively in 2008, they needed to work hard to revive companies such as the Bonsa Tyre Factory at Bonsa near Tarkwa and the Abosso Glass Factory at Abosso also near Tarkwa.
They would also have to work hard to bring more business activities to the port of Takoradi for the youth to get work to do and also revive the dying Ghana Railway Company.
'We need to revive these companies because the people are complaining that they have no work to do despite all the laudable achievements by the government in the past four years,' he said.
So far, none of the Presidential aspirants has directly pushed his or her candidature personally, although the handlers and lobbyists of two of the main candidates, Vice President Aliu Mahama and Nana Akufo Addo have been busy plugging their candidates.