Banking on the prospect of grabbing power or a slice of it, the two parties claiming linkages to the greatest African leader of all time, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, over the weekend went through the now familiar routine of merging, but came away with no secure deal.
'Don't dismiss this as a failed exercise,' warned Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, a leading member of the party who was not part of the meeting but said he had enough briefing to say categorically that it was not a failed exercise. The supposedly secret meeting was called to agree on a single name and symbol of a single Nkrumahist party following pressure on the leaders of the two parties to get their act together and come together as one to enable them have any chance of making an impact in the 2008 elections.
The Great Consolidated People's Party (GCPP), the party formed by 82- year old Dan Lartey was not part of the talks, largely because it really has no credible claim to Nkrumah, neither has the party any genuine structures that qualify it to be registered as a political party. At one of its numerous meetings held recently between the mainstream Convention People's Party and People's National Convention (PNC) to foster their much-touted formidable front, each of them was given an option to choose the name and symbol to present and defend at a later meeting.
In the early stages of the deliberations, the CPP had resolved not to drop the name and symbol even in the event of a possible merger with any other party, but at one of its central committee meetings, it decided to ask the party to be flexible in a give and take manner to smoothen proceedings.
So at Friday's meeting, the PNC resisted the proposed usage of the coconut tree of the PNC and the cockerel of the CPP as symbol. The PNC described this as an attempt to marginalize them since the name CPP had been accepted and insisted that their coconut symbol be accepted. This was rejected by the CPP and this led to a break up in the deliberations, with all parties packing their files to go and confer with their leadership for further direction to either accept, reject or modify the name and symbol.
Dr. Nii Noi Dowuona brushed aside Chronicle's inquiries yesterday, saying emphatically that the talks have not broken down, but ongoing. He promised that the united front would speak to the press at the appropriate time.
One source in the CPP said, "the PNC is being unfair and unreasonable to the rest of the Nkrumaist family." "If they sincerely believe they come from the same stock, they shouldn't have any difficulty accepting the family name and motto which has long existed." He suggested that the name CPP be maintained but conceded that the coconut tree as proposed by the PNC could be used as the symbol. He drew attention to the fact that the CPP family accepted this during the days of the late Dr. Hilla Limann, the deceased ex-President and driving force of the PNC.
According to him, if the Nkrumaist cannot bury their differences as a single political entity, they should leave the scene for people with fresh ideas to come, adding that both Dr Mahama and Dr. Delle should leave the political scene.
Mr. Mike Ampah, 44, a Public relations consultant and one of the young Turks of the CPP said there is a huge reservoir of significant names who are waiting in the wings for the CPP to give a better appearance for them to step in. He mentioned Professor Agyeman Badu Akosah, the Director General of the Ghana National Health Service as one of the dynamic heavyweights with national acceptance and credibility who are rearing to go in with the united CPP. 'In fact, I know of many more names including children of most of Nkrumah's District Commissioners and Ministers who think this is the time for the CPP to come out of hibernation and take centre stage.' Mr. Ampah said that all the members that attended the recent unity talks swore to be confidential on the deliberations so no one was willing to talk until they had come out with the result of a negotiated settlement.
"Nothing less will be accepted by us, judging from the single digit showing we put up in the last elections,' Mr. Ampah stated., adding confidently that, the united front would pull at least ten percent and possibly more to stop the two big parties, NPP and NDC into seeking their hand in marriage. 'Mark my words, we are looking at a coalition government in 2008 at the very least,' noted an upbeat Ampah in a telephone interview, adding that in Europe ,all the countries except Great Britain had a coalition government. 'That is what is going to happen in Ghana too'.
Dr. Sontim Tobigah, a former member of the board of the National Investment Bank and a spokesman of the PNC was not available to speak, neither was PNC secretary Alhaji Ramadan nor Honourable John Ndebugre, the MP who had been a key player in the meetings.