Presidential Dogfight in NPP Salted With Danger
The press secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Mr. Kwadwo Afari has described the power struggle in the party as pointless and a distraction of the government from the real problems affecting the people.
"I consider the power struggle as too much, too early, especially considering the fact that we are just five months into our second term mandate. Why don't we concentrate our energies on effectively implementing our policies," he asked when pressed to comment whether he considered the power struggle a distraction.
Mr. Afari made the observations in an interview with Public Agenda the NPP headquarters in Accra.
He said in reaction to the infighting that the party has sent out a memo reminding its members to abide with the rules and regulations in the party's constitution regarding the nominations of presidential cnadidates and related issues. "Our party's constitution says nominations for the position of the flag bearer is opened a year to the general elections. We are not yet there. We have not opened nominations, let alone campaigning," he warned.
On whether those who had publicly declared their intentions to represent the NPP in the 2008 presidential race were violating the party constitution, Afari said the strength of the NPP was anchored on its liberal nature and thought it was their right. Afari believes it is wrong to force people into a straightjacket decision making. Diversity is our strength," Afari bragged.
When it was suggested to him that the party's too much liberalism could be the cause of the fracas between the Vice President and Hawah Yakubu, Mr. Afari brushed the issue aside, claiming he was not aware of any frosty relationship between the Vice President and Honorable Hawah Yakubu. "I don't know of any fracas between the Vice President and Hawah.
"The Vice President has come out to say that it is too early be talking about who will be the NPP presidential candidate in 2008. As far as Hawah is concerned she has declared her intention to represent the NPP in 2008. That is her decision and it is her right. The Vice President has not said no she can't be. So I see no fracas here," he denied.
In an apparent reference to Mohammed Awal who claims to be an aide to the Vice President, Afari insinuated that "if some one says he is an assistant to the Vice President, it doesn't necessarily mean what he says represents the views of the Vice President. Whatever that person says are the person's views.
He then turned his anger on the media and accused some media houses of fanning tension in the party instead of focusing on important issues. Citing the Hotel Kufour saga as an example, Afari said instead of engaging in finding out the truth, the media continue to peddle half truths and hearsays.
He further alleged that some media houses are being used by the opposition to discredit the government. He also accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of engaging in hate propaganda, saying, " We will not sit down and allow people who are envious of others' successes to distort the truth."
Unlike Afari, Nana Akuffo Addo, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and an NPP presidential hopeful for the 2008 elections, has publicly acknowledged the difficult days ahead of the party as President Kufour rounds off his last term of office. In a reply to a call by Victor Newman, a leading member of the NPP to assert himself as a successor to President Kufour, Nana Addo admitted that the NPP is in a make or break situation when he wrote: "Our ship appears to be passing through stormy waters this is the first time in the history of our noble tradition that we are confronted with the problem of organizing in power an orderly succession to our leadership of the nation."
With such a public confession, there is no doubt that 2008 could be anybody's game.