An aspiring General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Francis Kojo-Smith, has cautioned President John Agyekum Kufuor to desist from the temptations of meddling in the nomination and election of party executives. In what seems to be emanating from lessons learnt from Rawlings' 'Swedru declaration' that cost the National Democratic Congress (NDC) dearly in the 2000 elections, Kojo-Smith warned that any perception of his involvement in the election of party executive members could be misconstrued as having ulterior motives.
According to him, the act, if not halted might create division and disunity within the party.
"His position as Head of State demands that he remains a father of the party and to be neutral and fair to all contestants. Any suspicion that the President is manipulating events behind the scenes might create divisions and disunity within the party.
At this stage the President should be seen to be above internal party politics," he said.
Mr. Kojo-Smith, a lawyer by profession, made this observation last Saturday, when he launched his campaign for the General Secretary position of the NPP.
He stated that his mission of seeking to be the chief scribe of the party is to modernize it (the party) to face the challenges of the 21st Century.
According to him, the neglect of the party's foot soldiers is currently causing irreparable damage to the chances of the party in winning the next general elections.
He observed that a substantial portion of party supporters find it unrewarding to fight for the cause of the party, as they did in the past, saying, "The grassroots are only remembered during election periods. It is my determination to restore and rekindle the hope, enthusiasm, energy and goodwill of the grassroots of our party."
Mr. Kojo-Smith disclosed that mission is to help strengthen, sustain and support the power base of the party, stressing that apathy, despair, frustration, disillusionment and disenchantment have, at present, engulfed the party at the grassroots level.
The aspiring chief scribe, who was supported by the executives from the Odododiodoo Constituency and the Greater Accra Regional executive, except the chairman, Mr. Sammy Crabbe, noted that the dynamics of the party and government has to be clearly defined and established, adding, "In our present environment, party authority, which delegates gave to the party national executives, have been mortgaged to unelected dinosaurs in the Castle."
He continued, "This trend, to say the least, has inevitably crippled the party's ability to perform its constitutional duties of serving the best interests of party members, especially party activists and foot soldiers. It is my determination to set up a better mechanism for a proactive working relationship between government and the party."
Mr. Kojo-Smith, also known as Nii Kojo-Sackey, who hails from James Town, Accra, disclosed that he was a close confidant of the late Victor Owusu of the defunct Popular Front Party (PFP), pointing out that the 2008 elections in the country would be a battle of the brains, which requires scientific and academic activity as modern politics demands.
The aspirant, who bemoaned the rejection of party activists, called for reward packages for them, saying, "The time of 'monkey dey work baboon dey chop' is over. They can no longer be used as cannon fodders."
He underscored also the problem of youth unemployment, pointing out that the young men and women are bitterly angry for being abandoned, and pledged his preparedness to empower the youth and women within the party when given the nod.
Mr. Kojo-Smith did not mince words when he asserted that sadly, NPP party structures have been neglected since coming to power in 2001.
"Instead of investing in the party, individuals have invested the monies into their pockets," he told the press, adding, "It can be observed that apart from our party constitution, the party does not have any policy document in relation to the affairs and enhancement of party activists."
"I shall set up a mechanism to handle the welfare of activists of the party. I shall also set up conflict resolution mechanisms, which will quickly and effectively deal with all grievances within the party," he pledged further.
Nii Kojo-Sackey, disclosed that he went into exile in January 1983 because the "ruthless Military regime of Rawlings attempted to arrest and liquidate me", adding that the NPP party is at a critical crossroad.
He said the influence of money has become the order of the day. "It is a cash and carry politics. Delegates have become commodities where the richest bidder takes all and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Buying of delegates, if not a crime, is morally wrong. This is a dangerous phenomenon which will eventually destroy a fundamental democratic essence and therefore must be confronted and expunged from our politics."
"This is nothing short of corruption. To handle this critical period, the party needs a courageous person with experience, maturity and wisdom to be the General Secretary," he intimated.
Politics is the science of management, he advocated, adding that the party needed an experienced, knowledgeable, matured personality and man to sit in the General Secretary's seat.
"I am ready for the job. I am up to the task. Vote wisely and vote for the right and competent people.
Let us not put square pegs in round holes because some people have so much money to offer," he concluded.