PAA Kwesi Nduom, Minister for Public Sector Reforms has issued a categorical denial of allegations that he and a motley group of leading Convention People's Party and People's National Convention members are planning to form a “Third Force” party that will act as a counter-balancing alternative against the ruling New Patriotic Party and the main opposition National Democratic Congress. Notwithstanding his denial, The Statesman's sources have indicated that a meeting was held at Dr Nduom's Coconut Groove Regency Hotel in Accra on Farmers' Day, December 2, with him as convener. Five 'delegates' from each of the ten regions attended the historical meeting, our sources claim. At the meeting, ideas and policy positions were floated for the establishment of a new political party whose name and other paraphernalia are yet to be discussed, endorsed and adopted.
An unsigned document that was allegedly debated and accepted by the group at the meeting and is currently being circulated is in the possession of this paper. Entitled “Is there a need for A New Party?,” it proclaims that “the New party aims to gather like-minded people from all parts of Ghanaian society, activists from the existing political parties and others who are looking for a credible alternative that will be competitive in the 2008 elections.”
The sketchy document stated that the “New Party” will not merely oppose and criticise the NPP and NDC but will offer alternative policy choices and “a positive, self-less approach to nation-building.” The statement asks: “What makes the New Party different from the other political parties?” and proceeds to proffer an answer: The New Party is different from [the] parties in many important ways. It believes that improvement in the welfare of the masses of Ghanaian people should be the yardstick for measuring the success of all governmental activities.
In an interview with The Statesman at the weekend, Dr Nduom, who also doubles as the CPP Member of Parliament for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem, debunked the allegations, describing them as sheer “speculations.” He made it clear that he has not formed any new party nor has any intention of forming one.
“Your information is not correct. I'm not forming a new party. You could ask my colleague MPs from the PNC and CPP. I'm not forming a new party, people may be speculating but they need to find their right sources. I've not organised a meeting to form a party. There are all sorts of meetings going on in Accra and all over the country and people must be careful not to jump too quickly to say this man is doing this or that,” he denied.
When this reporter put it to him that the meeting at which discussions centred on the formation of a new party was held at his hotel, Dr Nduom argued that that does not mean every event held in the hotel has to do with him because he is the owner. “No one can come to you and say that I have talked to them about forming a new party… Definitely, I personally do not appreciate that sort of speculation.”
He said if he wanted to form a new political party, he would have boldly come out and stated that publicly since he was not afraid of anybody. “I haven't gotten to the point. If I get to that point, you would not have to get speculations. I will come out straight and do it.”
Does the speculation not stem from your slamming of the top hierarchy of the CPP for not working well to unite the Nkrumaist parties? Dr Nduom's response was as typical as it was revealing: “My dissatisfaction with the leadership of the CPP does not mean I'm forming a new party. Definitely, I had called people of like minds to sit together and figure out what we need to do. But that can't automatically translate into forming a new party.”
He alleged that the speculation was a red herring being flagged by detractors of the Nkrumaist parties in order to deflect attention from the clamorous calls for a better, dynamic CPP leadership. “There is nothing or no point about a Third Force. What we are all interested in is making sure that the party goes to the grassroots to organise itself.”
He said both CPP and PNC MPs are seeking innovative ways to unite the two parties and the formation of a new splinter Nkrumaist party would not be in the interest of unity. As to the suggestion that out of frustration with the leadership of the CPP, he intends to set up a new party, Dr Nduom replied that his frustration emanates from a lack of action on the part of the leadership. “It is not a new party or any of those kinds of things that will make the party become vibrant.”
He noted that Nkrumaist unity could only truly come from MPs because the CPP and PNC legislators “are really on the ground” with the electorate. “I'm the critical voice that is visible. In all these years, I've shown that I've been a dedicated member of the Nkrumaist family. And I have remained in the group in spite of the difficulties that I've encountered with some of the people.” Quizzed whether he would contest as the Presidential candidate of a united Nkrumaist party after the PNC and CPP have finally merged, Dr Nduom sounded ambitious but evasive. “Every thing has its time and when the right time comes and when it is appropriate for me, then I will consider it. How can you become the Presidential Candidate of a party that is not on the ground? So if we have a vibrant party, then you can aspire to greater heights. ” Despite Dr Nduom's refutation, our sources insist he is actively involved in the formation of a new party. Our sources in indicate that on Friday December 2, Farmers Day, about 60 'delegates' gathered in Dr Nduom's office for the meeting, but his Special Assistant, Nana, advised that it was imprudent to have such a large number of people meeting in the Minister's office. They were thus bussed to Coconut Groove Regency Hotel, where Dr Nduom, who convened the meeting, chaired it as well.
Present at the meeting were some ex-TESCON members, some youth activists from the NDC, and some students from the Institute of Professional Studies, the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Tamale Polytechnic, Ho Polytechnic, and some serving National Service Personnel. The next meeting is scheduled for January 2006, we are informed.
According to the “New Party's” document, the party believes that Government must play a positive, active role by guiding the growth of the economy. “We are for domestic control (emphasis not ours) of the Ghanaian economy… A government formed by the New Party will provide the tangible support and direction needed to enable Ghanaians businesses to compete (not our emphasis) well at home and in the global market.”
Concluding, the document stated that the new party will seek leadership from workers business people, the youth and women. “The Party wants to be led by the youth. It wants to encourage forward-looking people to join. The New Party wants action. It wants results. It wants transformation from poverty to prosperity in our lifetime.