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Turbulent times for the NPP; the infighting goes on.


Ghana’s famously fractious political party, the NPP, is once again living up to its stereotype. It is reeling from a series of events that have exposed its ugly underbelly; the gruesome murder of a party stalwart, Adams Mahama, a crime that has shocked and stunned the nation, an unending leadership crisis and deepened internal fissures.

These are indeed turbulent times for the NPP and Ghanaians are watching the unfolding tragic-drama with heightened apprehension.

Tensions between the party’s warring factions have been exacerbated by a groundswell of agitation for the removal of two of its preeminent shoguns, National Chairman Paul Afoko and National General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong — who are believed without any evidence, forensic or otherwise, it should be stressed — to have orchestrated the brazen assassination of Mahama.The two were temporarily shut out of their offices by angry supporters of Akuffo Addo the presidential nominee who inexplicably waited two weeks before appealing for calm.

I must state without any reservations that the NPP is charting the wrong course. We are 18 months removed from a pivotal national election and the partyclearly had the winds behind its sails and could conceivably have wrested power from the stunningly inept and staggering corrupt NDC. But the NPP is steadfastly planting seeds of doubt in the minds of millions of Ghanaians about its overall ability to govern should it be the victor in next year’s general election

It is disquieting to watch the NPP, a party that has prides itself as the only viable alternative to the NDC, wobbleand stagger through a series of self-inflicted wounds. And for a political party that is desperately trying to extract itself from a long, unproductive stint in political purgatory to continue to shoot itself in the foot with its puerile behavior is befuddling.

Is the NPP thus squandering a “golden” opportunity to once again manage the affairs of the nation given the tepid performance of the economy and the general disillusionment with the NDC? Well, against the backdrop of the sniping and backbiting bedeviling the party,non-partisan observers of the Ghanaand even some of NPP’s own pundits have concluded that its quest to unseat the hugely unpopular NDC will be an insurmountable task. Its prospects for electoral redemption, they add,are dim.

Mahama’s grotesque killing certainly will have implications far beyond the borders of the party.  Its immediate effect is the sullying of the party’s image and the subsequent denting of its credibility. The killing also reinforces perceptions widely held by NPP’s antagonists that the NPP is prone to violence.

To bolster their claims, the NPP foes point with glee to the party’s history of sabotage and violence in the immediate aftermath of Ghana’s independence, but more especially to the recent outrageous pronouncement Addo made during a campaign stop in 2012 that “All die be die.” 

But let’s look at the larger picture of what the acid dousing assassination of Mahama does to our democracy. In the short term, the democratic system of government we have painstakingly constructed over the last twenty years has been dealt a severe blow.

In the long term, the trust and confidence that ordinary citizens once reposed in their politicians are gone. It is a betrayal of monumental proportions and regaining the lost trust of Ghanaians will be an uphill journey.How can Ghanaians trust their politicians who have suddenly morphed into “capos” or leaders of goon-squads who can inflict monstrous violence on political foes at the snap of the finger?

Political implications aside, Mahama’s death is a sad commentary on the rapid deterioration of social values in Ghana. Over the years, adherence to the rule of law has become less of a priority for many Ghanaians. Guns and other deadly weapons are now easily accessible and the criminal element in society has had a field day committing crimes without any thought of being held accountable. The killers of Mahama, from all indications, embarked on their “deadly mission” with this frame of mind.

One identifiable dynamic ripping the NPP apart is the clash of egos at the top echelon. The three egomaniacs, Addo, Afoko and Agyepong have placed a premium on their own political interests instead of promoting, articulating and highlighting the party’s priorities. Their actions are threatening the very fabric of the NPP. 

Addo, Afoko and Agyepong can best be described as power-drunk and attention seeking individuals. The genesis of the problem afflicting the NPP can be laid squarely at the doorstep of these three party shoguns. As a direct consequence of their actions, the NPP is now divided into two competing camps, namely the Addo faction and the Afoko/Agyepong/Kyerematen faction.

Each camp has a narrative that it pushes relentlessly with the vain hope that it will resonate with the rank and file of the party. The dominant narrative pushed in the main by Addo’s supporters posits that Afoko and Agyepong are saboteurs who are doing all they can to derail the presidential ambitions of Addo.

The counter narrative largely peddled by the Afoko and Agyepong campis that Addo who contested the presidential election twice and lost on both occasions is gunning for that elusive electoral prize the third time around primarily to shut out his nemesis, Alan Kyerematen, but more so to fulfill his lifelong dream of being Ghana’s chief executive.

Addo is determined to realize his ambitions but in so doing, he has created a dichotomy within the party which will continue to widen as long as he remains tethered to his presidential dreams.

When Afoko a northerner was elected National Chairman of the NPP there was a collective sigh of relief that finally the party hadshed its tribal image. Much was expected from the new Chairman. But his actions and deeds have not matched the rhetoric he unleashed in his acceptance speech.

Afoko’s failure to stamp his imprimatur on the party has engendered the perception that he is an ineffective leader. His failure to wholly support Addo’s candidacy contradicts the party’s constitution. Here is one undeniable factoid, Afokois presiding over a party that is nursing deep wounds and these must be healed if the party is to make inroads next year. 

It is common knowledge within party circles that Agyepong is a flame-thrower and a loudmouth; he has aligned himself with Afoko ostensibly to frustrate Addo and promote Kyerematen. But his goal of sidelining Addo has been an immeasurably failure.

It will do everyone a lot of good if Afoko and Agyepong accept the candidacy of Addo, however grudgingly, and throw their support behind the drive to elect him as the nation’s next president. Their currently diminished clout certainly needs some rebooting.

Every political organization or entity has problems and most are able to work through these headaches with minimum damage to their organizational ability and reputations. But not the NPP. It is steeped in a leadership crisis that seem to have no end in sight

Both the Addo and Afoko/Agyepong/Kyerematencamps are doing a gross disservice to the party and to millions of Ghanaians by engaging in ugly squabbles that, to all intents and purposes, have no place in a modern political organization. Regaining political power should be a top priority for these gentlemen,to which end they must whip up their teeming supporters to gear up for the momentous battle of 2016.



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