Politics

Ashanti NPP big boys hide behind Akufo-Addo to ditch Bawumia

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There are concerns in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) over what appears to be a plot by elements to frustrate and eventually ditch the Vice-President, in his attempt to lead the party into the 2024 general election, as its presidential candidate.

The plot appears hatched by NPP bigwigs from the Ashanti Region, who are attacking Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, while hiding behind the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, who they accuse of collapsing the ruling party, departing it from its core-values and also creating factionalism among its rank and file.

Many have said that the NPP is at a crossroad with the November 4, 2023 presidential primaries going to seal its destiny as an Akan only party or that which is for all, including the minority tribes.

Already, there have been threats from members against each other, with the national leadership yet to make an official statement on the brawls.

Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central; and Chairman Wontumi, the Regional Chairman of the NPP in the Ashanti Region, have run into each other publicly spewing insults and accusations at each other, instead of making provisions for the 210,000 delegates expected to vote in the National Delegates Conference.

Firstly, at the presidential level, Alan Kyerematen, who has always projected himself as an Asante, resigned from the NPP to form his Movement for Change ahead of the 2024 elections, citing intimidation, physical assault on his supporters and an unleveled field in the electoral process.

“After having carefully analysed the results of the said elections, it is absolutely clear to me from events leading to, during and after the elections, that the Special Delegates Conference was strategically and tactically skewed in favour of one particular Aspirant, Mr Kyerematen said in reference to Dr Bawumia.

“The pronouncements made by some leading members of our Party both before and after the elections, also lend weight to my observations”, he said in a statement, adding the “various incident and various acts of violence and collusion, reported in other Voting Centers, are appalling, unconscionable, and despicable.”

“The level of intimidation of varying intensity, directly and indirectly unleashed on a significant number of Delegates at various Voting Centers across the sixteen regions, is unprecedented in the history of our Party.

“In addition, the fact that my Polling Agent in the North East region has suffered severe damage to his eye sight, arising from his bold and courageous effort to ensure compliance with the very rules and regulations for the conduct of the elections as approved by the Presidential Elections Committee, will forever remain a dark spot in the history of internal elections within the Party.”

This was after he had come third in the August 26, 2023 Special Delegates Congress of the NPP polling 96 of the 923 total votes cast, behind Kennedy Agyapong’s 132 and Vice President 629 votes, representing 68.15percent of the votes, although he had been in the race for more than 16 years.

Mr Kyerematen’s subsequent resignation on September 25, 2023, has been followed by incessant attacks from many stalwarts of the party, including the man who came second at the Special Delegates Congress, Kennedy Agyapong.

The controversial presidential aspirant, has held what he called the ‘’Showdown’’ Walk and directly attacked Vice President Bawumia, saying the issue of currency depreciation which spiked in 2022 and the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) were the two main economic factors that caused many voters to make up their minds.

Kennedy Agyapong, during the health walk, said at the forecourt of his Madina-based Oman FM, that “We lost the 2024 elections in 2022. At the time the Ghana cedi destroyed the hard work of many businessmen, all the way to the tomato seller. Ghanaians will never forget that”.

He explained that “the time the middle class went to court because their monies were lost, and the time the pensioners had their monies gone, Ghanaians will remember that’’.

He further claimed that he was someone within the NPP who was always looking out for the masses and making sure no such situation happened again.

However, clarifying the comments he made, when granting a studio interview on Kumasi-based Kessben FM on September 18, 2023; he said “I did not make it clear on the day, let me state it here. I was referring to Bawumia. It was Bawumia who said if the fundamentals are weak the exchange rate will expose you, have I said that’’.

He noted that “If I win (flagbearership), I can easily defend my stance because some policies by the current Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government, like Free SHS, 1D1F, will be maintained, but I will review all others.

“… were my funds set aside that because I am an NPP person, it will not be affected by depreciation? If my money depreciated, am I the only affected businessman?” he asked.

Kennedy Agyapong, who sees himself as an Asante, is competing against Vice-president Mahamudu Bawumia, former Minister for Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto and former MP for Mampong, Francis Addai Nimo.

Also in the attack mood is Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng. He has also been pissing in on the Akufo-Addo government and NPP with concerns that the party is deviating from their focus on national development and instead delivering a government that resembles a “family, friends, and concubines government.”

Professor Frimpong-Boateng in an opinion titled, ‘NPP, HOW DID WE GET HERE?’ highlighted a group within the NPP who, despite lacking official political appointments or positions within the party structure, wield significant power to the extent that, one of them is referred to as the ‘de facto Prime Minister’ of the country.

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a cousin of President Nana Akufo-Addo, has many times been referred to as the Prime Minister of the government, and wields enormous power and influence in the country.

These individuals, the heart surgeon notes, have the ability to secure influential roles in society for their associates and allies, while also displaying a propensity to disrespect and create difficulties for the Ghanaian population.

According to him, this stark departure from the traditional values of the NPP is worrying. Frimpong Boateng, further observed that Ghana is experiencing a form of governance characterized by the control of the media, not through violence, but through bribery and intimidation.

“There are people who claim to be stalwarts of the party; they have neither political appointments nor positions in the party structure. They appear to wield so much power that one of them is described as ‘de facto Prime Minister’ of the country.

Apparently, they have what it takes to get their friends and favourites appointed to prominent and powerful positions in society. At the same time, they have the tendency to disrespect and make life difficult for Ghanaians. This is unlike the NPP we know. NPP, HOW DID WE GET HERE?”

“We are being served with a variation of “family, friends, and concubines government”, and control of the press not through violence, but through bribery and intimidation. We are witnessing the weaponization of state institutions to silence transformative voices while allowing patronized corruption to flourish. Instead of development in freedom, we are witnessing unprecedented intimidation, economic retrogression, and suffering in silence. NPP, HOW DID WE GET HERE?”

“To make matters worse, the ‘NPP establishment’ is busy promoting a presidential candidate, who to my mind is the most vulnerable and has more baggage than all the aspirants. It is like shopping for a problem when they already have an answer.”

Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko, a former flagbearer aspirant of the NPP, provided what he says is a better explanation of why the party, has been experiencing some issues in recent times.

The former Campaign Manager for President Nana Akufo-Addo, added that Ghana’s politics is no longer a dignified affair that attends to national development, but it is now a noisy marketplace.

Boakye Agyarko, said the party has lost its avowed characters and values, adding the party is derailing and urgent action must be taken to avert the same.

According to him, the emergence of people he refers to as ‘new elements’ in the party, who don’t appreciate how to handle internal issues of the party and in a quiet approach, have resorted to rather using public-centred resolutions or approaches.

“How did we get here? Many are now asking. Well, here is how. There are new elements, who we mistook for an entertainment at best or as mere irritants at worst, emerging in our politics who do not understand the quiet approach,” he said in an open letter released on October 10, 2023.

He added that these ‘new elements’ are prepared to impose themselves everywhere, not through reasoning, but by force.

“… these ‘new elements’ accept the stock of common place, prejudices, fag-ends of ideas or simple empty which chance has piled within their minds, and with a boldness only explicable their ingeniousness, are prepared to impose themselves everywhere, not by the reason but by force.”

Mr Agyarko, who lost out on his bid to lead the NPP into the 2024 general elections, said lies and mischief, have taken over integrity and well-thought-out policies in the party.

He insisted that the party is no longer focused on national development, but selfish interests.

“Indeed, our politics is no longer altogether a quiet and dignified affair of attending to the urgent business of national development.”

“It is now politics of noisy marketplace and election platforms where noise, mischief, insincerity and lies have more value than thought, character and integrity.”

“This is the morass, perforce, we must redeem ourselves from,” an excerpt of the opinion letter said.

Another flagbearer hopeful of the NPP, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has said that the loss of any member of a political party to another political party is bad news to deal with, especially when going into a crucial election like the 2024 general election.

Even to lose a polling station executive is a potential disaster for any political party in any given election, he added.

He has, therefore, cautioned the leadership of the NPP, especially, the Presidential Elections Committee, to work assiduously and bring credibility into their operations so that the final outcome of the November 4 presidential primary, will be acceptable to all.

This, he noted, will make it easier for all the contesting candidates to rally round the eventual winner to execute a united, stronger, and peaceful campaign to break the eight-year governance cycle in the 4th Republic.

The former Minister of Food and Agriculture, noted that currently, there seems to be an uneasy calm in some of the candidates due to the widespread perception that the whole electoral process has been skewed to favour a particular candidate, a situation he noted, is regrettable.

Discussing his chances in the November 4 NPP presidential primary and related matters with some selected media in Accra, Dr Akoto, said politics is about numbers, and for that matter, the more you lose your members, the clearer your chances to lose in an election becomes even more pronounced.

“…you can’t downplay it. We are looking for numbers, and politics is about numbers. So, one person turning his back for me is a disaster. We are all in this game together, and together, we must fight and win. That is my attitude”, he asserted at a press conference held in Kumasi, where he announced the suspension of his campaign tour as a sign of respect for the loss of the former First Lady, Theresa Kufuor.

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Commenting on the exit of Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, a former Minister of Trade and Industry, the former two-term M Pfor Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region noted that it is sad and regrettable that the party could lose such a stalwart at this very crucial time in its political journey.

“It tells clearly that something is not right. Alan has raised some critical issues, which are the reasons for his exit, and I think those issues are germane. Prior to the August 26th Super Delegates elections, we had worked closely with the Presidential Elections Committee and came up with workable rules and regulations to govern the entire selection process. The problem we have now has been the implementation. We observed that all the implementation processes have gone to favour one candidate, and that to me is unfortunate”, he underscored.

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