By Daniel Damptey
Preamble:? I have been an admirer of Kwabena Agyepong and I wrote series of positive articles to enhance his chances during the NPP Primaries to select its National Executives. I strongly believe my write ups played a greater part in getting him elected General Secretary of our Great Party.
I remember the insults and abuses that were hurled at my person and family when I condemned Sir John and his ?boys? for the way they were going about their electioneering campaign. Their unorthodox campaign tactics compelled to endorse Kobby Acheampong description of ?Sir John? as ?kokoase kuraseni?. But I don?t ?regret my role in getting him elected General Secretary of the party.!
Kwabena Agyepong was being vilified: I felt at that time and rightly it was to publicly come out in his defence because I felt was not being unfairly treated. I am a diehard supporter of Nana Akufo Addo having appointed myself a Special Aide to him, but for once I had to shun my partisanship and root for somebody people were saying was against Nana?s Presidential ambition.
Vindictiveness is now the order of the day: But now, after being elected into office, what do we get in return? Vindictiveness at its height! My good friend and brother, Kwabena is trailing the same path ?Sir John? and his boys have trodden before. I am saddened by the way he and his boss, Almighty Paul Afoko have been handling affairs at the party headquarters since they assumed office.
I strongly feel vindictiveness should not be the way to begin their term of office. In fact, it should be expunged from the political dictionary of the New Patriotic Party. The duo of the Chairman and his General Secretary have been running the affairs of the party like some warlords who have gained the upper hand in a fierce battle for control of a fiefdom.? The two have bypassed all structures put in place and are riding roughshod over everybody who matters in the party. This is making concerned members of the party uncomfortable.
Adoption of siddon look posture: In line with the siddon look posture of the late Chief Bola Ige, the Cicero of Esa Oke, Former Governor of Old Oyo State and lastly, Former Attorney General of Nigeria, I decided not to comment on party activities due to the unorthodox manner our new helmsmen have been running the affairs of the party. I stopped reading or posting anything on any web sites.
But, I have been compelled to come out of my shell because of negative publicity our Chairman and his General Secretary are attracting unto themselves and the party. Someone might question my rationale in bringing this issue into the public domain. I strongly believe that as democrats we should not keep quiet when wrong things are being perpetrated by people we admire or respect. Later when the chips are down, they will ask us what we did when such evil was being perpetrated right before our very eyes.
A Strong Appeal: I urge the duo ? General Secretary and the Chairman of our Great Party to use bread and butter, honey and sweet words to solve problems confronting the party. Guns, bullet and violence are not what we need. Unfortunately, these are exactly what our new helmsmen are giving us. The Osono tradition has a strong aversion to the use of undemocratic tendencies to further our interest or fortune. It is not, and has not been in our character to use violence to attain our aims.
Genuine Party men and women are getting worried: Individual members of the party have at one time or the other used such unorthodox means in pursuit of their own nefarious interests.? But when the violence is being perpetrated by top helmsmen of the party, then there is obviously something wrong and genuine members of the party must be worried.
Pride comes before a fall:? If it is true that Almighty Paul Afoko wants to use the office of the Flag bearer at the party headquarters as his office, then there is something wrong with our Chairman. He should not forget what happened to King Belshazzar when he ordered that the holy vessels being used to serve in the House of the Lord should be brought to his palace. He wanted to desecrate the Church by drinking his wine from those holy glasses. The Bible tells us of the fate that befell this proud and arrogant king.
Replacing old security guards with new ones: What was the rush in sending new security men to take over from those at the party headquarters? Was it discussed by the Executives? If it was, who and who were present? If it was not, then both the Chairman and his General Secretary owe the party an apology. Their action runs counter to the constitution of any decent party or organization. Don?t those security personnel deserve any bit of commendation for the services they had rendered to the party? And if they take the party to court for relieving them of their jobs without notice, and the courts ask the party to pay compensation to the aggrieved persons, who will be saddled with the payment?? The person who abrogated the contract or the party as an entity? Issues pertaining to abrogation of contracts and the resultant judgment debts are still fresh on our minds.
Is History repeating itself? ??The action of both the Chairman and his General Secretary is akin to a similar one taken by the NDC when it regained power in 2009. The party went about sacking non party members from their jobs and replacing them with its own members. From the highest papacy to the lowest clergymen, non NDC members were not spared. We all condemned that the NDC for its high handedness. But now, in their newly plush positions, the two have forgotten their antecedents and are acting like war lords over conquered territories and people. Even warlords do consult their lieutenants at times.? But heck, no, the two are acting as if they were the repository of all knowledge.
Mistrust will ruin the party:?? How does the General Secretary of a political party postpone a meeting without consulting other members on the executives? And he does so via a text message? And it was not as if the other members were operating from different offices outside the party headquarters? They were all in the same building.
Is Paul Afoko running a one man show? Our new helmsman is behaving as if he was Jupiter perched on top of Mount Olympus. Didn?t it come as a shock to hear all the three Vice Chairmen publicly stating that they were not consulted on the postponement of the NEC meeting? How does the Chairman hope to succeed if he does not consult his able lieutenants before taking decisions?? And we further learnt that the General Secretary was outside the country at that time. Was the meeting postponed on account of Kwabena Agyepong?s absence from the country? Who authorized the text message to be sent out?
Kwabena Agyepong?s attempt to gag Regional Chairmen of the Party:? ?Regional Chairmen are an integral part of the political system. They have the right to constitute themselves into a body/association to further their own interests in accordance with the party?s constitution. No individual member of the party has the right to prevent them from meeting to discuss as a group or issue statements or communiqu? on behalf of the group.
Does the General Secretary have power to deal with the Regional Chair persons of the party?: Kwabena says he will deal decisively with the Regional Chairmen who attended a meeting which came out with the recommendation to have an early congress to select the party?s Flag bearer. But does Kwabena have any such power? I do not think so.? And the most interesting aspect was the fact that the meeting was not a clandestine one for it was held at the party?s headquarters. This makes Kwabena?s threat ineffectual.
If our General Secretary feels so strongly on gagging Regional Chairmen from airing their views on any matter which affects the party, nothing prevents him from tabling the issue before the National Executive Council to deliberate and take a final decision on it. That will be the way forward.
Should MPs declare support for Presidential Aspirants or not? Again, the General Secretary went haywire when he attempted to further extend his tentacles to the party?s Members of Parliament. His directive to the MPs not to declare open support for any of the aspiring Presidential aspirants is crude, anachronistic, retrogressive, unproductive, capricious and whimsical.
What does he hope to gain by such a directive? Is it to instill fear and panic amongst our MPs? If that is his plan, then he has failed woefully. Maybe, he wants himself to be seen in the mould of Adolf Hitler, Caetano, Mobutu Sese Seko, Iddi Amin, Stalin, or Osama Bin Laden? Otherwise there was no need for such public pronouncement.
We must learn from our predecessors: Honourable Dan. Kwaku Botwe, the most successful General Secretary of the party did not run the party as his personal fief. The successes he chalked during his tenure were as a result of consultations he had with other stakeholders of the party. He operated under the party?s constitution. The ?buga buga? tactics our new General Secretary has adopted will do him and our party no good.
The antecedent of our Chief Capo is too early to forget. Prior to the election of our flag bearer in December, 2007, our newly elected Chairman, in company of Amin Anta, another colleague MCE went about threatening DCE?s in the three Northern Regions who did not support the ?anointed? candidate. Some DCEs lost their portfolios as a result of their failure to dance to the tune of music being played at that time. Now the rhythm has changed and the two are now the ones calling the shots.
Unanswered Questions: Where in the civilized world are Law Makers debarred from expressing their support for aspiring Presidential Candidates? Even in the United States which is regarded as the bastion of democracy, Congressmen and women from both the Senate and the House are not debarred from endorsing the bids of aspirants. Some of them held sensitive positions in the campaign train/ teams of Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton during their electioneering campaigns?? Similar things have happened in Nigeria. Is Ghana is an exception?
Arm Twisting Tactics:? Isn?t it time the General Secretary was told in plain language that his edict to gag the party?s MPs will never work in an enlightened society such as ours. Isn?t it also time the MPs told their General Secretary to the face that he should not extend his tentacles to their domain without reaching out to the other members of the executives? He is testing their pulse and if the MPs don?t stand up to him now, that will be their undoing for by the time they come to any realization, it would be too late to do anything. The structures are there for Kwabena Agyepong and Paul Afoko to operate within.? The General Secretary should not arrogate to himself powers which he does not possess.
Complex Situations:? Some MPs are themselves aspirants. And if we were to go by Kwabena Agyepong?s edict or fatwa, it would mean those MP could not even canvass publicly for support; neither could their fellow MPs offer them any public support. Where in the civilized world would such a thing happen?
?A friendly advice:? I sincerely believe Kwabena?s tenure of office would yield positive results if he were to listen to advice. Yes, he has come up with laudable proposals to make the party marketable. One of such lofty programs is to empower the party at the Constituencies level by making members pay their dues at the constituency level against the present system where dues are paid at the party headquarters. This is a renovation we expect him to direct his focus on. He could do this by lobbying other members of the National Executives to ensure the passage of that beautiful idea of his.
Let us learn something good from Nigeria: The Nigerian President, Lucky Ebele Jonathan has said he would go on exile if he does not construct another bridge on the River Niger in the Igbo enclave of Eastern Nigeria. Again, while campaigning for a gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress Party, now part of the APC, a prominent Yoruba politician asked the people to stone their son if he did not impress the people after being elected Governor. And true to his words, the politician, now a Governor is performing wonders in his State. Our aspiring candidates should not be casting aspersions on the character and credibility of their opponents. We expect ?our National Executive to be the unbiased by creating a level playing field for all the aspirants. We do not expect them to be churning out draconian decrees or fatwa as have been the modus operandi of our new helmsmen.
Conclusion: People should not misconstrue my intentions for publicly stating my views on the party?s Chairman and his General Secretary. I have no ulterior motive for doing so. There is a saying that ?to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed?. The ball is in the courts of both Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong. They could play it the way they want. But in doing that, they should take into consideration the concerns of those who elected them into office. I score each of them 25% for the period they have held sway as Chairman and the General Secretary of our Great Party. The two have not endeared themselves to members of the party. They have not lived up to expectations. They have failed Ghana and the party.
This is my verdict.
Daniel Danquah Damptey ([email protected])0243715297