The Al-Hajj?s News Desk Report
The dust has finally settled, the die cast and the battle lines drawn. Top echelons of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have joined ranks with their respective factions to engage each other in a fierce show down for the ownership and control of the soul of the wobbling elephant party.
The sounding of the battle bell last week which provided the green light for all prospective candidates of the largest opposition party in Ghana to pick nomination forms to contest for the various national executive positions has heightened nervousness and deepened the cracks in the party, which is seeking to regain back power in 2016.
While the pitching of camps in the party started as rumors amongst the various aspirants, especially those interested in contesting the National Chairman and General Secretary positions, it has now emerged, at least by close of nominations last week that the NPP is now fractured along former President Kufuor, Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan camps.
For the single purpose of assuming control over the party and providing an automatic license to each faction?s proposed flag bearer, the various groupings have put up their preferred candidates and are currently funding their campaigns in order to upstage the other.
Former President John Kufuor, who lost control over the party after supporting his once trusted prot?g?e, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen in the selection of a flag bearer ahead of the 2008 and 2012 elections, is now said to have given his full blessings to pal and business magnate Paul Afoko and his former Press Secretary, Kwabena Agyapong to occupy the National Chairman and General Secretary positions respectively.
This, according to The Al-Hajj?s investigation is for the duo to unseat current Chairman, Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, and acerbic-mouth General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, (who are both thought to be enjoying Nana Akufo-Addo?s support for continuity) in order to pave way for his (Kufuor) preferred flag bearer for 2016, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
In the Nana Akufo-Addo?s camp, there appears to be a head on collision between current Chairman, Jake ObetsebivLamptey and his 1st National vice Chair, Mr Fred Oware, even though both are said to be enjoying the support of the NPP?s twice defeated presidential candidate.
Whiles it is still unclear who amongst the two, (Jake and Oware) has Nana Akufo-Addo?s absolute support; the latter seems to be Akufo Addo?s favourite candidate for the position of chairman, just as loud-mouth Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, also known as Sir John, the incumbent General Secretary.
Fred Oware says his decision to contest for the National Chairman was motivated by Jake?s open declaration at one of the party?s Steering Committee meetings that he wasn?t going to seek re-election, but Jake has since rebuff that claim, insisting; he has never stated anywhere that he was no longer interested in the post.
This development in Akufo-Addo?s camp is said to have knocked him into a state of dilemma as to who amongst them he should endorse, however, his endorsement of Sir John for the General Secretary Position remains unflinching.
After forcing a premature end to his political marriage with his former boss and mentor, Ex-President Kufuor, as a result of his lackluster attitude after missing out in the 2007 and 2010 flag bearership contest and on the World Trade Organization job, twice flag bearer aspirant, Alan Kwadwo Kyeramaten has taken his political destiny into his own hands and is now battle ready with or without Mr Kufour to lead the NPP into the 2016 elections, a source close to him told this paper
The Al-Hajj can confirm that, in order to give his dream of leading the NPP a major boost, the former Trade Minister under the Kufour administration is also floating two of his long time loyalists, Stephen Ntim and Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, for the positions of Chairman and General Secretary respectively.
As typical of him, Alan believes by using his financial prowess to support the duo, they can warm their way into the hearts of majority of the party delegates come March 1, this year.
Alan, according to our source believes a win for the two in the next congress of the party next month would propel his chances of achieving his life dream of leading the elephant party into a presidential election.
What would rather come as a surprise to many in the NPP scheme of things is former President Kufuor?s sudden and unexpected admiration and endorsement of twice failed vice Presidential candidate, Dr Bawumia, who is also rumored to be Akufo-Addo?s preference in the event he (Akufo-Addo) decides not to pursue his childhood dream of becoming President like his father, Sir Edward Akufo-Addo.
The stage is therefore set and the battle lines drawn as factionalism in the NPP originally thought to be tribal, between Akyems and Ashantis is now ballooning into personality cult involving the Kufuor, Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan camps over who becomes the most respected in the party and on whose orders and direction the party rides.
As expected, the division has pushed the campaign into a scurrilous turf, with contending factions using their ?masterful? abusive tongues to slash and badmouth their opponents to party delegates in order to gain favors by getting their preferred candidates elected.
The Akufo-Addo camps appear to be at the receiving end as the Kufuor and Alan camps have directed their arsenals towards Jake and Sir John.
Whiles the current executives are pushing for continuity, the other camps are also calling for a change in leadership, which obviously would translate into who becomes the next flag bearer to lead the party into the 2016 elections.
Results of the recently held regional elections of the party confirmed the victorious candidates either belong to the Kufuor, Nana Akufo-Addo or Alan camps.
The heat in the NPP has just begun and it will be a ?make up? for winners of the March 1 election or ?shut up? for the losers.