Who wins the NPP battle? Afoko & Agyapong, or Nana Addo?

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President John Mahama on Monday submitted his nomination form at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) headquarters and declared that his victory at the 2016 polls will be ?one touch?, a statement some say is fueled by the rancor and bickering within the NPP. The seeming unity and sense of purpose within the NDC is no doubt a source of strength to the President.

Paul Afoko, Nana Addo and Kwabena Agyapong
Paul Afoko, Nana Addo and Kwabena Agyapong
There is certainly no doubt that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo comes up against a formidable contender in 2016. But it is also clear that he will first have to overcome forces perceived to be working against his interest, in his own party before his big date with the Mahama-led NDC.

On the same day Mahama made his ‘one touch win’ declaration, Mr Kwabena Agyapong, either by plan or coincidence went on radio with what appeared to be a well rehearsed lamentation about how he is allegedly being treated by factions of his own party, indicting in the process his flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo, of deliberate moves to sideline him from the NPP’s 2016 campaign.

The effect, whether or not it was intended, was to show the NDC as united and battle-ready, and the NPP, as a ‘house divided against itself’, and for that matter crumbling. This has the consequential effect of suggesting that the NPP is not ready for power.

In what clearly counts for a brilliant campaign strategy, the President seized the occasion of the worsening crisis within the NPP to tout his achievements, mostly flagging issues he has been faulted on.

He spoke eloquently on how he has been tackling corruption, citing his government’s adoption of an Anti-Corruption Action Plan, investigations carried out into allegations of corruption, and officials standing trial for corrupt practices, as clear demonstration of his government’s resolve to stem corruption.

He also listed several road infrastructure projects, health and education facilities at various stages of completion as manifestations of his efforts at keeping faith with his 2012 electoral promises.

It indeed apparent, that, the rather prolonged in-fighting among the NPP leadership has somehow succeeded in boosting the President’s confidence, and in putting him on course to being handed another term in office without having to sweat for it.

Agenda 2020
Some NPP insiders say the stage was set for Nana’s defeat when the party’s expanded Electoral College elected Mr Paul Afoko, a close confidant of former President Kuffour and Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, former campaign manager of Allan Kwadwo Kyeremateng as the party’s national chairman and secretary respectively.

Ex-president Kuffour is said to be the political mentor and a tacit supporter of Allan Kyeremanteng, whose strategy for becoming president is to thwart Nana’s efforts in the hope that age will rule Nana out in 2020. This is what has become known in political circles as ‘Agenda 2020’.

The Agenda 2020 plot is only a rehash of an earlier agenda hashed for the 2012 elections but which did not yield the expected results.

In 2012, Nana Akufo Addo’s campaign was allegedly infiltrated by elements of the Allan Kyeremanteng faction, who some insiders say worked under false pretences and deceit to undermine the Nana Addo campaign. Some are alleged to have collaborated with NDC elements to rig election results at some polling stations.

Checkmating
Recent developments, including the events culminating in the assassination of the Upper East Regional Chairman of NPP, Adams Mahama, the haggle over who controls party accounts, unfounded allegations of stolen party funds etc. suggests a certain alertness and a strong resolve of Nana loyalists to checkmate any attempts, real or imaginary, to undermine his electoral fortunes in 2016.

Contrary to views that Nana will lose out, if the acrimonious relationships arising out of the resolve of his loyalists to supply a good measure of antidote to the perceived machinations of the Allan faction continues, Nana may end up picking up what can be described as sympathy votes for as long as the expositions reveal an attempt to destroy his chances.

In the end, it is not the party leadership that will win the elections, but the Nana factor. It happened when Kufour faced a similar challenge in the run-up to election 2000; and again, when elements within the NDC waged a vile campaigned against Prof.

Atta Mills on the grounds of his ill-health. Ghanaians are highly sentimental and will readily show solidarity with the vulnerable. So, the more Nana appears to be on the receiving end of injustice from elements within his party, the more sympathetic floating voters are likely to be towards him.

Winners and losers
Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong are mindful of this. Indeed, the latter’s lamentations can be understood in part, as an attempt to show himself as the vilified and the vulnerable person who needs public sympathy. But it is clear the two men have carried their political game into a cul-de-sac, where they virtually have no route of escape.

Every move of theirs is under scrutiny and whether they like it or not, they are not, and will never be trusted to work in the interest of Nana Akufo Addo.

For Mr Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong, it should be clear by now, that the game is over. They cannot win the battle for glory, no matter the outcome of the 2016 elections. For most people, they are the enemies within. If Nana Addo wins the 2016 elections, there is no way that the credit would be assigned to them. Rather, such a victory would be seen as a defeat of the reactionary forces within the party.

On the other hand, if the party loses the elections, they will no doubt bear the full blame for it. It’s clearly a no-win situation. It will therefore make sense for the two to consider either stepping down from their positions. As for restoring the lost trust and re-gaining the confidence of the Nana Addo loyalists, it will take a long while and a lot of efforts.

Source : Public Agenda

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