The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Adrift
The 2012 Post-Elections Paralysis has dashed the Hope that NPP could build quickly on its Political Misfortunes and Embrace Reforms.
After its miserable defeat in the December 2012 elections, the NPP seems stuck in the worst logjam of its formation history since 1992. Almost all the party’s vibrant structures are asleep, with the rank and file of the party confused about the way forward for their beloved party. Worse, Nana Akufo Addo, the 2012 presidential candidate and Alan Kyeremanteng his closest rival, both are in opposite directions with regards to the future of the NPP. While Alan K. and his supporters are behind the scene preparing the grounds for a showdown at the next congress, that of Nana Akufo Addo and his gang is ostensibly working a strategy of still leading the party into the 2016 presidential elections with little resistance from the Party hierarchy. If no player in this poker game backs down for a smooth party re-organization and transition, you can expect a showdown not seen since the formation of the NPP.
My opinion may prove overdone. But even if one of these groups does emerge the days or weeks to come, one thing is already clear: the NPP is unlikely any time soon to become the model of a big, attractive and widely acclaimed democratic party that can muster the political courage to reform itself. Since the NPP party is not in any way ready to accept its current weaknesses and fashion the way forward. Hence the fledging recovery of NPP, one of the biggest Political Party in Ghana could then remain a dream. This hopeless stand of Nana Akufo Addo and his NPP has been a rude shock for many political analyses. The messy developments at the Supreme Court do not give any positive hope for the future of a political party in opposition which is hungry for re- organization such as that of the NPP. There is an emerging internal split in the NPP which will reveal itself in the not distant future, especially over its political leadership. It is obvious that over half of the NPP’s membership wants to press ahead (the Alan K. group), while the other half (Nana Akufo Addo group) would prefer to continue muddling through.
More importantly perhaps, the two main camps are also divided along the line of the conservative litigants in the party and the accelerating modern knowledge- based young and enthusiastic members who do not see the outcome of the Supreme Court as the best option for political power for the party. This young and enthusiastic group is losing patience with the slow state of affairs of their party. Many of them believe that Nana Akufo Addo ran a lackluster campaign, making many small, unforced errors and one big mistake of over-emphasizing the Free SHS policy. This gave their opponent the NDC the badly needed boost, since it allows the NDC to switch from a tired defense of their own record. Nana Akufo Addo now appears to be the wrong candidate to sell the unpalatable reforms the NPP badly needed. Many are of the view that Nana Akufo Addo is a disciplined and hard working but not likeable and dynamic.
The current deadlock in the NPP can be attributed to the stubbornness of both Nana Akufo Addo (2012 Presidential candidate) and Jake Otanka O. Lamtey (chairman). They refuse to concede defeat, perhaps with less compelling arguments. Nana Akufo Addo is still with the idea that he ought to lead the NPP into the 2016 elections. Nana Akufo Addo’s train of thought is different. Even though most people are unaware of his hidden agenda and had written him off, to him it seems he has won a virtual presidential candidacy of the NPP for the 2016 elections. If this is the strategy of Nana Akufo Addo, then it might not work after all, for there is a temporally show of solidarity from the NPP parliamentarians which would soon fade away in no time.
That is not to say all has been rosy of late, because there are still rough edges to smoothen. According to Ken Agyapong, everything about the actions of the members of parliament (MPs) is questionable and in spite of too many permutations flying around, it is, perhaps, too early to conclude that the MPs are in bed with Nana Akufo Addo. They have traveled that road before, by following the directives of the late Prof. Adu Boahen in 1992 and they know that when they get to the crucial stages, critical questions will need to be answered.
In January, the first group to fire a shot at the MPs was AFAG (Alliance for Accountable Governance) an offshoot of the NPP, then progressive members such as Dr Brobbey took very bold steps to give form and direction to their beloved party. It was as if they could no longer leave this self destructive approach by Nana Addo and his cohorts as well as for the elder politicians alone to manage. The older generation appears to have been pussyfooting on a matter that is now of utmost urgency.
Since the party’s defeat in the 2012 election, the NPP has continued to show signs of trouble. The NPP did not really connect with the people, the way the elections predicted. Instead, the leadership continues to mislead its members by emphasizing on the wrong impression that their victory was stolen. There is the urgent need for a reawakening for the opposition NPP, to quickly connect and resume their plan to possibly oust the NDC in 2016. But when the NPP current leadership appeared not to show convincing signs of a transformation, their crowd of sympathizers would begin to thin, while the NDC camp began to swell. Those who voted for Nana Akufo Addo, particularly in the Akan spoken regions of Ghana, feel really disappointed, that the dividends of their Supreme Court case are coming sluggishly and in droplets. They wonder at the style adopted by Nana Akufo Addo in getting political power and they never hesitate to describe him as ‘clueless’.
Almost two months, into Nana Akufo Addo’ Supreme Court case, members of the NPP are thoroughly frustrated and disappointed, that things are not working as expected. The icing on the cake seems to be the intermittent fracas in the NPP. The NPP is truly rowdy and rancorous. At intervals, there is a power bloc somewhere, dragging the party down just to satisfy its own interests. It is like things are gradually falling apart.
The party is troubled right from its uppermost echelon, where respectable elders are supposed to show utmost prudence in managing the peculiar mess of the post 2012 election. But they are unable to resolve the party’s internal matters. The NPP legislators are working hard to frustrate the NDC government, for no reason than that they want to spend more money. They have no interest in reforming their party from its numerous contradictions.
My humble unsolicited advice to the NPP, now that Nana Akufo Addo and his cohorts are in the driver’s seat is: that the NPP should try to manage its fortune well, so that it does not become another huge disappointment as was the case in the late 1970s.
In any case, Nana Akufo Addo is unlikely to achieve his hidden objective when there is an early election in the Party. Hence his insistence on holding on to the Supreme Court case for as long as it takes. Nana Akufo Addo might have realized that his time at the top of the NPP leadership is up. However, reports of his political death may turn out to be an exaggeration.
Carlos Dawda Nasanbory