NEW. Watch live television from Ghana plus the latest Ghanaian movies plus OBE TV.The simmering unease within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) surged to the fore yesterday when two outspoken founder members of the party, Mr Akenten Appiah-Menka and Dr Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, articulated sharp and contrasting views on the developments that threaten to split the party along a Nana Akufo-Addo/Alan Kyeremanten divide.
The split deepened this week when there were chaotic scenes at centers where the election of polling station executives of the party across the country was to take place. The chaotic scenes were attributed to a power struggle among executives at the grass-root level who were aligned to either Nana Addo or Alan.
The election of the polling station executive which is to set the pace for an electoral college witnessed an intense struggle for control by either faction and calls from party heavyweights for one of the two leading members to step aside. Rebuffing the growing campaign by some senior party members that Mr Alan Kyeremanten needed to bid his time for the future and opt out of NPP presidential race for now. Mr Appiah Menkah said nobody had the right to tell the former presidential aspirant to drop his ambition.
But in a separate interview, Dr Nyaho Tamakloe delved deep into the party history and tradition from K.A Busia through William Ofori Atta/Victor Owusu to Professor Adu Boahen and J.A Kufuor to make a case that at all stage of the party’s evolution, there had been an obvious flag bearer.
He indicated that “it was only in 1979 that this obvious truth was ignored and when we behaved that way we handed victory over to the People’s National Party (PNP) in that year’s general elections”. Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe accused members of the party who were refusing to acknowledge the Akufo-Addo/Kyermaten rift of hypocrisy and warned that “if we fail to confront and deal with it now, we will have ourselves to blame”.
He said within the party there had always been a queue which produced the flag bearers referred to earlier, adding that that queue currently had Nana Akufo-Addo in front.He said that was a fact all members of the party must know and rally behind the obvious leaders to ensure party cohesion.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at his office in Kumasi, Mr Appiah-Menka stated that the decision to stand or not to stand should be a personal one and not by pressure from outside. “In the same way that nobody can ask Nana Akufo-Addo not to contest, so also no one can tell Alan to back out,” he said. The issue was first raised by a former NPP Chairman, Mr Harona Esseku, who also asked Mr Kyeremanten to shelve his ambition to contest for the party’s presidential slot for the 2012 elections.
He pointed out that Mr Kyeremanten was young and did not have what it took to lead the party to victory and that it was Nana Akufo-Addo who should lead the party again. Mr Appiah-Menka disagreed with that, saying the party was guided by a constitution that must be respected. He pointed out that the party’s constitution could not be thrown to the dogs in a very important matter like the election of a presidential candidate.
He said anyone who bore the idea that Mr Kyeremanten did not qualify to lead the party would be making a big mistake and that he (Kyeremanten) should be given the freedom to pursue his ambition. In his intervention, the General Secretary of the party, Nana Ohene Ntow, urged supporters of the party to focus their attention and strength on the supreme agenda of the party, which is to win convincingly in the 2012 elections and not things that would divide the party. ?