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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kufuor Meets NPP-USA

Former President J.A Kufour
After a series of successful lectures at Cornell University and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, among others, former President J.A Kufour took time from his busy schedule to meet with members of NPP-USA at the office of Mr. Kofi Boateng, the immediate past chairman of NPP-USA, in New York on September 22, 2009.

The meeting began with a prayer by Opanin Kwabena Mensah. Mr. Kofi Boateng welcomed ex-President Kufour and introduced the current chairman of NPP-USA, Nana Agyei Yeboah. Chairman Agyei Yeboah formally welcomed President Kufour on behalf of NPP-USA and moderated the meeting.

In his welcome address, Chairman Agyei Yeboah stressed that NPP-USA is a formidable organization that has spread to many states in the USA and continues to grow. He explained how the One Member One Vote (OMOV) was used to elect the current executives in Denver. The role NPP-USA played in the just ended constitutional amendment conference in Ghana, NPP-USA’s strategy to reach out to the foot soldiers in Ghana. He also elaborated on NPP-USA’s unity message to the party and the unity emblem created by its public relations committee.

Chairman Agyei Yeboah asked the members present to introduce themselves to the former president. After the introduction, he moderated a question and answer session. Former President Kufour took time to answer the questions from the well-attended meeting and those who were on the phone lines from different states across the USA. Below is the synopsis of some of the answers given by his Excellency, President J.A. Kufour.

On this issue, the President agreed that even though the law has been passed, it still needs to be harmonized with the Constitution to ensure that there is no discrimination to any Ghanaian anywhere with respect to the exercise of their full rights. He challenged those of us living abroad to organize ourselves to lobby parliament to make the necessary changes.

He agreed to the fact that we are really not recognized for our contributions and hospitability towards visiting members from Ghana. He indicated things will change and also blamed it on tradition and that they need to do more to acknowledge our efforts here in the Diaspora. He also indicated that the Secretariat should communicate more with us here. The President recommended that NPP-USA should maintain a permanent office in one place where it would be easy for visiting leaders from Ghana to locate and discuss issues regardless of where the Chairman and Executives live. He thinks such a place should be in New York City where most people come through anyway.

President Kufour said he supports ROPAA and wants Ghanaians outside Ghana to be able to vote. He, however, indicated it was not ROPAA that caused our defeat but lack of unity within the party – he indicated that if you’re a Democrat, you do not have to be scared of the ballot and you should also not force your way into standing for elections and that once we do that, we create independent candidates who in the long run, leave with their supporters – we should be united, he said. He also said that everyone should be allowed to go to the primaries and when he/she loses, he/she should not tear the party apart. Again, he emphasized the need for Ghanaians Living Abroad to be part of the solution by keeping up their pressure (lobbying) activities. He also stressed the need for bBiometric voting which will help to eliminate the electoral malpractices during elections.

He is of the hope that the party will come up with a clear strategy for winning in 2012. “We were too sure of ourselves being elected in the 2008 elections and that we lacked strategy so that is one of the areas we need to focus our attention on. Developing a winning strategy is an area that the external branches should work in sync with the party at home,” he emphasized.

He agreed that our PR at the Headquarters is very weak and that we need professionals to help us. He said we need to connect with people at home and that we also need to be persistent and have constant mechanism to debunk all the hype and myths in the media. He indicated that it is the only way we can get our message across to the average Ghanaian.

He said hypocrisy has prevented Ghanaians from talking about politics as a business and that any need for fundraising has been deemed as corruption. He advised that we should come up with creative methods to raise funds that are legal.

He also agreed that disunity within the Party is from top to bottom and that, National Executives should make sure the law applies to everyone. He emphasized the need to be impartial and rally behind whoever wins the primaries and that we should expect the National Executives to be free and fair with all candidates, regardless of who wins.

President Kufour thanked members for the meeting and assured NPP-USA that he is very aware of our selfless contribution to the party. He said he knows what we have done for him and the party and encouraged members to continue the good work to enable our party recapture power in 2012.
Nana Agyei Yeboah,
Chairman, NPP-USA.

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