…..Cries “Ketewa Biara Nsua”
Tomorrow, over 140,000 delegates of the largest opposition political group; the New Patriotic Party (NPP), will go to the polls to elect their presidential candidate for the 2016 elections to try unseating the incumbent, President John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
But ahead of tomorrow’s exercise, the NPP has rushed to the biggest mobile telecom service provider; MTN to raise cash for the party, because it is broke.
On Tuesday, the party officially announced its bankruptcy status through a text message to MTN subscribers, begging them to contribute as little as GH¢1 to its coffers by way of “mobile money”, saying in the Twi dialect, “Ketewa biara nsuo”. To wit “No amount is too small”.
The message reads “Ketewa biara nsuo. Donate 1 Cedi to support NPP organisation. Request by the National Treasurer. Txt Yes to 12012 to accept. This is a test run”.
This is a party, which in 2004 and 2008, packaged and executed one of the most flamboyant political campaigns in the history of this country, as well as the sub-region, with moneys; both Cedis and Dollars showered on anyone on sight.
Every page in popular newspapers were bought, airtime was bought from every TV and radio station. Gospel, Highlife and Hip-life artists, including Kwabena Kwabena, A Plus and Daddy Lumba were engaged to carry out an expensive political campaign.
But just as it was announced by the immediate past national executives, led by Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, ahead of the last August Congress in Tamale, that the party was broke, the current executives, have also started singing the same chorus.
During the 2008 campaigns in particular, the party had so much to spend that, aeroplanes were chartered to distribute fliers across the country, while hot air balloons were released into the air to catch the attention of voters.
Mention can be made of the giant electronic billboards of the then candidate Akufo-Addo which “swallowed” that of other Presidential candidates, like the National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Evans Atta Mills. There were other billboards, which depicted projects executed by the Kufuor government screaming “Ghana then, Ghana now”.
This is the same party that ahead of the 2012 elections, owned a Forex Account, which was supposed to have signatories of national executives, but it was later realized that individuals, who had nothing to do with the leadership of the party had access to the account.
The said account at Prudential Bank, was said to have contained, one million Dollars, but as has been indicated elsewhere, the money cannot be traced.
Interestingly, ex-General Secretary of the party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, has warned that the Nana Akufo Addo camp, will deal ruthlessly with the current leadership, especially the National Chairman, Paul Afoko and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyapong, after tomorrow’s election which he is sure his candidate will emerge victorious.
Mr. Owusu Afriyie popularly known as “Sir John” said, they would “seek proper accountability” from the new executives after the party’s presidential primary tomorrow.
According to him, the claim by the National Chairman, Paul Afoko and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, that the onetime very rich political party was broke is untenable.
The new executives, have raised concerns about the poor financial status of the party, prior to its flagbearer elections.
But speaking on Adom FM yesterday, Owusu Afriyie, said “The party can’t be broke.”
“What do they mean by the party is broke? They should go and look for money to organise the elections. In 2010, there was no money, but I organised the elections. We will seek explanations from them after Nana Addo’s victory on Saturday.”
He also alleged that some members of the new administration accused him of theft while in office.
“They accused me of stealing party money when I was general secretary, now they see how it feels? I instituted a dues system for MPs to contribute monies to the party, so staff could be paid.
They should also think and come up with something” he fumed.
The crime of the two leaders is declaring that the party is cash strap, few days to the conduction of the elections.
The elections is being contested by twice defeated presidential aspirant, Nana Addo, whom his opponents say the party has skewed the election to win, Trades and Industry Minister under the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Alan Kyerematen and Member of Parliament (MP) for Mampong, Francis Addai Nimo.
Perhaps the claim by the current chairman and his general secretary may not be the exact truth as according to the Minority Leader in Parliament Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the campaign team of Nana Addo spent a whooping US$90, 000 as hotel expenses, during a trip to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, the NPP’s stronghold.
The MP for Suame, also expressed concerns about the huge US$1.5 million sum used on the purchase of vuvuzellas for the party.