The revelation by The Herald that, a secret meeting has taken place at the Airport West residence of ex-President John Kufuor, is escalating the crisis in the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which has so far claimed limbs, the life of the party’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama, while some other party members, are on criminal trial for murder.
Currently, ex-President Kufuor, is being accused by the Nana Akufo-Addo faction of deliberating plotting the secret party meeting in his house, and inviting the Moderator of the Presby Church; Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey, the owner of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC); Pastor Mensa Otabil among others, with a sinister motive to embarrass Akufo-Addo.
Party insiders, further accuse the ex-President of deliberately leaking details of the close-door meeting to shift the blame on the NPP flagbearer as the source of the unending-rift acrimony in the party, and exonerating himself from charges that, he was against seeing Akufo-Addo as President of the Republic of Ghana.
But political watchers, are also of the view that, the leakage of the secret meeting and names of the invited personalities, have entrapped the top pastors from expressing their views henceforth, as those views will be seen as politically tainted.
The accusations are coming in the wake of a press statement from ex-President Kufuor’s office, confirming The Herald’s exposé of the Thursday July 9 secret meeting at President Kufuor’s private residence to unite the feuding factions in the NPP to restore peace and unity for victory 2016.
The office of ex-President Kufuor, confirmed the reports of the high-powered meeting between him, Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP General Secretary, Kwabena Agyapong, NPP National Chairman, Paul Afoko, and the top clergymen in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Frank Agyekum.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey, and the Metropolitan Arch¬bishop of Accra, Bishop Charles Palmer Buckle, also attended the meeting at the Airport West residence of the former President in Accra.
The flagbearer of the party, Nana Akufo-Addo, and his close associates like, Akoto Ampaw, Dr. Osei Akoto, the outgoing Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region, were also present at the secret meeting a day before Nana Akufo-Addo, left Accra to London.
The meeting comes on the heels of the protracted confusion that has bedevilled the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition over the last few years with many political watchers saying, the wrangling can cause the party the 2016 elections, if not resolved.
Speaking to Accra-based Adom FM on controversy surrounding the meeting, spokesperson for the former President, denied claims that, the selection of the clergymen, was based on their affiliation to the NPP.
“Even though these pastors attended the meeting, it was not because of their political affiliation. They were chosen because the issues we were trying to resolve involved some of their members. These are men of God who are highly respected in society so we believe their inputs are important in such matters,” he stated.
He, however, expressed shock over the alleged release of a secret audio recording of proceedings at the meeting on social media by a yet-to-be known individual.
The meeting, the report said, “follows months of acrimonious and rancorous relation among the leadership of the party, which has led to suspicion and mistrust among the rank and file of the NPP, especially the aftermath of the death of Adams Mahama, Upper East Regional chairman of the party, through acid attack”.
In a statement confirming the meeting, Mr Kufuor’s special aide and spokesperson, Frank Agyekum, said the heads of the religious denominations, as well as some other prominent citizens in the country were invited by the former President to help broker peace and brotherliness among the top hierarchy of the party.
The spokesperson said, “the choice of these heads of the Christian denominations was based on the fact that most of the members of the party hierarchy involved in these ‘peace moves’ belong to the churches headed by them.”
Mr. Agyekum denied reports in a section of the media that the meeting was held secretly.
But this paper gathered that, an emotionally charged Rev. Prof. Mantey, told Nana Addo in the face that, his actions were destroying the NPP and that, the twice defeated flagbearer, should forget about becoming the President of this country in the next election, should the current infighting in the party continues.
In the presence of ex-President Kufuor, the Presby Church boss, sternly admonished the NPP flagbearer to stop his divisive leadership style of picking and choosing national and regional executives as those he preferred to work with, instead of having a united front.
However, the secret meeting ended inconclusively without the feuding factions agreeing on anything.
Indeed, exactly a week after that meeting, National Chairman, Paul Afoko, also summoned a Steering Committee Meeting at the NPP Headquarters, but it was boycotted by
Nana Akufo-Addo faction, meaning the clergymen had embarked on a fruitless venture.
Those who failed to show up at the Steering Committee Meeting included; First Vice Chairman, Freddie Blay, National Organizer, John Buadu, National Treasurer, Kwabena Abankwa Yeboah, National Youth Organizer, Sammy Awuku, Lawyer Obiri Boahene. Nana Akufo-Addo, failed to attend because he had travelled to the UK on the July10, 2015.
Those who made it to the Steering Committee Meeting were, Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyapong, National Women Organizer, Otiko Djaba, and party elder, C. K. Tedem.