…. As aspirants sign “Alisa Hotel Accord”
NPP strongman, Akufo-Addo, is leaving after 16 years of his tight grip on the Danquah-Busia-Dombo party, which has seen him suffering painful defeats and also recording sweet victories, and with the stakes quite high and political acrimony at a crescendo, many are afraid that the governing New Patriotic Party will break up and fade into opposition.
But to address that fear, all four aspirants contesting tomorrow’s presidential primary, have signed an undertaking at Accra’s plush Alisa Hotel not to resign from the party, if any of them losses the contest to elect the NPP’s flagbearer for the December 2024 general elections.
The decision to sign what is likely to be christened “the Alisa Hotel Accord”, was reached at a meeting between the National Council of Elders and the aspirants; namely Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Kennedy Agyapong, Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, ex-Minister for Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto and former Mampong MP Francis Addai-Nimoh.
The Chairman of the Council of Elders of the NPP, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, at the commencement of the meeting, bemoaned the state of the party, indicating that it had been plunged into disunity by the selfish interests of some individuals.
He indicated that the race for the flagbearer position has, at times, generated passionate debates and disagreements within the party and among supporters of the presidential candidates but he called on all the presidential aspirants to eschew divisiveness and stay united after tomorrow’s presidential primary.
Giving his opening address ahead of the Council of Elders’ meeting, Mr Owusu Agyemang, expressed concern that the pursuit of personal interests may be overshadowing the shared goal of the party.
In a statement that resonated with many within the party, Mr Owusu-Agyemang said, “Fellow patriots, taking a deeper look at our party today, I see a party which may be weaker by our attitude, our utterances and our disrespect for each other as well as our lack of discipline. I see a party sometimes with disputes and difficulties and acrimony.
“I see a party where members are refusing to work together for a common goal. We have allowed our selfish interests to override the common goal. I am not pointing fingers at any of us maybe we are all responsible. Fellow patriots, it has become clear that some deep personal interest and bitter political resentment might have reared their ugly heads, especially among all the presidential aspirants and their supporters.”
Mr Owusu-Agyemang, a veteran of Ghanaian politics and onetime MP for New Juaben North, emphasized the need for party members to remember the bigger picture of breaking the Eight.
He urged them to focus on the principles and values that have guided the NPP over the years, rather than personal ambitions.
He indicated that the race for the flagbearer position has, at times, generated passionate debates and disagreements within the party and among supporters of the presidential candidates but he called on all the presidential aspirants to eschew divisiveness and stay united after Saturday’s presidential primary.
Addressing the press after the meeting, the General Secretary of the party, Justin Frimpong Koduah, said that the aspirants have also agreed to accept the results of the primary and to put the interest of the party first.
“We were able to get all the four aspirants to sign an undertaking and in summary, they are to accept the primary results, and promote peace and cohesion,” Koduah said. “If they don’t win, they will not resign from the party and, support the winner of the primary.”
The aspirants have also agreed to “ensure and enforce mechanisms that have been established by the party and also work within the timelines and duration that have been established by the party from now till the results are declared and to respect the decision of the delegates of our party.”
Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, is tipped to win Saturday’s presidential primary. His closest contender is Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central.
On his part, the NPP National Chairman, Stephen Ntim, called on rank and file to be united after the party’s presidential primaries, and rally behind the candidate who will emerge winner after the internal polls.
Mr Ntim noted that internal party coercion and discipline among party faithful, remain the most important prerequisite for the party to be able to win a third consecutive term in office in December 2024.
“Saturday, 4th November, is crucial for the New Patriotic Party. By the close of the day on Saturday, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who has led our Party admirably for 16 successful years, will perform the first of two handing overs, first to one of the four aspirants who emerged victorious to succeed him as the leader of the Party, and second, to that same leader and flagbearer of the NPP, to succeed him as the President of the Republic of Ghana, on 7 January 2025.
“This is the nature and consequence of the November 4th flagbearer election. We are determined to win a third term because the development of Ghana depends on an NPP victory in the 2024 general elections. That victory begins this Saturday, and every member of this Party has something significant to do with it. It requires that we are disciplined as a party. Failure to be disciplined, ensure internal peace and cohesion, and be responsive to our mandate will gravely imperil our electoral prospects” Mr Stephen Ntim said.
Cost of disunity
Stressing the damage that disunity and internal divisions can cause to the NPP’s election fortune in December 2024, Chairman Ntim said he vividly recalled the 2008 general elections and some of the factors that accounted for the NPP’s painful loss after it led to the first round of voting “with 49.13 per cent of the total valid votes cast.
“The most painful part of that experience is that we lost the presidential election in the second round after we had increased our votes by 321,000, whereas all we needed to win in the first round, was a little over 100,000 votes.
“In other words, we gifted the NDC the elections in 2008 because our people did not come out to vote in the first round. We are at the same point today, and some of the factors that led to us losing the election in 2008 are rearing their ugly heads” Mr Ntim candidly observed.
“One of the chief contributors to our defeat in the 2008 general elections is the lack of unity of purpose or internal cohesion. We cannot afford to be disunited even briefly after the results are declared on Saturday. We must guard against any conduct, actions, or inactions likely to take us on a path of apathy and disunity” the NPP National Chairman further cautioned.
Whip the slate clean
Mr Ntim acknowledged that the 2023 flagbearer election, has been hotly contested, and in the process, a lot of water has gone under the bridge. To that end, he called on the entire NPP fraternity “to whip the slate clean to approach [the Saturday, 4 November presidential primaries] with a commitment to work together and support whoever emerges as [the Party’s] leader and flagbearer”
“There can only be one flagbearer at a time. I fondly recall the enthusiasm and unity that characterized our approach to the 1996 and 2000 elections. It was apparent we wanted to win as a party. But the height of enthusiasm and conviction with which we canvassed for victory in the 2000 general elections has waned considerably, and we must fit now” Ntim said.
“The alternative to an NPP government is scary, and the alternative to us is empty. These statements are valid because the NDC has not put forth any policy idea to address the youth unemployment challenge which is the preoccupation of governments worldwide” he added.