Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
There is low-key activity in the camp of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in Kumasi in the build up to their congress at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on Sunday.
Apart from few posters of the aspirants pasted on walls and other objects, virtually nothing depicted the coming of a congress of a party that had so far showed signs of some rejuvenation.
This was in sharp contrast to developments in the NPP camp where the 17 aspirants had displayed their billboards, banners and other materials at the University of Ghana campus, where the December 22 congress would take place, as well as other parts of the national capital. Party leaders of the CPP in Kumasi believe, however, that the situation in their camp was expected because the CPP aspirants did not have the money to put up giants bill-boards and banners, and organise other activities the way they were happening in the build-up to the NPP congress.
Huge banners and billboards of the six CPP presidential aspirants expected at strategic parts of the city, especially around the campus of the University, were virtually absent.
Indeed a number of people in the metropolis were not aware the congress was taking place this weekend in Kumasi.
Mr S.K. Danso, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the CPP, told the Daily Graphic that in spite of the seemingly open inactivity by the aspirants, the party was finding ways to whip up some last minute public enthusiasm in the congress.
He indicated that they had ordered some banners, which would be ready by today to be placed at various parts of the city, especially the campus of the KNUST, the congress venue.
Apart from this, Mr Danso said all other preparations were complete for the organisation of a successful congress.
The Congress would elect a flag-bearer for the party for the 2008 presidential elections.
Besides, national leaders would be elected to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years.
The six aspirants are Prof Agyemang Badu Akosa, Dr Kwaku Osafo, Mr Opessika Aggudey, Mr Bright Akwetey, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom and Mr Fredrick William Kwasi Akuffo.
According to the regional chairman, arrangements for accommodation, security, and meals, among other things, had been completed.
Meanwhile, a CPP activist in Kumasi, Nana Kwasi Kwarteng, has predicted victory for Prof. Akosa.
He said the Professor had what it took to lead the CPP to win the election and consequently bring the country out of the poverty.
Meanwhile, Donald Ato Dapatem and Musah Yahaya Jafaru reports in Accra that a 38-year-old pharmacist, Mrs Susan Adu-Amankwah, has been elected the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Convention People’s Party (CPP).
She polled 154 votes to beat her two male opponents, Dr Nii Gborbilor Fleischer and Mr Patrick Nelson Sogbigbor, who had 46 and 61 votes, respectively.
An elated Mrs Adu-Amankwah congratulated the two men on waging a healthy campaign and urged all members of the party to assist her in her bid to make it attractive to the youth.
In an election that attracted all the six presidential aspirants of the party and almost all those seeking national positions in the party and was supervised by officials of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Ernest Nana Baiden was elected the Vice-Chairman for the region.
Other elected officers were Mr Bonaventure W. Appiah, Second Vice-Chairman; Mr Jonathan Ayikwei Attoh, Secretary; Mr Paul Kwame Anaman, Organiser, while Mr Theophilous Boye was elected unopposed as the Regional Treasurer.
The rest were Ms Aisha Sulley Futa, Women’s Organiser; Mr Richard Nii Oshiu Cudjoe, Youth Organiser, and Mr Oshamaku Atuqyuaye Botchway, Education Secretary.
Just before the elections, all the presidential aspirants were given three minutes to interact with the party faithful gathered and the first to do so was Prof Agyeman Badu Akosa.
He told the gathering that he was the best person to lead the CPP because the women, the youth and even members of other political parties had said that if the CPP elected Prof Akosa, they would all vote for the party in December 2008.
“If the CPP elects Akosa to be its flag-bearer, that will be the beginning of the road to the Flagstaff House. All Ghanaians are waiting for the early Monday morning news that Akosa has been elected the CPP flag-bearer,” he told the cheering crowd.
When he took his turn, Dr Kwaku Osafo said the CPP winning the 2008 elections depended on how well organised it was, and that no matter who was elected the flag-bearer, with a formidable and strong CPP, the party would form the next government.
He also said the struggle ahead did not require money alone.
“If we want to fight the struggle ahead with money, then we must park off and go away because we cannot beat the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) with money,” he said, and called on all members to join in winning more members for the party.
He said what the party had to do was use its organisational skills and the message of helping the poor and the needy in the society because the CPP had the track record of building schools, offering free education and health to the sick and making Ghanaians the leaders of the economy.
Dr Frederick William Asante Akuffo claimed that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) being implemented by the NPP government was his idea and that he had extensively written about it in the Daily Graphic since 1972.
He asked the party’s members to give him the mandate to become the presidential candidate of the CPP and subsequently the President of the country so that he would be able to implement the NHIS better and ensure that all Ghanaians were given national identification cards.
He said all those who had gathered at the congress grounds could not call themselves Ghanaians because they had no identification to that effect.
As if in response to Dr Osafo’s claim that election was not all about money, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, said, “I want to assure you that the CPP we are taking to the elections in 2008 has no semblance to the one we took to the 2004 elections. Next year we will not be engaged in ‘poor woman or poor man’ campaign. Those people are doing TV and radio commercials and the CPP will match them boot for boot.”
He gave the assurance that he was working on getting resources for the CPP because no party member could undertake campaigns on an empty stomach.
“If you call people today to go on a campaign and you don’t feed them, the next day they will not follow you,” he added.
He said Ghanaians had given the NDC and the NPP their fair chances to prove their worth, adding that 2008 was the turn of the CPP.
He said he was the best person for the job because he had served as an Assembly member, a Member of Parliament and a minister of state, which had afforded him the opportunity to acquire experience on how to govern Ghana.
Mr Bright Akwetey, who said he had fought crime and corruption for over 30 years, asked the delegates to give him the mandate to lead the party and Ghana to enable him to bring his experience to bear on the crime and corruption that had assumed high proportions in the country.
He said if crime and corruption were not checked, they would bring to nought the benefits of all the nice economic policies that Ghanaians were talking about.
Mr Aggudey said but for him and other party faithful who held the party’s flag high in times of difficulty, the CPP would not have been attractive for others to apply for presidential positions.
He described the party’s national delegates congress as a done deal for him and urged the delegates to vote him because he was a faithful and loyal CPP member.