Thursday, June 24, 2010

Appiah-Menka wades into NPP's flagbearer race...TWO OF FIVE CANDIDATES ARE NOT MARKETABLE (PAGE 13, JUNE 24, 2010)

AN OUTSPOKEN elder of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Akenten Appiah-Menka, has in a typical fashion, waded into the party’s flag bearer race with a bombshell that, two of the five candidates are not marketable.
Refusing to mention the names of the two candidates, the politician/industrialist only told the Daily Graphic at his residence in Kumasi that, “You know them and they also know themselves and so there is no need for me to mention names”.
While emphasising however that the two were presidential materials, he dismissed the attitude of false belief and bravado of the candidates and their followers that they could win the elections for the party in 2012.
That notwithstanding, Mr Appiah-Menkah said entering the flag bearer race was a good opportunity for the two candidates to market themselves to the nation for future elections.
“Kufuor did the same thing. In 1992 when he came into the race knowing that he could not beat Prof Adu Boahen and Dr Selby, he took it as an opportunity to market himself and eventually won the 2000 presidential elections.
“This is what the candidates must do and build themselves up for the future,” he stressed.
In the build up to the election of the party’s flag bearer for the 2008 elections, Mr Appiah-Menkah, in an interview with this paper pointed out that only five out of the 17 candidates were winnable materials for the presidential elections.
Many people read various meanings into his assertion even though he did not mention names.
Mr Appiah-Menkah, in his latest interview, pointed out that winning power from the opposition demanded extra work and the presentation of a candidate who had the ability to galvanise votes even in the ugliness of the political terrain.
He took issues with party elders and executives who openly declared their support for specific candidates in the flag bearer race.
“ The practice is rampant now and I expect them to desist from it since it is divisive and can work against the party’s chances of winning the 2012 elections”.
While expecting the elders and party executives to play unifying roles in the presidential candidate race, Mr Appiah-Menkah noted that it would be naïve for anyone to assert that there were no factions in the party.
“In a party founded on internal democracy, factions are bound to appear but what is important is how to manage them,” he said.
Fortunately, he noted, the NPP had the capacity and mechanism to bridge the differences resulting from the struggle for the presidential ticket.
Delving into history, he stated that in 1992 there was a serious division between Prof Adu Boahen and Dr Selby as frontrunners for the presidential ticket while from the fringes, Dr Kwame Safo-Adu and Mr Kufuor battled their way for the presidential candidate.
“But soon after the national delegates conference myself, Mr da-Rocha and others were able to patch up the differences as everybody rooted for the winner, Prof Adu Boahen”.
Again, in 1996, the factions reared their ugly heads, which was mainly between Mr Kufuor, Prof Adu Boahen and Dr Jones Ofori-Atta and once again after the conference, the elders brought all together.
He revealed that in 2004, a member of government wanted to contest Mr Kufuor for the party’s presidential primary but he (Appiah-Menkah) persuaded him to stop because it was not necessary to change a winning team.
He indicated that it was not true that Mr Alan Kyerematen resigned from the party in 2008.
According to him, when, Kyerematen wrote a resignation letter to the party after the 2008 national delegates conference, Mr Da- Rocha dared him to keep to his decision to quit but he (Appiah-Menka) invited and persuaded him to rescind the decision.
The NPP elder stated that Mr Kyerematen’s resignation letter was not accepted so technically, that could not be said to be resignation.
Mr Appiah-Menkah was convinced that the party would be united after the conference and that there would be no repetition of the Alan “resignation”.
He refused to delve into Mr Kwame Pianim’s recent comments about the NPP, especially, its flag bearer contestants only to say that, “At the appropriate time, I will tell you my mind about it.”