Stalwarts of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), have been left in tears and equally opened fire on President John Dramani Mahama, over his recent politically-charged big blows directed at their three-time flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, during his nationwide campaign tour.
From Acting NPP National Chairman, Freddie Blay, to Acting General Secretary, John Buadu, to Spokesperson for the flagbearer, Mustapha Hamid, to the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wougon, Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko, each of them have angrily lamented President Mahama’s criticism of Akufo-Addo’s leadership qualities as “intolerant” and “divisive” leaving the NPP in tatters.
Ironically, some of these men, have together with NPP running mate, Dr. Bawumia, led the incompetence and corruption chorus against President Mahama by the NPP propaganda choir.
Whilst, some including the head of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Dr. Bossman Asare, have said President Mahama was being desperate, other NPP-minded elements, have suggested to Nana Addo to immediately reply the 2016 flagbearer of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) or risk losing the presidential election for the third time.
Mr. Blay, who had been in Parliament with President Mahama for years fumed “he speaks carelessly and that is not putting food on the table of the suffering Ghanaians, who are concerned about their bread and butter issues.”
He wondered why President Mahama, will veer into the gallery of issues he has little or no knowledge about; adding the decision to suspend National Chairman, Paul Awentami Afoko, was taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party when the NPP flagbearer was not even in the country.
He questioned why the president would drag him into the issue when he had no direct and indirect involvement, adding
“Due process was followed in suspending some executives of the party, when the flagbearer was not in the country”.
Mr. Blay, who is a beneficiary of the suspension of Mr. Afoko, failed to add that although, Nana Addo, was not in town at the time, he issued a statement endorsing the unconstitutional act.
He later took part in a meeting that affirmed the suspension, despite protests from many people, including ex-President John Kufuor.
President Mahama, who is on a campaign tour of the Northern Region, stated that Ghana needs a leader who is understanding and can stand criticism from his party members and not a dictator who divides his party.
While addressing supporters at Bimbilla in the Nanumba North District, he said a leader who cannot unite his political party, was not worthy of becoming a president of Ghana.
President Mahama, said that Nana Addo was leading “only half of the party” and that “the other half are sitting with their hands folded, watching him drive the bus down the hill.”
“What we need in Ghana is an understanding President. The era of dictatorship is gone. We are not looking for dictator, somebody who can’t stand criticism. Within his own party, if you criticize him he will sack you. We are looking for a leader, who can bring people together,” he added.
“What we need in Ghana is an understanding President, the era of dictatorship is gone, we are not looking for a dictator, somebody who can’t stand criticism in his own party, if you criticize him, he will sack you…that is not the kind of leader we are looking for, we are looking for a leader, who can bring people together. “We are looking for a leader who can unite Ghana and not a leader, who will divide Ghana, if you can’t unite your own party, how do you unite a nation.”
Mustapha Hamid, Spokesperson for Nana Akufo Addo, said it was ironic for President Mahama to suggest that the NPP candidate was a divisive figure, given the public debate the president’s own decision to pardon the Montie trio, has provoked.
Mustapha Hamid stated that, the president’s remission of the four-month sentences of Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, had created the “biggest political division ever” in Ghana’s history and suggested that, the president had no moral right to accuse Nana Addo of being divisive.
“It is the greatest irony in our political history today, that it’s President Mahama who is talking and labeling someone as divisive. Currently in Ghana, the biggest of division inside the country is his singular irreverent act of letting loose people who have threatened to kill and rape our Supreme Court judges and who have been incarcerated and who for partisan reasons he has set free. That is a subject of huge division, not yesterday or the day before yesterday, now,” Mustapha Hamid said on Citi FM’s Eyewitness News.
“Isn’t it ironic that the person who has created the biggest political division ever in our country’s history is the one who is pointing an accusing finger at somebody and saying that he’s a divisionist and a dictator? .”
He further suggested that, President Mahama, might have pardoned the Montie FM contemnors to ‘resume their attacks’ on their flagbearer.
According to him, their incarceration had forced the president to take up the personal attacks on Nana Addo, which he believes the jailed host and panelists of the pro-government radio station, would otherwise have done.
“Once they [Montie trio] are incarcerated, he [Mahama] is the one now leading the insult attack. He wants them out so they can come and take over from him so he can rest. They have said they were working on his behalf so now that they are not there, he’s had to take up the insults himself. That’s the reason he’s [pardoned them],” Hamid said.
He stated that, the President’s attacks on Nana Addo, was an attempt to divert the people’s attention from the deplorable conditions the people in the Northern Region live in, however, the NPP’s campaign will be a clean, issue-based one, which would seek to address the concerns of Ghanaians.
“You are flying helicopters because your roads are inmmotorable and you don’t want us to talk about that, you want us to talk about what is happening in somebody’s party. How does what is happening in somebody’s party, put bread on my table or make it possible for somebody from Bimbilla to take his food produce to Yendi to sell?” he noted
“We will continue to focus on the message because the Ghanaian people will understand who really has a message and who has no message. I would be very excited if he continues on this trajectory. I would be very sad if he was to abandon these attacks on Nana Addo. Let him continue.”
On his part, the NPP MP for Ayawaso West Wougon, begged President Mahama, to leave Nana Addo out of his campaign message.
Mr. Agyarko, said the NDC leader, should rather focus his campaign message on issues related to development under his administration, adding neither NPP, nor its flagbearer did anything wrong in suspending its National Chairman, and that has been affirmed by the Accra High Court.
“Has he forgotten what is happening in his own party? The NDC, has birthed about three different parties and the wife of the founder of the party, has broken away to found her own party. A party which calls its founder a barking dog that has been tamed, and the President is talking about divisiveness?” the legislator quizzed on MultiTV’s AM Show on yesterday.
In Mr. Agyarko’s view, President Mahama, has no message for Ghanaians, hence his constant attack on their Flagbearer. “In his 2012 manifesto, he told Ghanaians he would improve certain areas to make life better, that is what President Mahama should be updating the people on,” the MP added.
The ex-Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDB) under the Kufuor administration, claimed the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is deteriorated, the ailing economy and the high level of corruption in the current government and urged the President to deal with those issues; a claim President Mahama, has disputed, saying the list of beneficiaries attending hospital on the scheme, has rather shot up from 9 million to over 29 million.
“On the issue of infrastructural development the President stood before us in Parliament and said by end of his term, he would have built 200 senior high schools, how many has he built? How many has he inaugurated?” Mr. Kyeremanteng indicated and rated the performance of President Mahama 1.8 on a scale of 1-10.
Dr. Bossman Asare, head of the Political Science Department of the UG, claimed President Mahama’s targeted blows at the NPP flagbearer, is a clear sign of desperation on the part of the President and the NDC to retain power.
In an interview on 3FM’s News Hour on Wednesday, Dr. Asare, said sitting presidents normally tell electorates more about their achievements, rather than attacking opponents.
“To be frank with you, I think the President is trying to send a clear signal that he is very desperate, because you can see right from the word go that he is trying to paint a certain picture of Mr. Akufo-Addo and once he can succeed in that he is very sure that he is going to win the election.”
He added that it is only when a sitting president has a slim chance of winning that he resorts to constant attacks on his opponent.
According to Dr. Bossman, even though most Ghanaians, have a political party they naturally vote for, a few percentage of voters will, however, consider the relevant messages of the parties before voting.
“I believe the NDC as a party through their homework, have realized things are not pointing to a victory for them in the build-up to the elections and have therefore resorted to being on the offensive and painting a particular picture about the opposition leader to become unattractive to the electorates”.
History and Political Science Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) lecturer, Dr. Samuel Adu-Gyamfi, urged Nana Akufo-Addo, to measurably react to constant jabs directed at him by President Mahama.
However, Akufo-Addo, said during his tour of the Greater Accra region that he would not traverse same tangent as President Mahama.
“President Mahama says I have slept, I have done this, I’ve done that’, I won’t insult him back, I won’t throw innuendos back at him, I will focus on telling the people what my message is, my message of transformation, my message of job creation, my message of empowering young people,” he stated.
But, Mr. Adu-Gyamfi, believed Akufo-Addo’s posturing might cause his defeat in the forthcoming elections slated for December 7.
He thus urged the three time presidential candidate of the NPP to rescind his decision not to reply president Mahama.
“I don’t expect him to reply back on the same measure, but he must find a way to allow his publicists deal with critical issues that bothers on the leadership of president Mahama,” Mr. Adu-Gyamfi said in an interview with an Accra based Class FM Thursday.
“If they do not do that and they sit aloof, I can tell you that they will be shocked even in the first round,” he warned.
He said President Mahama’s criticisms of Akufo-Addo, hinges on a political strategy to paint the latter as undesirable candidate, which is aimed at appealing to the aggrieved members of the NPP.
“When you look at the fact that the NPP itself has internal challenges just as any other political parties have it, you cannot tell me that Paul Afoko is at peace, you cannot tell me that the other members of the NPP fraternity, who are unhappy with the outcome of that decision are entirely happy today.
“So when the president begins to speak in a certain manner, what he is doing is to appeal to the conscience of such persons, who are aggrieved within the NPP.
“No matter how we disregard and discredit what the president is doing today, he is appealing to some members within the NPP who are aggrieved. If these people can decide that they will not go and vote, it will also be against the NPP itself,” he said.