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General News
Kufuor, Mac Manu warn aspirants 1/10/2007
The Statesman , 10/01/2007

Peter Mac Manu, the NPP National Chairman
"The campaign has begun.” These were the words of President Kufuor Sunday at the well-attended New Patriotic Party post-conference rally at the Koforidua Jackson Park.

But, on the previous day, the two top party men, the President and the NPP National Chairman, both spoke strongly against the use of negative campaign as a toll for pursuing power.

While refusing to describe the 16 or so people intending to run for the flagbearership even as “aspiring presidential candidates,” Peter Mac Manu, nevertheless, had a strong word of caution for them.

“I will entreat them to be civil and decent in their utterances even as they do the pre-nomination husting.”

Hours earlier at the same venue, Eredec Hotel, President John Agyekum Kufuor told his party delegates that any politician who engages in negative propaganda against other contestants is not fit to be considered for leadership.

But, this may do very little to disturb some people''s determination to do what they may consider necessary to get results for this increasingly expensive and highly competitive, crowded contest, which is not expected to officially begin before August.

But, so sensitive are the camps that every piece of analysis risks being seen with hurls and spins.

For example, in yesterday''s The Statesman our columnist, Qanawu Gabby, analysed the President’s statement on the generations of leaders of the party.

President Kufuor said that after his generation of leaders, the next in line are people like “Nana Akufo-Addo, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Yaw Osafo-Maafo and Addo-Kufuor.”

The President then went on to draw a clear distinction between this immediate succession group and the next generation of NPP leaders, which, in his view, include “Alan Kyerematen and Dan Botwe.”

In a swift letter, which also erroneously blamed The Statesman for a publication that never appeared in this paper, the prolific writer who goes by the pen name Nii Ashong Narh of Odododiodoo, bizarrely criticised Qanawu, who happens to be the Editor-in-Chief of The Statesman for analysing and postulating on what the President meant: “Interpreting and twisting issues or events to suit our course creates no problem, but trouble (and the possibility of counter attacks) arise when in the process we are clearly seen to be undermining others.”

The author, whose letter will be published tomorrow, sarcastically compared the President’s decision to mention the names of four senior MPs as being in the generation right after his to former President Rawlings’ infamous Swedru Declaration, where he handpicked his Vice President as the NDC’s presidential candidate for 2000. “Hurray, it is now a Koforidua declaration for Nana Akufo-Addo!” he writes.

We repeat below relevant portions of Qanawu Gabby’s column, Pulling No Punches:

“The President’s platform statement is heavily pregnant with some intriguing twins occupying his political mind.

One of the twinned-implications of his statement was the remarkable absence of his number two, Aliu Mahama. It is easy for people to come to the conclusion that the President’s reference point was age, because all four names mentioned are in their sixties - from Nana at 62 to Kufuor’s own younger brother who will be 67 next July. Thus, one could stretch this list to include, Aliu, 61, and Oquaye, 63.

But, Qanawu is not easily inveigled by the sheer age factor. Well, the President is allowed to indulge in the sin of oversight. But, as The Saturday Statesman showed last week by leaving out Alan Kyerematen in its analysis of the aspiring aspirants, such oversights may have a subconscious layer.

In The Statesman’s case, Alan, through his seemingly uncooperative secretary, had repeated that he was not interested in our proposal to feature him, in our analysis of the players. So, though leaving his picture out was not intentional, his uncooperative stance probably explained the oversight.

Normally, ''protocol’ would have expected the President to mention his Vice’s name first in the order of those he felt were in the next line of leadership.

A logical induction may be that the President instinctively does not favour his Vice succeeding him. There are four probable explanations for this immense omission.

One: it was an innocent oversight. Two: it was not a slip after all; the Vice is naturally in that age category even if his name was not mentioned. Three: since the Vice has not ‘declared’ his interest in the succession, the President felt it responsible to leave him out for now. Four: the President does not think the Vice falls within the President’s requirement list for the next NPP flagbearer.

But, there are useful pointers. The President’s definition of leadership subscribes to the notion that leaders manage change, whilst managers control process. He seeks for a true red, white and blue party man to take over after him.

The President believes that the key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. For those who are checking themselves (as advised by J H Mensah) before they put their names forward, they should at least see how they qualify for the leadership criterion set up above by President, as quoted.

It is not about cash. It’s not about being the most intelligent person around. You must have a very deep understanding of or roots connection with the Danquah-Busia clan. Beyond that, your vision, and other attributes must be marketable to the majority of Ghanaians.

… But, if the cheer that met Aliu at the rally was anything to go by, then he has tremendous support in the party. He must be encouraged by it. So must some candidates, notably, Nana Addo, Hackman, Addo-Kufuor, Dan and Yaw.

But, a British Prime Minister once remarked: a week is too long in politics. As the President said Sunday, “the campaign has begun.””


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