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General News
NPP Gurus Storm London 3/19/2007
The leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) last week took London by storm when it hosted its first international conference in the British capital- a city which was already hosting Ghana’s President to a Royal treat at the Buckingham Palace. The party leadership’s convergence on London’s Royal National Hotel, which included international branch executives from places like the US, Canada and Europe, was given a boost by the presence of President John Agyekum Kufuor.

The national chairman of the party, Mr. Peter Mac Manu emplaned for London soon after completing his assignment at the Nkoranza North constituency, where a by-election was held.

The NPP leadership convergence on London had to do with their first international conference outside Ghana, an event which saw President Kufuor pouring his heart out on important issues about the party and the country.

Other prominent personalities in the party spotted at the meeting were Madam Amma Busia, a member of the Council of State and a former vice chairperson, Rita Asobayire, National Women’s Organiser, Sammy Crabbe, Greater Accra Regional Chairman, Joe Ghartey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Others were the Information and National Orientation Minister, Hon Kwamina Bartels and the deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Anthony Akoto-Osei. The theme of the two-day conference was based on how to build on President Kufuor’s legacy and strengthening the party for leadership in Ghanaian politics in 2008 and beyond.

On the sidelines, Daily Guide learnt there was a strategic meeting of the Friends of Nana Akufo Addo (FONAA) on how to prop up the chances of the minister, who is one of the leading contenders for the party’s flagbearership race.

President Kufuor’s historic engagement with the Queen as guest of the Royal family the previous day had made the Ghanaians proud. The President rekindled the spirits of his compatriots when he told them that there was hope for the country and expressed gratitude to them for their remittances back home.

Such remittances, the President noted, had propped the economy especially in the area of stabilizing the foreign exchange situation. He tasked them to come home to invest what they had acquired as a way of further supporting the economy.

On the thorny issue of who should succeed him, President Kufuor said the party should pick someone with experience, commonsense and enough appeal to attract floating votes to keep the party united to win the next elections. He stated the subject of his successor had become engaging, with many seeking his opinion on it.

“Anyone who says experience does not matter cannot be right. Experience and commonsense must be balanced. So let’s balance emotions with commonsense,” he stressed. The President, who had ended his 3-day official visit to the UK, said the party had a tradition which abhorred imposition of candidates and upheld democracy. The party, he observed, had abundant supply of candidates but added when eventually the majority chose a personality, “let’s hold it together”. His comments were greeted with standing ovations.

President Kufuor took the delegates through the traditions of the party and emphasized that they hardly had deserters in the Danquah-Busia tradition. He reminded the diasporeans not to forget their roots but be committed to uphold and respect human rights. The President called on Ghanaians abroad to rise above ethnic and political divisions and come together to push forward the national agenda of joining mainstream globalisation.

"This is the way we must go to make Ghana the Black Star of Africa", he said. Also in attendance were the First Lady, Mrs Theresa Kufuor, Professor Daniel Adzei-Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State and Mr Isaac Osei, Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).

The President told them that Government would continue to be accountable and transparent and what was left was for the people to accept to do their bit by making sure that they lived up to their responsibilities to the nation. He noted that citizens of the country abroad were a great asset, citing their remittances, which went up from $200 million in 2001 to $4billion last year.

President Kufuor said there should be a new Ghanaian who was confident and capable of competing with anybody from any part of the world.

Nana Akufo-Addo for his part, said the future held a lot of hope for the country and called on all to put their shoulders to the wheel as it sets on the next 50 years milestone. At a dinner dance organized by the Ghana National Union, an umbrella organisation for a number of Ghanaian associations in the UK, President John Agyekum Kufuor was the toast of hundreds of Ghanaians who turned up.

The Chairman of the Union, Mr Kwame Adu, said they sincerely believed that there was strength in unity and were therefore determined to hold together. He conveyed the Union''s congratulations to President Kufuor on his election to chair of the African Union (AU).

The over-subscribed £50 per head dinner dance held at Fulham, London, could not contain the over 1,000 Ghanaians who had shown up to interact with their president. The hotel had a capacity of 800 but had been squeezed to accommodate the over 1,000 patrons who had thronged the venue.

The excited Ghanaians, displaying the national colours in their splendid kente cloths, was reminiscent of 50 years ago when Ghana lowered the Union Jack and replaced it with her own national colours of red, yellow and green.

Each Ghanaian at the memorable event in London sought to have a word with the President, whose invitation by the Queen had made them proud. President Kufuor flew to Lisbon, Portugal, for another official engagement with the Portuguese Head of State yesterday.

D. Guide

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