A former Chief of Staff and minister of presidential affairs in the John Kufuor administration, Kwadwo Mpiani, has placed the problems of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) squarely on the laps of President Akufo-Addo.
Commenting on the resignation of the former Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen from the NPP on PM Express on Joy News, the party stalwart did not mince words when he said the party’s problems began the day its former National Chairman and General Secretary, Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong, were unfairly removed from their roles.
According to the one-time Member of Parliament for Mampong South in the Ashanti Region in the 3rd Republic from 1979 to 1981, “once they [Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong] were removed, the candidate [Nana Akufo-Addo] had his way, and this has continued up to this time” he argued.
In announcing his resignation and subsequent decision to contest as an independent presidential candidate for the 2024 elections, Mr Alan Kyerematen claimed that the party has been hijacked by a select few, who intimidate others who do not agree with them.
Asked whether he agrees with Alan Kyerematen’s claim that a select few have hijacked the party, the 83-year old responded in the affirmative.
“Well, to some extent yes. You know, I think the party’s problems deepened the very day the party decided to sack its Chairman [Paul Afoko] and General Secretary [Kwabena Agyapong], which I believe was unconstitutional under our own party rules, but then the party did it.”
“Unfortunately, some members, including members of the group to which I belong, take pride in this by saying that they were able to remove these people. As soon as the party removed these people, they gave the party to one man who was the candidate at that time, and who is the President at this time, and this is the problem we have in the party which we are not confronting. And if we don’t confront this problem, we are going to have more problems within the party.”
According to the octogenarian, after the election of the former Chairman and General Secretary at the time, he took part in meetings to resolve the issues that emerged, but there was no headway, only for them to be removed from office.
When he was specifically asked whether he meant President Akufo-Addo and his loyalists are those who have hijacked the party, the NPP stalwart retorted, “What I am saying is that there was this problem, and the party in its wisdom decided to give the party to the Candidate Akufo-Addo, who’s now President Akufo-Addo.”
When the host of PM Express, Evans Mensah pushed further by asking directly if he meant President Akufo-Addo was the party’s problem, Mr Mpiani said, “He is part of the problem. All of us are part, and he is part of the problem.”
The known Kufuor ally, who described Alan’s exit and subsequent decision as unfortunate, however, agreed with him generally that there are problems in the party.
Although he said he was not consulted by Alan on his decision, he said he was not surprised about it and was not opposed to it either.
“There have been problems with the party except that those of us in the party are trying to behave like ostriches and not seeing what’s in the party. I was not too much surprised about what happened because I have been telling colleagues that the way the party is going, if we are not lucky, there are going to be more serious upheavals in the future.”
“I have had the occasion of talking to my colleagues even at the Council of Elders that we must sit up and try to confront the issues in the party. If we pretend that everything is okay we’re going to regret it in the future. Unfortunately, some people didn’t sort of believe what I was saying, and this is one of the outcomes of what is happening in the party” he noted.
He reiterated Alan’s claim about the party being hijacked by a select few, saying, “Unfortunately, the party has become a sort of club for a few people within the party where decisions are taken by them, and then all members are supposed to comply with those decisions. People are not able to come out openly to protest, but those of us sitting back hear a lot of complaints from a lot of members of the party including even those at the highest echelon of the party. And therefore, some of us know that all is not well within the party.”
According to Mr Mpiani, many disgruntled party members who have complained about the current state of the party may want to be part of Alan’s train if things do not improve.
He said the elders of the party may have to reach out to Alan and appeal to him to rejoin the party, adding he’s willing to lead that conversation if the party demands that of him. He said if the party takes the right steps, it can recover from its current challenges.
“Well, we should try to recover. The party has its antecedents which go as far as the 1950s when we became a United Party, and it has a very long history. And therefore, I think we should go back to our beliefs and try to live according to our beliefs. If we do that, we must be able to recover.
Asked whether the current state of affairs will cost the party in the 2024 elections, Mr Mpiani said, “I don’t know yet, but I am sure it is going to affect the party.”
According to him, it was normal for party executives to downplay the impact of Alan’s exit, but behind the scenes, they won’t take it lightly.
Asked whether he thought this decision was the end of Alan Kyerematen’s political career, the former Chief of Staff said, “I don’t know, that’s left for Alan to decide.
This is not the first time Alan is quitting the party. After the 2007 presidential primaries where he contested against Akufo-Addo, he raised issues with the process and went ahead to resign.
However, after the party promised to address his concerns, he returned to the NPP, only to resign again now to contest the national election as an independent candidate.