Analysis: The NPP and its “fontomfrom” politics – By Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

Folks, it is no exaggeration to say that the kind of politics going on in the NPP is not only bookish but also qualifies as a kind of fontomfrom politics.

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If you know how the fontomfrom drumbeats are enacted and how dancers vigorously dance to the rhythm, you shouldn’t be surprised that the NPP’s kind of politics after losing the 2012 general elections is nothing but fontomfrom politics. And fontomfrom has its own intricacies as a drum-dance enactment. In political terms, it amounts to nothing but busy work that won’t produce any beneficial outcome.

And in the political history of the Gold Coast, fontomfrom is memorable. History has it that the citizens of Fomena in Adansi (Ashanti Region) once forcibly thrust their fontomfrom drum on a white man and paraded him through the area just to prove that they could “tame” the white man.

Considering the origin of the NPP and its proud allegiance to its stronghold, I can assume—and rightly too—that the ongoing flexing of verbal muscles by the various factions in it is not adventitious. It is an integral part of the fontomfrom politics for which that political camp is known. There is much vigorous verbal activity going on and much hopping about from place to place, radio station to radio station, and dancing around in circles. All those who matter are actively cutting the fontomfrom dance steps!

This fontomfrom politics being done all over the place is really provoking much spiraling among the members of the various factions for nothing. And some are really dancing themselves lame even before the actual dancing begins at the party’s congress in March 2014.

What is the beef? Simple: The twice defeated Akufo-Addo is attempting to spring a fast move but has been caught in his stride. Even though he claims that he is taking time off in London to await the “face” and “voice” of God to know his future political direction, he is vigorously pulling strings by sending emissaries round to canvass for support for him so he will be retained as the party’s flagbearer for Election 2016.

He has also made pointed statements to leave no one in doubt that he considers himself as the most popular of all those who will be bidding for the flagbearer position at the national congress  and is positioning himself to confirm so. Unfortunately for him, the smart ones won’t let him have his way.

They are bothered that retaining him without addressing the factors that led to his being whipped twice at the polls won’t do the party any good.

Ahoy!! None other than Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, the Campaign manager for Akuffo Addo at Election 2008 and the Head of Security for the same candidate at Election 2012 decided to sound the alarm bells. He has expressed misgivings at the manouevres by the Akufo-Addo camp and dismissed Akufo-Addo as “unattractive” to voters, meaning that he won’t ever lead the NPP to victory. What to do? Look for a more appealing candidate!

All hell has broken loose and the fontomfrom enunciation is in full gear. Dr. Apraku’s bold assertions have touched raw nerves and he is not being spared at all. Open insults, threats, and denunciations of him as a traitor have surfaced.

He has been summonsed before the Council of Elders of the NPP over his recent scathing comments about the party. According to Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Guide newspaper, the invitation has been extended to him for his recent comments which have generated heated controversy within the NPP.

A throwback to experiences of Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe, Kwame Pianim, Dr. Arthur Kennedy, and many more? Ostracism awaiting Dr. Apraku too? And we note that he intends contesting the flagbearer position too! Shouldn’t he be free to speak his mind at all, especially to defend his own interests in this cabal of property-grabbing “liberal” democrats?

The fontomfrom politics is assuming intriguing dimensions. Perry Okudjeto (the NPP’s Director of Communications) claims that the invitation of Dr. Apraku to appear before the Council of Elders is not meant to scare interested persons away from the flagbearer slot. Or to silence people like him speaking their minds?

That is the logical inference, especially considering the precedents already set. The impression, then, is that powerful forces in the NPP who are behind Akufo-Addo won’t tolerate anything that undermines his quest to lead the NPP at Election 2016, something that has forced Dr. Arthur Kennedy (who recently confirmed his interest in contesting the flag bearer position) to say that it appears the party is working towards a coronation ceremony for Akufo-Addo.

The heat is still on. Dr. Apraku is not alone. Support for him has come from others, especially Dr. Arthur Kennedy, Kennedy Agyapong (MP for the Assin Central), and Kwabena Agyei Agyepong (an aspiring contender for the post of General Secretary of the NPP), and many others.

Kennedy Agyapong has even widened the net and urged that the current crop of leaders (Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, national Chairman, and his team) should be shown the exit. He accused them of stealing funds and resources allocated to the 20012 campaign efforts of the party. To him, they are thieves not to be entrusted with the destiny of the party.

Here is where the lid will hang over Kennedy Agyapong too, provided the NPP Council of Elders have the guts to do what Nana Akomea (he former Communications Director of the NPP 2012 election campaign) has said—that Kennedy Agyapong will soon be summonsed before the Council of Elders of the party as well as the Minority in Parliament over his utterances.

So, the fontomfrom enactments continue. Kwabena Agyepong is calling for a total overhaul of the current leadership of the party. According to him, the NPP is at the crossroads and thus needs a vibrant, vision-oriented leadership for a landslide victory in the 2016 general elections.

“There is a need for a change of leadership. The time has come for NPP to go back to our roots to win the confidence of Ghanaians”. Will he also be summonsed before the NPP’s Sanhedrin to account for his “damaging” utterances?

Not only that. Richard Asante Yeboah (a youth activist of the NPP), has predicted that the party may lose the 2016 general elections if the ongoing bickering is not resolved.

To him, a party that is divided in opposition cannot guarantee a united nation if voted to power. Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Wednesday, Asante Yeboah said the NPP has not learnt any lessons from the defeat in the 2008 and 2012 elections.

According to him, the level of complacency in the NPP— a party, which has been in opposition for five years—is more than that of the party in power. He described as “strange” how people are not forging for unity in the party but are rather seeking their own parochial interests.

Where will this fontomfrom politics land the NPP? Anybody’s guess. Even if the house is put in order, fear looms as to how an NPP government will function. As property-grabbers, we don’t doubt their skills. But here is the alarm being sounded by a political science lecturer (Dr. Richard Amoako Baah, Head of the Political Science Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST):

“If the assertions by Hon Kennedy Agyapong are anything to go by, then, the New Patriotic Party is sure to ‘perpetuate gargantuan crimes of worse forms’, if they come to power”.

Dr. Baah opined that “if you were unable to deliver these little things that were entrusted in your care by the party, then, it means you would propagate gargantuan crimes if your party comes into government. If that is what they are doing, then they are not going anywhere”.

An honest assertion? I leave it to the fontomfrom politicians to determine for themselves. In the meantime, it is interesting to note that these “book” politicians are still giving us the comic relief that they enacted through their “Concert Party” shows at the beginning, middle, and end of their petition hearing by the Supreme Court. And we are enjoying every bit of it.

I shall return…

The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of, and