When a candidate determined to clinch his party’s presidential nomination begins his campaign by vehemently denying queries about his questionable loyalty to the collective aspirations and interests of the membership of the very whose blessings he earnestly desires to realize his dream, there obviously is a recipe for disaster in the making.
And so when a couple of days ago, Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen told spectators in the La Dadekotopon constituency in Accra that he had never threatened to resign from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), many of us were logically left wondering whether we had, in fact, awakened on the wrong side of our bedsteads or even landed on a wholly new planet altogether.
Actually, as a trained lawyer, the former Trade minister in the Kufuor administration, was just doing what most lawyers do best on any working day of the week, which is to quibble with the facts and the truth and fervidly hope that ample time, somehow, would have elapsed for most eye-/ear-witnesses to have totally forgotten about yesteryear’s heinous crimes and misdemeanors altogether. But, of course, that is only a wish. Sooner or later, we invariably get consumed by the very demons that we deviously created and willed onto our rivals and political opponents.
It is also quite a wicked irony that Mr. Kyerematen waited until the passing of Mr. B. J. Da Rocha before making his rather curious claim. Mr. Da Rocha, a former chairman of the NPP, was, of course, the man who presided over hectic talks aimed at heading off Mr. Kyerematen’s very public and rancorous resignation threat. He would shortly conclude that President Kufuor’s putatively favoured candidate for president was an outright nuisance whose bluff needed to be promptly called if, indeed, the NPP was to have a proverbial fighting chance in the 2008 presidential election.
In the revered and trusted opinion of Mr. Da Rocha, it appeared as if Mr. Kyerematen, having convincingly failed to clinch the party’s nomination for president, was hell-bent on tactically stalling the chances of the winner by slyly deploying the raw politics of distraction. It would take nearly a month for the Ejisu (Edweso) native to half-heartedly call off his resignation threat, just about enough time to have effectively dented and vitiated the credibility of the NPP in the eyes and minds of both party faithful and sympathetic but uncommitted eligible voters.
The foregoing, of course, had not been helped by the apparently deliberate omission of the party’s 2008 presidential nominee’s name from the list of citizens deserving of national encomiums, including the self-nominated President John Agyekum (Kofi Diawuo) Kufuor himself! It would take the public spleen-venting of deputy parliamentary speaker and MP for Dome-Kwabenya Prof. Mike Ocquaye, among others, to call the Flagstaff House/Osu Castle to order. And even then, Nana Akufo-Addo would be grudgingly and belatedly listed on the second-class batch of honorees, with then-opposition presidential candidate and now-President John Mills comfortably, albeit flagrantly, listed among the sparkling ranks of first-class honorees. Dr. Mills, as well as other listed National Democratic Congress (NDC) honorees, would promptly and flatly reject their awards. Needless to say, by now, the harm had already been done.
In essence, when he says that he never resigned from the New Patriotic Party, on the face of it, Mr. Kyerematen is quite right. The follow-up question, however, becomes: Then why would Messrs. Da Rocha, Mac Manu, among others, spend a remarkable span of precious campaign time and resources on marathon conference sessions with Mr. Kyerematen aimed at warding off the former Trade minister’s resignation threat? Then also, why would it take several weeks for Mr. Kyerematen to break his quite deafening silence on the issue, and then only to release a mischievously worded noncommittal statement saying that his future with either the NPP or another party was decidedly undecided? And to be certain, it was the latter outcome that prompted Mr. Da Rocha to lividly recommend that Mr. Kyerematen’s links with the NPP be quickly and completely severed.
In any case, whether he either resigned or even threatened to resign from the NPP is patently beside the point. What is grievously at issue is the trustworthiness of Mr. Kyerematen. In other words, the former Trade minister’s problem is one of ethical principles. Of course, he would glibly claim later on that his resignation threat had been aimed at forcing party executives to promptly address some protean taunts and threats that Mr. Kyerematen’s supporters and former campaign operatives were purportedly experiencing at the hands of the “Akufo-Addo people.”
As to whether the preceding alone warranted Mr. Kyerematen’s very loud, unseasonable and public attempt to distract and, perhaps, even derail the entire campaign focus of the NPP, this may well be deemed moot. Nonetheless, as a well-placed party insider recently confided to this writer, had he really harboured the party’s collective and greater interests at heart, Mr. Kyerematen would readily and auspiciously have employed backdoor diplomacy to resolve matters. In sum, hinted the NPP insider, Mr.
Kyerematen’s proverbial Achilles heel may be objectively perceived to approximate a woeful lack of moral maturity. And with the kind of national political culture in which we are decidedly implicated, temperamental fortitude is an indispensable commodity.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI), the pro-democracy policy think tank, and the author of 21 books, including “Selected Political Writings” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008).