President John Mahama has asked Ghanaians not to risk voting a divided New Patriotic Party (NPP) presided over by a dictator into office.
Addressing party supporters at Bimbilla in the Northern Region during a campaign tour, the president said NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo has failed to unite his party and should therefore not be voted for in the December elections.
The “NPP is not ready for power; it will be a very dangerous thing to hand over power to a party that is not ready,” he told the cheering crowd.
The president was playing on disciplinary action taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) the NPP which upheld recommendations of the party’s disciplinary committee to suspend three national officers for stated misbehavior.
Two of the suspended officials – Paul Afoko and Sammy Crabbe – National Chairman and 2nd Vice-Chairman respectively, unsuccessfully challenged their suspensions in court.
In both cases, the Human Rights Division of the High Court held that the processes used in suspending the two were fair and lawful.
Playing on this, president Mahama said the NPP presidential candidate is leading a half of the party with the other half “sitting down with their arms folded watching him drive the bus down the hill.”
He claimed the NPP presidential candidate had been sacking party members who criticise him.
President Mahama said Ghana deserved a president who can unite the nation, wondering how the Nana Akufo-Addo could be relied on to unite Ghana if he couldn’t unite his own party.
Picking on the Nana Akufo-Addo’s appeal to voters to try him, the President said, “It will be a dangerous experiment. Ghana is not at a stage where we are experimenting in leadership and so you can’t come and beg that we should try you; we are not in the era of experiments and trials.”
Responding to the President’s claims, Mustapha Abdul Hamid, Spokesperson for the NPP flagbearer said it was surprising that Mr. Mahama was playing to the gallery without a scintilla of evidence to back his outrageous claims.
First, he said it was palpably false to claim that Nana Akufo-Addo was leading one-half of the NPP whilst the other remained aloof.
About 96% of the grassroots of the NPP voted to elect Nana Akufo-Addo as the flagbearer of the NPP, he pointed out, stressing that those who competed with him for the flagbearership – Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Alan Kyerematen, Francis Addai Nimo – are all on the campaign trail.
So where is the half of NPP supporters sitting with their arms folded which the president is talking about? Mr. Hamid asked.
He said the President has proven that he had intended to ride on divisions within the opposition party to win the elections.
The university lecturer said the president conveniently ignored the fact that impartial judges had affirmed the party’s actions as legal and fair, insisting this is a testament to a failed attempt to fan the NPP’s internal divisions and exploit same for political gain.
He said the President may have failed to appreciate what Nana Akufo-Addo means when he tells the electorate to try him.
In any case, the results of the president’s leadership make trying another person imperative.
“All the economic indicators he inherited have been left in a worse state so where is the experience”? Mustapha Hamid asked.
He said the NPP flagbearer had proven to be a principled person and done well for himself in his personal life. He, therefore, is best placed to lead the transformation that Ghana badly deserves, he asserted.