Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Of leaking tapes, and NPP internal unity for election 2016

NPP has suffered massive leakage of tapes from its camp in recent times. It suggests that all is not well in the internal politics of New Patriotic Party (NPP). Factions have still not accepted to work in peace and tranquility to ensure smooth victory for their presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. It is about “We” and “Them” within the party. 

There are some elders who have circled Akufo Addo, who beat their chests openly that they love him more than others, have closed doors to anybody who overtly expressed divergent views about him and are ready to damage any perceived internal dissenters. These people see themselves as truly NPP or “Nana nipa” (Nana`s loyalist). These Nana`s loyalists refer to people who supported Alan Kyeremanten, perceived former President Kufuor loyalists and all other party neutrals as enemies. 

In their meetings and conversations, these Pro-Alan-Kufuor supporters and neutrals in the party they cannot vouch for their true allegiance are referred to as “Yaanom.” It’s a new antagonistic term that separates “True Nana” factions from others. To be tagged “Yaanom” means you will never ever find peace and joy in the party, let alone be allowed to get closer to Nana Addo to share your views.

The ‘Yaanoms’ that have been declared persona non grata near Nana Addo`s residence are leading party personalities like Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy, Professor Kwabena Frempong-Boateng, Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe, Dr Charles Yves Wereko-Brobbey, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Dr. Richard Anane, Mr. Kwame Pianim, Mr.Kwadwo Mpiani, Mr. Paul Afoko, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong and Ms. Otiko Afisah Djabah. Some of these personalities can only have a whiff of Akufo Addo`s presence at NPP national headquarters NEC meetings or peace-broking venues. 

That is the situation in NPP

Leaking of vital information by politicians to outdo one another in an internal political challenge and jostling for power as well as external politicking of opposing political parties, is an old tradition. Leaking is a matter of policy or strategy to implement an agenda.  It goes to the roots of psychic that politicians get their power and influence from supporters that believe that their trusted political players are there to serve their best interest. To enable them win the hearts and minds of supporters and sympathizers to the detriment of their opposing politician contemporaries, leaking of information is exploited as the best weapon.

It is a means to an end to ensure that opponents look evil after being pilloried in the court of public opinion over leaked information and ultimately put a nail in their coffin to become a pariah.  Two-dimensional self- leak matrix is effectively utilized to achieve these aims.

Politicians and their agents secretly record damaging and confidential information about their opponents and leak it to the media or leak such negative information about themselves to the media and blame their opponents for it.

United States of America is the home of classic leaks. It is part of their day-today serious governance and political game.  In their great article published in April 9, 2006 edition of Los Angeles Times, titled “In Politics, Leaking Stories Is a Fine Art,” authors Richard T. Cooper and Faye Fiore revealed that leaking stories has been the game plan for United States politicians since the formation of the Republic and, “Washington insiders have long honed the skill, learning exactly when, or to whom, to disclose secrets in order to advance their agenda.”  

In fact, one of the founding fathers of US, Alexander Hamilton, the handsome dude whose painting adorns the US$10 bill, and noted for playing instrumental role in winning popular support for the Constitution, lost his life-long  dream of becoming  US president when someone told a scandal-mongering journalist about an affair he had had with a married woman. The leak, Hamilton believed, came from the camp of rival James Madison, who went on to become the fourth president of the United States. 

“Today, leaking has become such a basic part of the way Washington works that officials hold meetings to decide when, where and how to leak. They cultivate reporters who can be counted on to make good use of leaks. They draft memos spelling out official leak policies so that lower-level officials will know how to leak correctly,” Cooper and Fiore disclosed.

How the leakages in NPP began

It is this strenuous situation that has led to effective deployment and subterfuge to record meetings and conversations of opponents and personalities with ultimate aim of leaking it to the press in their war of survival, sustenance and consolidation of their hold on power and support base within the party. This parochial agenda of tape leakages started first with vile leakage of written text information to the media and mobile phones users during the NPP flagbearership campaign in 2008. 

In that campaign, communications wing of presidential aspirants leaked various diabolical information about their colleagues to the press. In one instance, an information was leaked to a newspaper suggesting that the then sitting vice president and an aspirant, late Aliu Mahama had no party membership card.  This caused Aliu to cut short his campaign to return to Accra with his special assistant Yaw Buabeng Asamoa challenging the publication, and also calling on the party hierarchy to clear the air about what he described as "the speculative story about my boss" membership card. 

On the D-Day of Congress to elect presidential candidates at University of Ghana, leakage of alleged voices of candidates conspiring to undermine a particular candidate was texted and shared. The situation aroused much heat that when Lord Commey was told that Paul Afoko was sharing dollars to influence voters, he just rush there to slap the man.

2012-2014 leaked tapes

After the Legon Congress, the birth of the era of leakage of Tapes dawned in NPP. The first leaked tape was the August 2012 recordings of Mr. Kennedy Agyapong (Agyapong tape), in which the Assin MP is heard saying he will not campaign for Akufo Addo again because NPP has betrayed him. The tape nearly brought serious rift between Nana`s loyalists and Kennedy but his constant denials and the massive Public Relations work done by his Oman Fm quelled it. 

In September 2014, another sizzling and explosive leaked audio recording purported to contain the voice of Minority Leader and NPP MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu emerged and went viral on Ghanaian media. The Tape popularly known as (Mensah-Bonsu Tape/Vuvuzelas Tape) had a voice of the Minority Leader making a number of damning claims, including the allegation that Nana Akufo-Addo and his entourage spent US$90,000 every weekend they visited Kumasi during the 2012 electioneering campaign, even though the flagbearer slept in a private residence.

The voice further claimed the aspiring NPP flagbearer and his team has misplaced priorities and is spending monies on luxurious activities when such funds could be used to help win parliamentary seats. It also said the team allegedly spent millions to buy cars, Vuvuzelas and other things to the detriment of the entire campaign. After several denials by the Minority leader, factions close to the flagbearer, especially a Kumasi-based Pro-Nana Addo group calling itself NPP for Victory 2016 accused two NPP MPs for Asante Akyem North and Manhyia North, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang and Collins Owusu Amankwa as the perpetrators/leakers. They denied, expressed fears and suspicions that "such mischievous claims are only meant to destroy” their “political career and hard earned reputations”. 

True to their feelings and suspicions, that accusation was drummed into the ears of delegates by tagging them as anti-Nana Addo MPs during NPP parliamentary primaries leading to their defeats.

Closing 2014 in grand style of leakages galore, another tape (Anta Tape) emerged in October 2014 in which the voice of Mr. Mohammed Amin Anta, the former Municipal Chief Executive of Tamale and a friend discussing NPP`s internal politics was also heard on the tape saying that Nana Akuo-Addo offered him three positions to choose from if he joined his camp. Anta also denied it and Kweku Baako even rubbished it as total bunkum.

2015 leakages

This year has already witnessed serious records of leaked tapes from NPP camp, and judging from utterances of presenters of pro-NDC radio stations, Radio Gold and Montie that they have more unreleased tapes at their disposal, it is likely that more tapes will emerge before the end of this year and in 2016, if NPP factions continue to do themselves in. 

In January this year, Daniel Bugri Naabu, a die-hard Nana Addo loyalist and Northern Regional Chairman of NPP was captured in a leaked tape, known as Bugri Naabu Tape, disclosing that the party National Chairman, General Secretary and Second Vice Chairman, Mr. Afoko, Kwabena Agypong and Sammie Crabbe respectively, are not to be trusted and for that matter they are going to be sidelined in the 2016 elections. He went further to state that, himself (Daniel Bugri Naabu) Freddie Blay the first vice, the party’s running mate Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, Nana Addo, Nassara coordinator Abdulai Kamldeen, Sammy Awuku, John Boadu, National Organizer, the other 9 regional chairmen and some selected NPP parliamentarians would be the core of the 2016 campaign without the involvement of Mr. Afoko and Kwabena Agypong. 

He was captured saying ’’neither Paul Afoko nor Kwabena Agypong is interested in Naa Akuffo Addo becoming president of Ghana.”   This tape brought Sammy Crabbe and Fredrick Worsemao Blay into serious friction when Sammy asked for investigation of the tape and possible sanctions against Mr. Naabu, and Blay declined. 

It must be emphasized that what Naabu said has recently been openly declared by another Nana Addo loyalist, Mr. Ayisi Boateng suggesting that Nana should sidelined Afoko and Agyapong.

Trailing immediately after Bugri Naabu Tape, was Osafo Marfo Tape in February in which the former Finance Minister in the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Yaw Osafo Marfo voice is heard spewing tribal comments lamenting about equitable distribution of resources in the country when, in fact, some regions produced nothing.  This tape annoyed Kennedy Agyapong so much that he went on air to insult all NPP members as a bunch of “FOOLS.” The words on the Osafo Marfo Tape was also exploited by the ruling NDC to tag NPP is an ethnocentric and anti-Northern party at the recent Talensi by-elections when Osafo showed up at the constituency.

After the this tape also emerged a leaked letter from Prudential bank-NPP  in last May, in which the bank asked for the payment of a GHC2 million debt owed it by the NPP with specific mention of Kelli Gadzekpo and  Ken Ofori-Atta. This leaked letter came in the heat of agitation of impeachment process against Afoko and Agyapong as a result of the acid attack on the Upper East regional chairman of NPP, Adams Mahama and his eventual death and terrorist-like takeover of NPP Asylum down headquarters in Accra. Political watchers, believed that it was this letter that led to Nana Addo undertaking immediate press conference to advise the INVISIBLE FORCES under Captain Korda, who have high jacked the Party to vacate the vicinity to allow the Afoko and Agyapong to work as well as stoppage of collection of signatures to impeach the two, led by the former General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John). 

Just as the party is calm and ex-President Kufuor, despite all the allegations against him as working against Nana Addo and even has hand in the death of Adams Mahama, as alleged by Kennedy Agyapong, his recent meetings with leading religious figures to find peace and unity to protracted NPP internal problems in his Airport residence was recorded and leaked to the press. As usual, the factions in NPP are engaged in blame game. But NPP MP for Suhum, Magnus Opare Ansah says he has evidence to prove that NDC using operatives of National Security recorded Kufuor`s residence meeting.

NDC`s involvement

Opare Ansah`s allegation is something that NPP has never come together as one people to think about. It’s a very solid lead and must be followed to its logical conclusion. NDC is capable of doing this from Day one by recording NPP conversation using National security operatives and aggrieved party people in both factions that have locked perpetual horns in the party. 

I hope NPP find their sanity and sense of forgiveness to finally agree to come together to fight the common opponent, NDC which has been knocking their heads together for a very long time by exploiting protracted Alan-Nana rancor.