A former Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs in the John Agyekum Kufuor regime, Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, has stated that although he did not back the exit of Alan Kyerematen from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), he is not opposed to the decision.
Speaking on PM Express on Joy News on Tuesday, the octogenarian said, “I think it’s unfortunate for the party that a stalwart like Alan will decide to leave the party at this time getting very close to general elections. It’s unfortunate but it happens. Unfortunately, I wasn’t consulted but I got to know about it before he came out with his press conference.”
The former Trade and Industry Minister in choosing to contest election 2024 as an independent candidate, claimed that the NPP has been hijacked by a select few who intimidate those that are in disagreement with them.
Asked whether he tried talking to Alan Kyerematen out of his decision after hearing about it, the 83-year-old party stalwart said, “He’s taken the decision already. He tried to explain his reasons for doing that and there was no way anybody could advise him. I tried to let him know that it will be better to be in the party. But I think he’s gone very far, he’s gone so far that it was difficult convincing him to reverse his decision.”
“If he had consulted me earlier, I would have stuck with him and let him know the pros and cons of the decision he was taking and then try to convince him based on my understanding of the issues to maybe stay in and fight. I did not support his resignation. I am not opposed to it, but I wouldn’t have asked him to go and do what he has done” he explained.
Asked whether he agrees with Alan Kyerematen’s claim that a select few have hijacked the party, Kwadwo Mpiani 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.”
“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.”
According to former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s right-hand man, “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.”
The former Chief of Staff and minister of presidential affairs particularly blamed President Akufo-Addo for the NPP’s problems, saying 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 him, “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.
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.”
On the possibility of Alan winning the election, Mr Mpiani retorted, “Who knows? He may come out a winner. So, how can I say it’s a wrong decision when I haven’t done any research?” he quizzed.
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 urged the party to reach out to Alan and appeal to him to rejoin the party, adding that he’s willing to lead that conversation if the party requires him to.
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.
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