Division in the NPP: Old Cracks in a New Foundation

In April 2014, when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) elected its New National Party Executives, most of the party’s supporters were of the view that the party would now have a unified front that could provide stiff opposition to His Excellency President John Mahama’s 2016 re-election bid.
Three months after the election of the NPP’s new executive leadership, it is becoming increasingly obvious that deep-seated animosity still exists amongst its own leadership and within the core group of supporters.
There are within the NPP different sects who have opposing ideologies of how Ghana’s main opposition political party should function and who is worthy for the party to rally around against embattled President Mahama.
The process of choosing a flag bearer for the NPP to run against President Mahama in the 2016 general elections has revealed cardinal divisions that exist within the party.
There are three main fissures in the NPP: these are the Nana Akufo-Addo old-guard, the Alan Kyerematen bloc, and the third group which seeks a totally different face as a representative of the party’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The divisions within the NPP are not new developments and are perennially becoming the bane of the party’s existence.
They became salient when the NPP began to search for the heir apparent of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, after the party won the 2004 Ghanaian general elections.
The party attempted to dispel all rumors of internal wrangling over the choice of the direction of its leadership in a post John Kufuor era, with limited success.
In 2007, when 17 NPP presidential aspirants took part in party’s primaries there was no longer any question about the lack of a united front within the party.
Although it is the prerogative of every member of the party to nurture ambitions of presidency, the sheer number of people who contested in the 2007 NPP presidential primaries provided an indication of a party divided and rife with members seeking to fulfill their manifest destiny.
In 2014, there are only 7 presidential hopefuls vying for the position of presidential candidate for the party.
These individuals include Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate of the party; Mr. John Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen, a former Minister; Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, also a former Minister; Mr. Stephen Asamoah Boateng, also another former Minister Mr. Francis Addai Nimoh, the Member of Parliament for Mampong. Mr. Kofi Osei Ameyaw, Member of Parliament for Assuogyaman;; and Mr. Joe Ghartey, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Essikado-Ketan.
The existence of the 7 has necessitated a special congress by the party to reduce the number to 5, after which another congress will be held to finally select a sole presidential aspirant.
As the date of the special congress looms closer, the varying camps of NPP supporters of the hopefuls have begun casting aspersions against each other. The aspersions are the same ones that were hurled prior to the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
In addition, some party stalwarts are showing clear disdain for some presidential aspirants candidates while apotheosizing some candidates.
To those looking in, the party’s virtues of objectivity and decorum that it extolled after its election of the new executives is rapidly eroding.
The NPP has lost two consecutive presidential elections since its infamous 2007 primary and recent developments playing out on Ghana’s front pages indicate that future elections look bleak.