General News of Thursday, 12 March 2015
Source: The Republic
It has emerged that the opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) famed Wongbo demonstration was the brainchild of Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, the General Secretary of the party who reportedly ‘ambushed’ flag-bearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to personally lead the protest.
According to insiders, even though Akufo Addo was initially not interested in the demonstration that rocked Accra and Kumasi two weeks ago, Kwabena Agyapong’s careful scheming left Akufo-Addo no choice but to lead the protest, designed to demonstrate against what the NPP referred to as economic hardship and crippling energy situation in the country.
Apparently, when the idea of the Wongbo demonstration was mooted, Kwabena Agyapong is said to have seemingly sought the views of the party’s flag-bearer, its hierarchy and Parliamentarians, even though he hardly took their views into consideration.
Our sources reports that, just when the party was deciding on the modalities of the demonstration, Kwabena Agyapong staged a major press conference to announce that Akufo-Addo will be leading the demonstration, without an explicit confirmation from the stunned flag-bearer.
The Republic Newspaper gathered that the NPP flag-bearer was upset by the way he was ambushed into accepting the responsibility, but Kwabena Agyapong had already set the ball rolling, leaving him no choice than accepting a challenge that involved the aging Akufo-Addo to walk several hours with protesters through an arduous procession across selected routes in Accra.
NPP parliamentarians who also participated in the protest were reportedly confused at the initial stages about their roles because Kwabena Agyapong had apparently given them only sketchy details of the demonstration.
Eventually, Akufo-Addo was forced to cough up more than GHC 2million from his campaign war chest to finance the demonstration by transporting volunteers to the protests in both Accra and Kumasi.
Consequently, on Wednesday February 18, 2015, top brass of the NPP – including Akufo Addo, his running-mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the General Secretary of the Party, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, NPP Members of Parliament, top party executives and a cross-section of party supporters and the general public- led placard-wielding demonstrators clad in red and black attires .
The widely touted protest as one expected to be the biggest in the country with an estimated turnout of 200,000 people to one million people yielded barely 5,000 people according to estimates.
Kwabena Agyapong has earned himself a reputation at the helm of affairs of the main opposition party as an ‘authoritarian’ who hardly consults the party structures when taking critical decisions for the party.
His attitude recently resulted in bloodshed at the party headquarters when weapon-wielding opposing groups in the party clashed over certain decisions he had taken since assuming office.
Akufo Addo is said to be increasingly growing uncomfortable with leaving things entirely in the hands of the NPP party hierarchy, particularly Kwabena Agyapong and Paul Afoko, so it was unclear why he easily played along with the Wongbo demonstration.
Critics have reasoned that he may have gone along because he realized the political capital he could derive from the demonstration. Meanwhile, a group of young men of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have on Sunday March 9, stormed the party’s Asylum Down headquarters to protest against what they termed ‘certain happenings’ in the party, reported Daily Guige, the main opposition mouth piece ? mouthpiece.
“Chief among their concerns was the removal of former National Chairman of the party, Peter Mac Manu, as the party’s representative on the Electoral Commission’s (EC’s) Electoral Reforms Committee, accusing the party’s General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, of wrongdoing and running a one-man show.
“We are even more amazed by the manner he (Mac Manu) was recalled from and replaced on the committee by the same General Secretary,” said leader of the group who presented a petition, David Asante.
“Granted that the unilateral decision by the General Secretary to initially appoint Mac Manu as the party’s representative to the committee was wrong, the backlash on his latest decision to pull him out is obviously not popular,” he stated.
To the group, “Kwabena Agyepong himself must have had a very good reason for putting forward Mac Manu as the party’s representative when the EC created that opportunity, although he failed to consult with the party.”
This, they said, was because “Mac Manu’s knowledge and competence in the evolution of our electoral processes is one that we have confidence in,” touting him as the brain and architect behind the party’s reform proposals to the EC.
Aside that, they claimed, “He has succeeded in convincing the rest of the party that he understands the crux of our electoral matters. He is widely consulted on electoral matters internationally.”
Spokesman for the Concerned NPP Members noted, “The need and value of these reforms we are seeking in our electoral processes are incalculable. They cannot be personalised neither can they be used to serve anyone’s personal interest. The reforms are very crucial to the conduct of any credible elections and therefore to our success at the polls.”
Furthermore, David Asante stressed the belief that “The committee provides the foundation for all stakeholders in our elections to decide on the way forward after the sad episode in 2012,” adding, “It is therefore imperative that the party puts its best foot forward.”
In view of this, the disgruntled youth said, “Moreover, we believe that the very delicate nature of the electoral reform process and how critical it is to the party’s fortunes come 2016, the NPP needs someone who is fully focused on the task and thus we do not believe that a General Secretary who is occupied with daily duties of running the party secretariat can fully concentrate on this all-important process like the former National Chairman who can fully devote himself to the process.”
They have therefore petitioned leadership of the NPP to reappoint Peter Mac Manu to the committee albeit through the right process.
NPP Director of Elections Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, who received the petition on behalf of the leadership of the party, promised to channel the group’s concerns to the appropriate quarters.
Copies of the petition have since been sent to the National Council (NC), National Executive Committee (NEC), the 2016 NPP Flagbearer, his running mate, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, the Steering Committee, the National Chairman, Legal and Constitutional Committee and all regional chairmen of the party.
Sources in the party told DAILY GUIDE that Kwabena Agyepong, who recently virtually stripped the National Treasurer of the party, Abankwa Yeboah, of his position by changing the signatories to the party’s accounts, woke up one fine morning and wrote to the EC, withdrawing Mac Manu without any consultation.
It was alleged that after the decision he then informed the flagbearer and leader of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, saying that some unknown elders of the party had said he (Agyepong) should join the EC committee because NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, is there representing the ruling party“