The Chairman of the National Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has attempted to account for the party’s defeat in the 2008 general elections.
According to him, the NPP at the time was aiming to break the eight years per party voting cycle which was being established by the electorate but failed woefully in their bid. They eventually lost the main polls to the late Professor John Evan Atta Mills
He said internal wrangling in the party which subsequently led to 17 individual aspirants contesting in the flagbearership race was the major mistake that caused the party’s defeat and the development of a fully-fledged eight years per party voting cycle.
Speaking to Eyewitness News on the issue following the celebration of the NPP’s 29th anniversary in active partisan politics in Ghana, the former statesman said “in the year 2008 where we had 17 of our people in competition to be president. If at the time we had the understanding that it will not help us and the best thing to do was to have one or two compete for it, we would not have lost that election.”
He added that “that did not help us break that 8-year cycle that was beginning to establish itself. That was a major mistake.”
Hackman Owusu Agyemang also indicated that the party has adopted some constitutional measures to put such overzealous internal competitions away.
“We did a review of our constitution and said that if we have more than five [aspirants], we will then have a preliminary elimination process and so at no point shall we have more than five. If we have 10, we will have a preliminary [elimination] that will be by an electoral college, and we will then scale it down to five, and then we will have the full nationwide exercise of selecting the flagbearer,” he said.
Some of the notable personalities who contested the flagbearership election included Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (now the president of Ghana), Hackman Owusu-Agyeman (Chairman of NPP council of elders), Alan Kyerematen (now the Minister of Trade and Industry), Alhaji Aliu Mahama (late former vice president), Yaw Osafo-Maafo(former Senior Minister), Daniel Kweku Botwe, Papa Owusu Ankomah (Ghana’s High Commission to the UK), Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, (former Defense Minister) and Professor Mike Oquaye Jnr (former speaker of parliament).
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo emerged victorious in that race but went on to lose the main election to the NDC.