Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”.
KWABENA AGYEI AGYAPONG may have had his fair share of the vicissitudes of life. At 59 (a quinquagenarian), he may have tasted the bitter-sour experiences of life. To some people, Agyapong’s story may not be news at all; to others, like our good selves, it is so striking we cannot resist the urge to write about it-well recognizing that there were “bigger” and “weightier” stories. In Agyapong’s story is a lesson for a good number of party loyalists, and those who insist on destroying the party if certain issues do not go their way. Need we repeat: “Your time will come”?
Agyapong was in his teens (20years) when his father Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyapong, was abducted together with his two colleague justices, Fred Poku Sarkodie, Cecilia Koranteng Addo and a military officer, Sam Acquah, and taken to the Bundase Military Range and shot and killed –in cold blood. That was Wednesday, 30th June, 1982. These four persons were deemed “enemies of the revolution” as recalled by Brigadier Nunoo-Mensah. The judges were accused of reviewing cases of PNDC convicts. Ex-Major Sam Acquah was the head of personnel of GIHOC where Joachim Amartei Kwei had been fired together with other workers for going on strike, and Cecilia Koranteng Addo’s court had refused his application for reinstatement.
After his Secondary education at Mfamtsimpim young Agyapong went to read Civil Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) graduating in 1986. With the sad episode of his father’s murder under the PNDC, headed by Flt. Lt. Rawlings he naturally found himself flirting more with the NPP after 1992 when the ban on party politics was lifted. He had formed a private company “Constro Consult Limited” in 1992; he was a refreshing face on a GTV sports programme, and his bewitching eyes caught the fancy of all sports enthusiasts. He went round on the campaign trail with Professor Adu Boahen. When the good old Professor lost to Kufuor, he marshaled all his strength in support of Kufuor equally, criss-crossing the whole country with Kufuor. It came as no surprise to many NPP supporters when Agyapong was made Press Secretary to the Kufuor administration between 2001 and 2006. When the NPP opened the floodgates for members to contest the presidential race, 17 presidential aspirants emerged: Vice President Aliu Mahama, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apradu, Prof. Mike Oquaye, Alan Kyeremateng, Felix Owusu Agyapong, Paapa Owusu-Ankomah, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Dan Botwe, Dr. Arthur Kennedy, Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, Hackman Owusu, Boakye Agyarko and, of course, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo (No particular order). These were the 17 presidential aspirants whom Asiedu Nketia, NDC’s General Secretary, described as “Seventeen thieves” contesting to select the ‘Chief thief’. Remember Ali Baba and his forty thieves?
In 2014, he stood for election as NPP’s General Secretary, and won. In a similar manner, Paul Afoko won the Chairmanship position. Right from the word “go” (as a Ghanaian-English speaker will put it), there were challenges to their leadership. Accusations flew from top to bottom, and the duo were accused of not following directives from NEC. When a party meeting was called in Accra, Afoko was out of the country and Agyapong was in Kumasi, so both could not attend.
Then the two (Afoko and Agyapong) decided to tour the regions, they faced resistance from some ardent party supporters. In the Upper East for example, the Chairman of the party Adam Mahama, supported the group which had resisted the participation of the Chairman and the General Secreatry. He later apologized. On 20th May, 2015, Adam Mahama was attacked by some assailants who poured acid on him. He died a day later, but allegedly named Gregory Afoko (Paul Afoko’s brother) as one of the perpetrators. Kennedy Agyapong, the fire brand Assin Central Member of Parliament could not hide his challenge to Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong. Paul Afoko was suspended. Later Kwabena Agyapong and the party’s 2nd Vice-Chairman, Sammy Crabbe, were suspended from office, after being accused of publicly rebelling against the party’s decision to suspend the National Chairman, Paul Afoko. When Paul Afoko and Sammy Crabbe sought redress at the court, Kwabena Agyapong “kept mute”. Perhaps, he had “given everything to God.”
Agyapong even joined Nana Akufo-Addo in the latter part of his 2016 campaign, and made appreciable contributions to some of the constituencies. Despite his predicament, he showed his appreciation to the party whose members had sympathized with him after the insane, gruesome murder of his father. In July 2018, Mac Manu, a former National Chairman of the Party indicated that the party would welcome the suspended national executives if they should attend any of the party’s events.
The NEC announced last week that it had lifted the suspension and decided to reinstate Agyapong after a six-year ban. With this unanimous decision, he is to enjoy full benefits as a former Secretary General of NPP.
One would daresay that the NPP is on a path of reconciliation. Kwabena Agyapong wrote to the NEC for his case to be reviewed. And NEC has proved that it has the tools to study every member’s contribution to building the party. And they keep saying “each dog and its day”.
Of course, anyone seeking reconciliation does not talk too much legalese. But NPP should widen the net of reconciliation. A party can win elections only with numbers. No antagonism; no backbiting, no bitterness. It should, or ought to, be friendship all the way.
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