Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential hopeful, who on Monday resigned from the party, has in his first interview, rescued ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor from the awkward position he had placed him as having encouraged him to leave and contest the 2024 election as independent presidential candidate.
The twice Trade and Industry Minister in two administrations, has for the first time, refuted claims that he is a “Kufuor boy” as well as claims that the ex-President had in 2007 worked everything for him to become NPP flagbearer.
Mr Kyerematen, who spoke in an interview on UTV, yesterday, Tuesday, September 27, 2023, charged “People don’t know me. My political capital had nothing to do with Kufuor”.
The onetime Ghana’s Ambassador to US resigned from the NPP on Monday, September 25, and announced his decision to contest the 2024 polls as an independent candidate citing divisive politics, intimidation in the NPP and hostile attacks on himself and his supporters for more than a decade now.
His decision, the second time in his political career, have left many pointing accusing fingers at ex-President Kufuor and other Asantes in the NPP as leading an agenda to scuttle what looks likely a Bawumia NPP presidential candidacy; the first non-Akan to lead the party into an election.
But, Mr Kyerematen, discredited the much-acclaimed support from ex-President Kufuor for him, saying he has not been “establishment candidate” in 2007 and has not remained so since.
He insisted if he was, he would have won the 2007 flagbearer contest which produced Nana Akufo-Addo to lead the NPP, unlike what is happening today in the ruling party with an individual being crowned.
“If I was an establishment candidate, President Kufuor would have enthroned me as President if he wanted to do that unlike what is happening today when someone is being enthroned. Everyone knows President Kufuor as fair and principled. If he wanted to, he would have done so. There are some things one can’t say. What did Kufuor do that made me an establishment candidate?
He went on saying on the Twi-speaking programme called “Mpu Ne Mpu”, a segment on Adekye Nsroma current affair show on UTV hosted by Yaa Konamah, “people don’t know me. My political capital had nothing to do with Kufuor. I need time to explain things to you. If you ask President Kufuor, he would tell you. Anytime he talks about it, he is so full of pain.
“Because people have said many untruthful things about him, including being the one who brought Alan. But he became President in 2001, his first appointment he made, because he knew of the work I was doing with the United Nations, I have worked with UAC, I became UAC manager at age 22. I was one of the youngest managers in UNILEVER; the whole of Ghana. So someone who had made himself at that time, and had helped Kufuor to come to power, how did Kufuor become the one who brought me into political limelight?
“According to Mr Kyerematen, President Kufuor had penciled him for a ministerial job as of 2001, but he rejected the appointment.
He asked his interviewer to go and speak to President Kufuor over the rejection of a ministerial appointment.
“I told him, I don’t need a minister. We have helped you to come to power but we need to sit back and watch you so that if things are going wrong, we can muster courage and tell you. Go ask him. I told him, I don’t like post. Give it to those struggling for the posts, but we will sit behind and tell you what you’re doing wrong.
“He said everything but I was adamant. He pushed and pushed but I turned him down. How many Ghanaians will refuse a position of a minister? It got to a point when he said, I should rather become his ambassador to the US. Even that, he had to push many times until he passed through my wife lobbying her before I became his US ambassador. So if someone says I am an establishment candidate, and Kufuor was enthroning me, try asking him. Is what is happening now similar to what had happened in 2007?
Meanwhile, the NPP, has responded to the resignation, saying it respects the decision of Mr Kyerematen to leave its fold.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, September 26, the General Secretary of the NPP, Justin Frimpong Koduah, while acknowledging that the party accepts Mr Kyerematen’s decision, noted their disappointment in the lack of prior notification to the party’s leadership before the public announcement.
Koduah described Mr Kyerematen’s decision as ‘pre-meditated,’ given the mode of his resignation through a press conference.
“The disappointing part is the mode in which he decided to resign from the party, which was through a press conference without prior notice to the party. The party wants to believe that his decision to hold the press conference to resign without first informing the leadership of the Party suggests that he has made a premeditated and irrevocable decision to resign from the party.
It needs emphasizing that, when the National Chairman [Stephen Ntim] visited him on behalf of the Party after the August 26 Special Electoral College, in an attempt to bring all the ten aspirants together, he did not portray any sign of resigning from the party, let alone going independent.
“The New Patriotic Party (NPP) acknowledges Mr Kyerematen’s contributions to our party’s growth and development over the years. We respect his decision and extend our gratitude for the services rendered to the NPP and the nation,” the General Secretary of NPP underscored.
The four-time NPP flagbearer hopeful also slammed the party’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako (a.k.a. Chairman Wontumi), for ‘attacking’ him following his breakaway from the party.
A visibly angry Mr Kyerematen questioned the temerity of Wontumi to be making statements against him.
Alan, who has announced he will be contesting in the 2024 presidential elections as an independent candidate, said that he is the one who made Wontumi what he is in the NPP.
“Who brought Wontumi to the party? Today, Wontumi is going round making all kinds of noise. If he has someone to thank, it should be Alan Kyerematen. I’m the one who held his hands to the party. Who is Wontumi?
“There are some things we should not be saying but we have been quiet for too long. I brought Wontumi to the NPP and I brought him to the party for a good reason. He was a small-time businessman. Today, when we are talking about party issues, Wontumi is the one dictating,” he said in Twi.
The presidential hopeful,
said that he helped make Wontumi, the NPP constituency Chairman for Bosumtwi after he (Wontumi) asked for his help and pledged to support his presidential ambition.
“I held his hand and made him a chairman… After he became chairman, he was always following me, he was more than a chief campaigner… I am saying this to praise because he was smart enough to see that Alan was the one who could guide him into politics.
“But he has to be careful with the things he has been doing for the sake of the future. If someone helps you become somebody don’t take the person for granted,” he added.
He said that he was the one who spoke to the NPP constituency Chairman in the Ashanti Region for them to make Wontumi the regional chairman.
Alan’s criticism of Wontumi comes after the former criticised his decision to break away from the NPP and contest as an independent candidate in the 2024 presidential elections.
Wontumi, in an interview on his TV station, Wontumi TV, on Monday, said Alan was ungrateful for the decision he took and that he (Alan) has only invited curses on himself by leaving the NPP.
“…President Kufour made you an ambassador and you were so happy. You (Alan), your girlfriends, your wife and your children enjoyed it so much. You sent them to good schools. President Kufuor also made you trade minister and because of this, you became so rich that you were nick-named Alan Cash.
“…You have enjoyed in the past because of the NPP. As for me, I think this resignation is a curse to him because the NPP has helped him. Look at how the party has helped you. If everyone in the NPP got what you have gotten from the party, none of them would complain of being mistreated,” he said in the Twi dialect.
The Ashanti Regional NPP chairman also issued a press statement directing all the chairpersons in the 47 constituencies in his region to promptly remove all campaign materials, including posters, banners, and flyers, bearing Kyerematen’s image and name from their party offices.
“In view of Hon. Alan Kyerematen’s resignation from the party, all his posters, banners, flyers, and paraphernalia at our party offices in all the constituencies must be removed with immediate effect. Once he has forfeited his membership, it is just right and fair that these items are removed from our offices,” the memo signed by Wontumi stated.
Interestingly, former Interior Minister Kwamena Bartels has criticised Mr. Kyerematen’s decision to resign from the NPP, describing it as the most detrimental choice in his political career urging the NPP leadership to graciously accept Mr. Kyerematen’s resignation and sever all ties with him.
“I felt sorry for him [Alan]; he has taken the worst decision he can ever take in his political life. He is finished as a politician. This is the end for him as a politician,” Bartels emphatically stated during an interview with Citi News, Mr. Bartels.
When questioned about whether he believed Mr. Kyerematen had been treated unfairly within the party, the former Ablekuma North MP responded, “I won’t judge, but there are processes in the party for dealing with unfair treatment, and every human institution has these little skirmishes, and when they come, they are judged according to the laid-down processes.”
Bartels further encouraged the NPP not to attempt reconciliation with the former Trade and Industry Minister, emphasizing that this was not the first time Kyerematen had chosen to part ways with the party.
“It has happened twice, and we won’t allow it to happen thrice, and if the party has my views, it should gracefully accept it,” he asserted.