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I Beg To Differ Mr Afoko - The Campaign Team Must Be Constituted Now   
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NPP National Chairman: Paul Afoko
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In a recent Press Release signed by the Spokesperson of the National Chairman of the NPP, Paul Afoko under the heading - THE DETRACTORS ARE AT IT AGAIN, Mr Paul Afoko argued via his spokesperson that, he believes, the Party should put together a manifesto first before naming the campaign team.

Nana Yaw Osei, Paul Afoko's official spokesperson wrote in the statement:

"Mr. Afoko believes that the party must quickly finish with most of the ongoing parliamentary primaries, and then move on to form a manifesto committee to draft a manifesto for the party before thinking of appointing a campaign manager and forming a campaign team.

This is because, without a message, which should be contained in a manifesto, what is the campaign team going to talk about. The Party should a campaign strategy"!

This quote numbered nine on the statement was responding to a statement issued by unknown person/persons accusing Paul Afoko of refusing to convene a National Council meeting so that the flagbearer will formally announce the 2016 campaign team and its manager to the Party.The unsigned statement rebuking the National Chairman was shared on whatsapp and facebook.

It was ok for the Office of the National Chairman to publicly correct the "falsehood" which I think the statement sort to do. But, beyond that I do not think it was wise for the Chairman to share a view that is a radical departure from the norm first with the public, especially a view that is bound not to be considered.

The call by the Chairman makes a couple of odd assumptions. One, that without a manifesto a party cannot have a message. Two, that the only purpose of appointing a Campaign Manager and team is to propagate a campaign message. Three, that an election is won or lost mainly on the strength of a manifesto.

Usually, Manifestos are launched closer to polling day. Is Mr Afoko asking for the campaign team not to be put in place until a few months before the election?

Or is he asking for the 2016 manifesto to be launched much earlier? The trouble with that is, more time will be spent critiquing the NPP manifesto; precious time that should be spent examining the performance of the ruling NDC as against their 2012 promises.

Unless the Chairman would rather want no campaign team at all. In every democracy, the world over, Political Parties establish their campaign teams to oversee the Parties' Presidential Campaigns. These campaign teams are inseparable from the Party. They develop strategies in conjunction with the Parties' Strategy Directorate if there are any, supervise, evaluate and appraise the campaign continously.The history of election campaigns and the associated evidence in Ghana and elsewhere do not support such a viewpoint.

For instance, in the United Kingdom, a leading democracy in the world, the Polical Parties historically have always appointed their Campaign Managers and their staffs way before they release their manifestos. In the United States, managers of Presidential aspirants in the primaries eventually become managers of the nominee for the presidential elections.

In the recent UK general elections in May, the Conservatives appointed their Campaign Manager on the 2nd August 2013 and published their manifesto on the 15th April 2015, three weeks before the elections. Labour on the other hand named their Campaign Manager on the 18th April 2014 and released their manifesto on the 13th April 2015. These are parties with party structures like we have and, more so, without even presidential campaigns.

In our own backyard, the NPP in office in 2008 hired their Campaign Manager on the 14th March 2008 and formally communicated its manifesto to the public on the 23rd September 2008, three months to the general elections. In 2012, the NPP in opposition appointed its Campaign Manager on 25th January 2011 and published its manifesto on the 29th August 2012, four months to the general elections.

The NDC in like manner in 2008 appointed their Campaign Manager on the 9th January 2008, launched their campaign in March 2008 and released their manifesto on the 4th August 2008. In 2012, their Campaign Manager was named on the 11th September 2012 whilst their manifesto was published on the 4th October 2012.

It's therefore a fallacy to conclude that, you ought to have a manifesto in place before reaching out to the electorate. The evidence is clear - there is more to winning an election than a manifesto. What we as a party should be doing now is to continue to point out the incompetence of the NDC government to the people, expose the backward manner the country is being governed and hold their feet to the fire on the numerous failed promises.

I conclude by restating that the NPP campaign team is required urgently to kick start the campaign. That is what everyone in the Party is waiting for. The appointment of a campaign team must not be seen by any office holder as a threat to their title. It is to bring focus on the work at hand.
Source: Musah Superior

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