Ghana’s New Patriotic Party, the NPP, has voted in Paul Afoko as its new chairman. He is expected to rebrand the party and provide alternative policies ahead of the next national poll in 2016.
Paul Afoko has been elected the chairman of Ghana's largest party, the New Patriotic Party, replacing prominent lawyer Jake Obetsebi Lamptey.
Addressing the National Delegates Congress for the first time, Afoko urged all party members to support the new 10 national executives, who had been elected with the goal of reorganizing the party for the 2016 elections.
“You are the owners of the party,” Afoko said. “Today […] you have given us your marching orders you have told us that we must work together as a team. And that we must deliver power in 2016. Prepare for government, prepare for power.”
‘Building bridges to the future not on the past'
Afoko who is from the north of Ghana is expected to rebrand the party which is dominated by people from the Akan tribe in Ghana.
The biggest challenge ahead of him is to unite party supporters who have been divided since NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo who failed to lead the party to victory in the 2012 presidential election.
Kyei Mensah, a leading member of the NPP and minority leader in Ghana's lawmaking chamber, says the party faced a huge challenge ahead of the 2016 general elections.
“The NPP cannot rely on its own strength to win power. We need the support of other neutrals, the non-committed and the floating voters,” Mensah said.
“People keep telling some of us, we are tired of and have lost confidence in the NDC, but are you people serious as an alternative government?” Mensah asked.
He was referring to the National Democratic Congress party which defeated the NPP in 2012 election.
New NPP party chairman Paul Afoko told DW that his focus will be on providing alternative policies to that of government and helping to develop the country.
“And I can assure you, you have heard me over and over again during my campaign, I have continually said, that I will rather build bridges to the future not on the past,” he added.
Nana Akufo-Addo wants to run again as a presidential candidate
The 2016 Flag Bearer
Another big challenge for the new leadership of the NPP will be to find a presidential candidate for the 2016 elections.
The former flag bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo has declared his intention to run again as has his main rival, Alan Kyeremateng.
Kyeremanteng is optimistic that the NPP will present a viable candidate capable of winning the next election.
“I believe that once the new elected leaders are given the opportunity to settle, and put down a time table, for the flag bearer contest, and then I believe that the party members will speak again for change to take us to victory in 2016.”
Political analysts say it is too early to tell if the party will be able to unite behind the new leadership.