Like any organisation, political parties also have the big men who call the shots within the party and are mostly revered as the kingmakers of the party. The New Patriotic Party (NPP), is no different when it comes to that. We take a critical look at the five most powerful men within the party whom many within the party say are untouchable.
Not a week goes by without this Member of Parliament making the headlines, for mostly all the controversial reasons. The Assin North MP is a key figure within the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Unlike his colleagues, he calls out the party leadership as to when he feels like, sometimes going to the extent of using unprintable words on the leadership but not for once has the party’s council of elders been able to summon him or call him to order. He is largely believed to be one of the main financiers of the party, especially during their time in opposition which has made him near invincible within the party. On the few occasions he was cautioned to be wary of his utterances, he called the bluff of the party and faced no repercussion. This goes to show just how powerful he is in the NPP.
He doesn’t talk much and is rarely seen in the public space unless it is an important social event or one related to his ministry, but do not underestimate the power the Trade Minister wields in the party. He twice contested the sitting president, Nana Akufo Addo for the opportunity to lead the party into elections. On both occasions he lost but surprisingly he still retains a large following in the NPP who are willing to do anything for him. Up to today, the NPP is believed to have two factions within it, the Akufo Addo and Alan Kyeremanteng factions. With his huge following within the party, he is touted as a possible successor to the president, alongside Dr. Mahumudu Bawumia.
Osarfo Marfo is one of the longest serving members of the NPP and who is hugely respected by party faithful due to his decades of commitment to the party. He served as Finance and later Sports Minister under the Kufour government from 2001 to 2007. In 2007, he contested Nana Addo for the flagbearership position of the party and lost. After Nana Addo won the 2016 general elections, he was made the Senior Minister of the government, amid criticism from the public. Many people argued that the creation of this portfolio was not necessary and only a waste of resource. He’s the only minister who has been able to criticize the president since the party came to power. His criticism of the president came after Nana Addo commended the CEO of JOSPONG group of companies, Siaw Agyapong for the ‘good works he was doing for the country.’ Osarfo Marfo took exception to this and called out the president for praising a man who was under investigations for corruption and facing multiple suits in court. This goes to show just how powerful and influential Osarfo Marfo is within the party.
Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako popularly known as Chairman Wontumi is one of the most powerful voices in the ruling party. This largely stems from his influence in the Ashanti Region which is described as the ‘World Bank’ of the NPP. It is a well-known fact within the party that one must be in the good books of the Chairman before he or she can successfully win primaries to contest as the Member of Parliament on the ticket of the NPP. Without his blessings and approval, an aspiring MP would find it extremely difficult to win the constituency primaries as the party faithful in the region are very loyal to him. This has made him one of the most important and powerful men within the party, with whom one must be aligned to if he or she dreams of contesting for a position in the party, whether national or regional.
Never mind that he is the president of Ghana today, even before he ascended the throne of presidency, he was undoubtedly the most powerful man in the party. He contested to lead the party to elections on three occasions and on all three occasions, he won massively and conveniently. His influence in the party is so huge that party members who are not on his side could hardly come out and make it known. Most party faithful from all regions and walks of life are loyal to him, having kept faith with him after losing two major elections before succeeding on the third attempt. Both General Secretary and Chairman of the party had to be indefinitely suspended from the party prior to the 2016 elections because it was largely believed that their actions were detrimental to the chances of Nana Addo winning the elections. The very few party figures who also came out to declare that they did not support Nana Addo leading the party into the elections also dealt their political careers massive blows as they lost the support of party faithful.