“..When tragedy struck finally, the elections were upon us and rather than presenting the electorate with an opposition marching confidently to victory, we were regaled with daily gory details of the internecine warfare that had broken out amongst the membership of the ‘Government in waiting’.
Naturally, the messengers of the state-media, the, were more than happy to paste the front pages of the newspapers and headlines on the radio & TV with the fine and sorry mess that was passing for a campaign towards electoral victory”
The above is from an opinion piece i wrote 20 years ago. Then as now, an opposition victory in the impending general election was assumed ad inevitable. Defeat was not an option and was never possible in the wake of the nationwide “Preko” marches. The biggest public demonstrations in Ghana’s history had led to a withdrawal of a major policy by government, and we all assumed that come election day, change was gonna come.
“Victory was not only assumed and deemed inevitable; defeat was well nigh impossible and thus never contemplated. This feeling of smugness and assurance of victory characterised the whole of the Opposition’s electoral strategies and campaign activities”..... This erroneous perception was carried through into the very clever main message of the Opposition “Hwe wo asetenanu mu no to aba.” The import of the message was that since most people knew that their social and economic conditions had worsened considerably under Jerry John’s long reign, their vote for Change would be “Pavlovian” (i.e. an instinctive knee-jerk reaction).”
Forward six general elections, Ghana’s “government in waiting”, the New Patriotic Parry (NPP), is tearing itself apart in an internecine power struggle whose growing intensity is only matched by the increasing weariness and exasperation of the people waiting to herald in their hope for the years to come,
The party of the rule of law has been overtaken by an unruly and vicious power struggle at the top of its hierarchy. The folks who pride themselves as the leading proponents of “ka bi ma me nka bi” have been stuck in a quagmire of shrill and some time violent intolerance of dissenting views from amongst its leadership.
As things fall apart and the centre crumbles, the heir apparent to Ghana’s throne, ‘the next President of Ghana’ is conveniently out of the country’s jurisdiction and has remained curiously silent in the age of multiple and instant social media platforms. In my view, there is no better time than now, for the President in waiting to demonstrate capability to be put at the helm of the ship of the Ghanaian state
Nature it is said, abhors vacuum, and the void has been foiled by power factions who are more concerned about the shrillness of their voices and rightness of their arguments, than the salvation of the suffering people of Ghana from the economic mess that has come in the wake of our nation becoming soaked in petrol dollars.
The NPP elected its leadership for Election 2016 a full two years ahead of polling day; ostensibly to allow the party to develop and offer the alternative policies that would convince the undecided voters of Ghana that it was indeed time for change. Unfortunately, not all of the leadership came from the ‘those I can work with’ slate. As it turned out, the Father was given an ’illegitimate’ Son and Holy Ghost and the Trinity has been less than holy since/
Rather than see this outcome as an opportunity to show its ‘all-inclusiveness’ credentials, the NPP has rather demonstrated a very high levels of inflexibility of entrenched positions and increasing intolerance to accommodate each other’s views as to the best approaches for achieving the supposedly common goal of winning the 2016 General elections, which are barely 12 months.
It is worthless for me to offer a position as to whether the suspension of the NPP Chairman Paul Afoko is the right thing to do. After all, my formal standing in the NPP is that of an elapsed "suspendee" who has little or no interest to re-engage in the midst of this unedifying quagmire. However, I can confidently assert that Afoko’s presumed suspension will almost certainly hog the headlines for as long as it takes for the party to veer off the course of impending irrelevance to the people of Ghana.
The battle has already begun. One side insists the path to resolution lies with the application of the party’s constitution and rules of engagement. The other side says that rich coming from the party when it has failed to abide by those same rules. It believes that it must resort to the law of the land to get proper redress in what it insists is an action that is effectively a constructive dismissal from the NPP of an elected official.
All that I can predict, with the confidence of a dead cockroach, is that the in-fighting within The NPP will be a long and distractive tussle in the courts of Ghana for most of the next twelve months, possibly right up to Election Day. Of course the incumbents will not miss a trick to amplify the chaos and lack of focus within those who are presenting themselves as the coming messiahs. The media will naturally fill its content with embellished accounts of the fight for form when the NPP should be presenting the substance of credible alternative policies.
The outcome will be a no brainer. The NPP will almost certainly be defeated in 2016 as it was in 1996. It would once again have snatched defeat from the jaws of near certain victory. The immediate loser will be Nana Akufo Addo, whose would have blown three successive opportunities to become the President of Ghana. Next set of losers will be the various factions within the leadership of the NPP who will also have to forsake their expectations of various supporting positions to Nana Addo.
The ultimate losers could be the people of Ghana who were hoping. nay expecting, that they would be relieved from the failure of President John Mahama to manage an oil-rich economy, especially to end, let alone fix, the longest period of darkness in Ghana’s history.
Ghana deserves a better choice than Incompetence versus Chaos in 2016. The people should be offered real choice of competing solutions to increasing their well being and welfare, the only tangible purpose for electing our governors through universal adult suffrage; one person, one vote in less fancy parlance.
Please don’t shoot me for I am only the stool pigeon delivering the message.
Source: Charles Wereko-Brobby (Dr) Chief Policy Analyst, GIPPO Email: [email protected]
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