Blame not the Supreme Court for the NPP’s woes

Sun, 15 Sep 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Even as he indicated in his concession speech to “lie low”, the defeated Akufo-Addo cannot honour his own pledge. It seems that he made that statement only to save (or spite?) his own face!

He hasn’t left the limelight, not because he doesn’t want to take any rest but because he is still smarting under the humiliation given him by the electorate (that he refused to acknowledge) and the Supreme Court (that he has no option but to swallow clean and ruminate as a glaring reality).

Ever since he met his Avatar on August 29, no single day passes by without anything coming from him to confirm that he is finding it difficult to leave the scene to do the introspection that he had chosen as a stop-gap measure to relieve himself of the heavy weight that his second successive electoral defeat has put on him.

Yesterday, he was out saying one thing and today, he is out saying another to indicate that he is still in contention. Of course, he knows very well what the NPP’s constitution says: that the party has no permanent status for a founder, father, or leader!! It recognizes the flagbearer chosen for the general elections as the leader; and as soon as the elections are over, the position vanishes.

In Akufo-Addo’s case, he is already endangered, which may be why Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie has chosen to pre-empt everything by shooting his mouth to anoint him as the flagbearer for 2016. Apparently, it is just an attempt to jump the gun. Akufo-Addo’s status as flagbearer (apparently as the de facto leader of the NPP) is at an end; gone with the wind of electoral defeat.

Clearly, then, the management of the NPP is in the hands of the national Chairman and his team (including Owusu Afriyie) and the others, under the watchful eyes of the National executive Council. Until anything new crops up, Akufo-Addo’s days at the helm are over. He knows it, and we know it too.

When the national delegates congress is held to fill the various positions, the party should have its executive officers at the national level to manage its affairs until a new flagbearer emerges to steer affairs toward Election 2016.

Now, putting this internal administrative humdrum behind, let’s move on to what exactly has brought Akufo-Addo up for analysis. He is reported to have said today that “the judgment on the presidential election petition delivered by the Supreme Court will not break the party” and that the NPP would grow stronger and “even stronger from this setback.”

He was speaking to various groups during a series of courtesy calls on him at his residence today. The groups consisted of the Brong-Ahafo, Eastern, Upper-East and Northern Regional constituencies of the NPP, Patriotic Volunteers, women’s wing of the Nasara Club, volunteers from Abossey-Okai and many others. (See https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=285616).

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over that statement regarding the Supreme Court’s verdict. In the end, I will settle on the latter—laugh my heart out and say loudly that nobody but the NPP people themselves stand to destroy their own party.

The Supreme Court didn’t set out to pass any judgement aimed at destroying the NPP. It was Akufo-Addo and those supporting him in the pursuit of the wild goose in the dark chamber of the Supreme Court who set out to destroy the party.

The voices of reason within the NPP foresaw the disaster and warned against it only to be isolated for special vengeance, shouting matches, and eventual ostracism. When and how will they mend the fence that they themselves chose to break?

Now, I want Akufo-Addo to tell me what the result portends. First, as an exit strategy to save his skin from the angry supporters whom he had misled to believe a “one-touch” victory for him at Election 2012, he succeeded in hiding behind the smokescreen that he had constructed the election petition to provide for him.

Those who read deeper meanings into the petition were smart enough to puncture holes in it and to suggest that it was too porous to stand the test of adjudication at the Supreme Court. Akufo-Addo and his followers closed their minds to all entreaties and shouldn’t have expected anything but the humiliation handed down to them.

In effect, then, the Supreme Court only blessed the very bane that Akufo-Addo and his followers had put on themselves by proceeding to court with a porous petition. Should the Court, then, be blamed for separating reality from falsehood?

Indeed, by that judgement, the Court didn’t seek to destroy the NPP; it only sought to open its members’ eyes to reality for them to know that elections are won at the polls, not at court. The implications are numerous: that the NPP leaders failed their followers by not organizing affairs properly to win the hearts of the electorate but chose to be adamant when the results were announced.

Their kind of sterile “book politics” won’t win anybody’s heart to put their Presidential candidate in office, more so when the electorate had a better choice in front of them.

The problem with these NPP leaders and their followers is that they are so wrapped up in themselves as not to know that self-conceit and miscalculation are recipes for electoral disaster. Regardless of all the noise that Akufo-Addo succeeded in making about his landmark promise on fee-free senior high school education, nothing fruitful emerged to grant him his wish to be Ghana’s President.

All the post-Election 2012 show of force worsened the situation, which didn’t abate, even after the Supreme Court had sealed Akufo-Addo’s doom.

You see, folks, over the past few days, the storm brewing in the NPP camp cannot be traced to outside forces. The enemies are within. Just consider how they are tearing at each other’s reputation and issuing death threats here and there just because of the conflict of interest that is threatening their ranks.

The Supreme Court did its national assignment, not to impose President Mahama on Ghanaians, but to prove to the NPP that the electoral decision made by the voters on December 7 and 8 couldn’t be reversed just because of a cry-baby’s quest to enter the presidency “at all cost” as a matter of ‘entitlement”.

Whatever the case may be, one would have expected these NPP people to use the court’s verdict as the epiphanic moment to re-appraise their own strategies for politicking. But, alas! It won’t be so for them because they knew how not to face the truth. They would rather choose to continue passing the buck and baring their teeth at anybody dissenting, including their own political kith and kin (as is happening to Michael Kwabena Ampong, the Greater-Accra regional Communications Director of the NPP).

So, now that they have turned themselves into matadors, pumped up with venom, and galvanized by petty interests to gore any bull (or elephant?) in sight, why should any of them turn round to suggest that their woes are the orchestration of the Supreme Court?

They chose to go this way and shouldn’t blame the Supreme Court. Akufo-Addo can serve himself better if he does what he told us that he was going to do after being brought low by the Supreme Court. He can continue making himself visible but it won’t get him where he wants to be.

I hope the ongoing acrimony between those upholding him as the unchallengeable flagbearer for Election 2016 and those kicking against that imposition won’t deteriorate any further. If it does, it will be the main cause of the implosion awaiting the party. It won’t have to be the Supreme Court’s judgement. The harbinger of disaster has been on the horizon all this while. The only problem is that these NPP people have refused to see it.

In the final analysis, Akufo-Addo needs to know that whatever fate befalls the NPP henceforth will have a lot more to do with him and his quests than anything or anybody else. The earlier he comes to terms with that reality, the better chances are that he will enjoy his respite (if ever there is anything like that for him to call so).

If he decides to pull strings from the shadows and to energize his ventriloquists to sing themselves hoarse in praise of him—setting him up as the indisputable flagbearer for Election 2016, even when that is not the NPP’s priority now—he will have no need to wonder why the going will be tough again for him.

What will destroy the NPP is within, not on the outside. The Supreme Court won’t destroy the NPP. It is the NPP that will destroy the NPP. Too many wise men living in this small political clan, none willing to yield to the other; and with all their huge “horns of wisdom”, should they be surprised that they are locking horns by choosing to drink water from one bucket?

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.