Election 2016: The woes of the NDC

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Wed, 31 Aug 2016 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Folks, we have every reason to take on the leaders of the NDC as far as certain happenings that don't augur well for the party in many parts of the country are concerned. Let's face facts and bold to poke Asiedu Nketiah, Kofi Portuphy, Kofi Adams, Koku Anyidoho, and all others constantly in the news as if they are all the NDC needs to survive in the rough waters of Ghanaian politics.

As I said not long ago, the NDC's leaders haven't really done well to grow the party. Despite the massive goodwill that those who value the party and its accomplishments give the party, some happenings prove that there is a lot wrong with the way the leaders deal with issues.

I am being my usual self to take them on at this point to prove to them that they are either too wrapped up in useless ventures or are self-satisfied with whatever their calling has given them as not to know how to grow the party. I gave hints not long ago that I will take them on. Now is the hour; and I want to hit them hard.

After all, I have nothing to lose or gain by doing so. None of them knows me personally nor have I bothered my head over who they think they are as far as my yeoman's job as a public intellectual is concerned. They don't butter my bread, and I don't owe any of them any debt of gratitude in any way. So, off I shoot!!

The NDC's chances of brushing aside its opponents at the polls seems to be needlessly dampened by happenings that could either have been prevented or handled at the initial stages to stem the danger that some of us have seen for it in many instances. Let's examine some of those instances for purposes of driving home our arguments that the NDC leaders need to do more to move the party forward.

I have already written to condemn the General Secretary, Asiedu Nketiah, when he showed up in controversial circumstances. In one such piece, I labelled him as a "human ostrich" who won't see the problems facing the party as far as its public image is concerned. That was when he was caught in controversies about the Bui Dam and many others.

The dust might have settled to get him going, but he hasn't done enough to clean the stables.

I commended him later on for putting Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings where she rightfully belonged as a single lost sheep not to be sought after, given all the storm that she has been setting up in a fragile tea cup in front of her and all those she has used her influence to marshal against the NDC. Even then, those people in the FONKAR group are denying her, leaving her in the lurch; but Asiedu Nketia has a lot more to do to win lost grounds for the NDC.

How about Kofi Portuphy, the National Chairman? A lot more for him too to do. Former National Chairmen of the NDC were vigorously mobilizing support for the party's cause, even if they ended up being brushed aside later on. What is Portuphy doing?

Kofi Adams and Koku Anyidoho are in the news, making all kinds of utterances that irk the NPP people and don’t necessarily win voter support. Take, for instance, Kofi Adams’ claim that the ridiculous promises of Akufo-Addo on “One District, One Factory” and “One Village, One Dam” are President Mahama’s.

How could one water down the force of such political gaffes by an opponent that should rather have been used to torpedo his attempts at winning political power? It's all part of the game; not so? But a wrong part it is, seen from a wider political angle.

Beyond all those unproductive publicity stunts are the real issues that the NDC's leaders aren't able to handle to retain public goodwill. The inadequacies of the party’s communication team are glaring. That’s not to say that the NPP’s own communication team is doing anything better.

But the NDC has a heavier responsibility to sell its candidates, based on reality—what has been accomplished in the face of difficulties and why it is imperative to persuade Ghanaians to retain the incumbent in power at Election 20-16. Not much is being done to raise such arguments for political mobilization. What is happening?

We are even not talking about the anger among the party's footsoldiers who have felt left out and are so demoralized as not to want to do the trench work anymore for the party's good? Those who have turned their back toward the party are all over the place, which is a test case for the party's leaders. What is it that makes it difficult for them to keep the house together?

Of course, there are some like Nana Konadu and some others like Carl Wilson who have proved to be undesirables and should be left to their misguided choices. But others who felt alienated to become disaffected are not to be glossed over because they will be more wont to return to the NDC roots than swaying about in the wind of change that the NPP is blowing. It is the responsibility of the party's leaders to tackle such issues.

I will be blunt here to say that there is a more worrisome development that the NDC leaders have failed to tackle to put the party in good stead. It’s all about the bad-blood relationship between the "faces" of the NDC in many parts of the country that isn’t good for the NDC, especially given the limited time toward Election 2016.

Government functionaries at different levels have not been on good terms with those who matter in the various communities. Why? There is too much hostility just because some of those functionaries haven’t proved their worth as leaders. Instead of working closely with those who matter in their domains, they have chosen to lock horns. What for?

Politics is a game of chance that they have failed to appreciate. Their kind of politics of attrition won’t endear the NDC to the people. The party’s leaders can’t tell me that they are ignorant of the flashpoints. They have simply been lazy and failed to solve such problems to keep the party in good stead.

Let me boil everything down to what is happening in the Atebubu area, where the NDC MP (Sanja Nanja) has incurred the acute anger of the traditional leaders (that I wrote about many months ago and offered ideas on how to solve that problem, but which the NDC leaders didn’t take up).

The fracas has calcified to the point where the NDC risks losing support there. Why should it be so when the matter could have been handled amicably long ago to prevent the disgraceful recourse to bribing of conscience, which has itself been repudiated to deepen the party’s woes?

(See https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Atebubu-chiefs-reject-MP-s-money-466059).

Is it money that will placate the offended traditional rulers for them to appreciate the worth of the MP and the political party that he represents? No!! A fat “No” again!! The repudiation of this corruptive gesture should tell those seeking to placate the traditional rulers that they have grievances that money cannot neutralize.

They are resolute and should be dealt with in better ways. I admire them for being principled. The real issues angering them should be raised, discussed, and not brushed aside because “Money Talks”.

Is this MP not a representative of the people of the Atebubu area who put him in office to fight their cause for the national cake? What good will that representative serve if he chooses to undermine the authority, respect, and integrity of the very forces behind him? And why has it been difficult for the NDC leaders to step in as soon as the fracas cropped up to patch differences?

They failed miserably and will bite their tongues if the voters in the Atebubu area advise themselves at the polls. Is Tain still a powerful reminder to the NDC on how its fate could be shaped at the polls? I am really saddened by the lethargy of the NDC leaders on this score.

There are many other areas that have similar crisis situations for the NDC leaders to tackle. But they haven’t. Why? Is it because they don’t know what to do or that they lack the skills to make peace and build bridges for the party’s good?

Folks, there is a lot to talk about. I will end everything here to pick up the pieces later. The truth that I will leave with you is that successful politicking calls for strategies to connect with the electorate. Any miscalculation that separates the politician from those who will determine his/her fate at the polls should be avoided. For the NDC particularly, the odds stacked up against it at Election 2016 are enormous, which explains why it shouldn’t lose traction anywhere.

All that has to be done to build bridges should be done. And it shouldn’t take the wanton donation of gifts, money or cars to do so. There is no guarantee that those recipients will root for the party at the polls. What can make the difference is nothing but the conscientious effort to level with the people to take them on board as people informed about the dynamics of the Ghanaian condition. It takes a bold step in truth, honesty, and patriotism to use politics for that purpose.

Are the NDC leaders willing to do what will add value to the party’s cause? If they are, then, they should quickly make amends and be up-and-doing. Otherwise, they will expend energy and resources to be in the news only to have a rude awakening at the end of the day. I don’t think that’s what they are looking for.

If it is, let me assure them that they will not have the peace of mind to live their lives till their appointed time to leave this wretched, troubled, and sickened world dawns. Politicians who fail to listen to reason when expected, end up damning politics instead of themselves for their woes. I have spoken and will return with more.

Writer's e-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.