I knew that with Nana Akufo-Addo at the helm of affairs, sanity would prevail over questions of power-sharing between the local and overseas arms of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Thus, it was all in keeping with his acute sense of balance and fair play when the President prevailed on the leadership of the party to promptly abandon the morally and politically regressive attempt by the party’s local executives to preclude Ghanaian-born members with dual citizenship from contesting for any offices within the party (See “Proposal to Bar Dual Citizens Will Hurt NPP – Akufo-Addo” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 12/17/17).
This is both pathetic and risible, because it clearly appears that those who had vigorously canvassed for dual citizens to be barred from contesting for party positions, clearly appear to have forgotten the disproportionate contributions of Ghanaians resident abroad to the strength and well-being of the NPP, in both intellectual and material terms. But that they had to be reminded of this stark factual reality by the three-time flagbearer of the party, made matters all the more disturbing.
But this also makes it pointedly clear that the executive operatives of the NPP back home have been taking its overseas affiliates for granted in ways that makes it very tempting for us to vengefully cross over by throwing our full-weight behind the operatives of the main opposition National Democratic Congress – God forbid! – who seem to better appreciate the worth and significance of patriotic Ghanaians resident abroad, even those of us with dual citizenship.
As of this writing, refreshingly, the courts had staunchly affirmed the inalienable right of Ghanaian-born citizens resident abroad to exercise the franchise three years from now. I have yet to familiarize myself with the full details of the judicial pronouncement to the aforesaid effect, and shall discuss the same very shortly. Suffice it to say here, at least in passing, that I have often observed that rather than be unwisely guided by envy and jealousy of their kinsfolk and countryfolk resident abroad, especially those who have acquired dual citizenship, it is of utmost significance for those of our siblings and relatives and countrymen and women at home to soberly fathom the circumstances under which those of us in the Diaspora departed the country and acquired our dual citizenship status.
Even more significantly, as President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo pointed out at the New Patriotic Party’s most recent Extraordinary Delegates’ Conference in the Asante regional capital of Kumasi, it bears for our relatives and countryfolk resident at home to soberly take into account the major role, by way of the most up-to-date brainpower resources, brought to bear on the development of the country. Ghanaians resident abroad have absolutely nothing to be apologetic about. Neither do our relatives and countrymen and women at home have any right to hold us in invidious subjection to the sort of suspicion and ridicule that appear to have motivated the decision to disqualify us from contesting in any party-level and local and national elections.
At the very least, any gainfully employed and relatively prosperous Ghanaian resident abroad who decides to return home, even for a brief moment, to assist with the development of the country, is imbued with the same level of patriotic zeal and goodwill that inspire the leadership of distinguished citizens like Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Mahamudu Bawumia.
But what intrigued me in no mean measure was Nana Akufo-Addo’s equally democratic round rejection of the proposal that sought to make the flagbearer or presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party its de jure or effective leader as well. On the latter score – and I promptly stand to be corrected – since I have not read the pertinent portions of the NPP’s Constitution, I think it is the successful flagbearer or substantive President of the country, who is also a member of the New Patriotic Party, who ought to be considered the effective, or substantive, Leader of the New Patriotic Party.
In a lame-duck period, or in the event of an incumbent president’s losing his/her second shot at the presidency, leadership powers must be returned to the National Executive Council or the Council-of-Elders, or a combination of these two organs of the party. Having a presidential candidate who has yet to clinch the presidency assume the role of the de facto leader of the NPP could cause grave and, perhaps, even irreparable mischief to the party through self-serving acts of manipulation which, in effect, stand to vitiate the otherwise established salutary democratic culture of the party. In a theoretical context, however, the need for discipline and order may very well call for the primal leadership of the flagbearer somewhere down the pike, as it were.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York