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CPP must join NDC". Perhaps Sekou is right, Samia.

Mon, 17 Mar 2014 Source: Mensah, Kobby

In the last few years Dr. Sekou Nkrumah, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson and Statesman K.B. Asante have been calling for some sort of working relationship between the CPP and the NDC. In fact, Sekou and Nii Moi strongly advocate for a merger. Statesman K.B Asante, however thinks such a move will see the swallowing up of the CPP and so advocates for a kind of relationship which will ensure that Nkrumaism is advanced and sustained, not a merger. The CPP leadership, visibly Samia Nkrumah, has been dismissive of any such relationship, maintaining that the CPP will continue to advance their own agenda without subordinating to any party. In this piece I will like to add my opinion to the views of these learned gentlemen, if I may. I am gradually coming around the "unification" idea where CPP and NDC merge. This is because of what are considered as the functions of a political party, the trajectories of political party life cycle, including the emergence of significant ones, and the psyche of the people parties hope to aggregate and work with. These gentlemen mentioned make a point that if CPP want to advance Nkrumaism then must work with NDC. That means political parties are not only set up to win power, but to influence policies, educate the people and serve as custodians of national history. They are responsible for perpetuating the ideals of their forebears, and that of the nation. In reality, in today’s Ghana one could safely argue that the CPP is gradually failing in all these functions. Going further to look at the trajectories of party life cycle, one could even dare to say that should things go as they are, the CPP is most likely to go "extinct" in the next 20 or so years. I argue that following the trajectories of political party lifecycles across the globe, there has never been any significant third force in countries that practice our kind of presidential and "first past the post" electoral systems. Even in the UK, one could argue that the Liberal Democrats are relevant because of the local council and European parliamentary elections which go to balance their relatively abysmal national election performance. In our case, there are no such elections other than the national, which parties such as CPP can take consolation from. I therefore argue, and it is evident from our political history, that a third political force in this this fourth republic Ghana is possible only if a major force, NDC and NPP, should collapse. This is definitely not possible in our lifetime. Moreover, it is well documented that when it comes to choice, humans are addicted to simplicity, which is evident in our language – right or wrong, black and white, us and them. In political terms, left and right, progressives and conservatives. The third way has always struggled for relevance and sustainability, much as we try. When it comes to political choice in Ghana since independence, the status quo of choice making has remained - two-party dominant. To me, the most crucial of the functions of political parties identified above that CPP leadership needs to be concerned about is the latter, perpetuating the ideals of the forebears for posterity. It is evident that in Ghana's political landscape today, those of the right of the political aisle have remained united and the position of their forebears safely guarded. The position of Danquah-Busia as sources of the political right is profoundly guarded. Perhaps one could argue that it is because the right has not seen the fragments of parties as the left has. It is a fact that the right of our political aisle has seen only two breakaways since independence. The infamous division of the Progress Party in 1979 into the Popular Front Party (PFP) led by Victor Owusu and the United National Convention (UNC) led by Paa Willie. The second notable division, though insignificant in terms of vote count, was in 2000 when Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby formed the UGM party out of the NPP. The political left on the other hand, has seen many fragments mostly claiming, though weakly, Nkrumah as the forebear. I say weakly because for these parties, the continuous existence of CPP makes it difficult to make a bold claim. Visible and viable amongst them are the NDC and PNC, with the main anchors being Jerry Rawlings and Hilla Limann respectively. It could be argued that although Rawlings is the anchor of the NDC, the party would prefer to hinge on Nkrumah as its spinal cord for many obvious reasons. To my mind, an uncontested claim to Nkrumaism would go a long way to romanticise the NDC politically. That is why the NDC needs CPP. This is not in any way to discount Jerry Rawlings’ importance to the NDC and our political history, but to contextualise how political parties trace, demonstrate and articulate ideological sophistry. With CPP lurching around, NDC is somehow restricted to how far it could make the claim to Nkrumaism, and to ideological sophistry. Same could be said of PNC. The only difference however is that PNCs attachment to Limann is stronger than their perceived attachment to Nkrumah as their forebear, less so than how Limann himself identified with Nkrumah. So with CPPs inability to fulfil its core functions as the champion of the causes of the left, and raising high its forebear, coupled with the PNCs less attachment and the NDCs muted claim to Nkrumaism, the strength of inspiration from the left's ideological identity is gradually dissipating so much so that sooner or later, the left will have no visible ideological anchor. People would then turn to pragmatism, with no tradition to inspire them.

In the last few years Dr. Sekou Nkrumah, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson and Statesman K.B. Asante have been calling for some sort of working relationship between the CPP and the NDC. In fact, Sekou and Nii Moi strongly advocate for a merger. Statesman K.B Asante, however thinks such a move will see the swallowing up of the CPP and so advocates for a kind of relationship which will ensure that Nkrumaism is advanced and sustained, not a merger. The CPP leadership, visibly Samia Nkrumah, has been dismissive of any such relationship, maintaining that the CPP will continue to advance their own agenda without subordinating to any party. In this piece I will like to add my opinion to the views of these learned gentlemen, if I may. I am gradually coming around the "unification" idea where CPP and NDC merge. This is because of what are considered as the functions of a political party, the trajectories of political party life cycle, including the emergence of significant ones, and the psyche of the people parties hope to aggregate and work with. These gentlemen mentioned make a point that if CPP want to advance Nkrumaism then must work with NDC. That means political parties are not only set up to win power, but to influence policies, educate the people and serve as custodians of national history. They are responsible for perpetuating the ideals of their forebears, and that of the nation. In reality, in today’s Ghana one could safely argue that the CPP is gradually failing in all these functions. Going further to look at the trajectories of party life cycle, one could even dare to say that should things go as they are, the CPP is most likely to go "extinct" in the next 20 or so years. I argue that following the trajectories of political party lifecycles across the globe, there has never been any significant third force in countries that practice our kind of presidential and "first past the post" electoral systems. Even in the UK, one could argue that the Liberal Democrats are relevant because of the local council and European parliamentary elections which go to balance their relatively abysmal national election performance. In our case, there are no such elections other than the national, which parties such as CPP can take consolation from. I therefore argue, and it is evident from our political history, that a third political force in this this fourth republic Ghana is possible only if a major force, NDC and NPP, should collapse. This is definitely not possible in our lifetime. Moreover, it is well documented that when it comes to choice, humans are addicted to simplicity, which is evident in our language – right or wrong, black and white, us and them. In political terms, left and right, progressives and conservatives. The third way has always struggled for relevance and sustainability, much as we try. When it comes to political choice in Ghana since independence, the status quo of choice making has remained - two-party dominant. To me, the most crucial of the functions of political parties identified above that CPP leadership needs to be concerned about is the latter, perpetuating the ideals of the forebears for posterity. It is evident that in Ghana's political landscape today, those of the right of the political aisle have remained united and the position of their forebears safely guarded. The position of Danquah-Busia as sources of the political right is profoundly guarded. Perhaps one could argue that it is because the right has not seen the fragments of parties as the left has. It is a fact that the right of our political aisle has seen only two breakaways since independence. The infamous division of the Progress Party in 1979 into the Popular Front Party (PFP) led by Victor Owusu and the United National Convention (UNC) led by Paa Willie. The second notable division, though insignificant in terms of vote count, was in 2000 when Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby formed the UGM party out of the NPP. The political left on the other hand, has seen many fragments mostly claiming, though weakly, Nkrumah as the forebear. I say weakly because for these parties, the continuous existence of CPP makes it difficult to make a bold claim. Visible and viable amongst them are the NDC and PNC, with the main anchors being Jerry Rawlings and Hilla Limann respectively. It could be argued that although Rawlings is the anchor of the NDC, the party would prefer to hinge on Nkrumah as its spinal cord for many obvious reasons. To my mind, an uncontested claim to Nkrumaism would go a long way to romanticise the NDC politically. That is why the NDC needs CPP. This is not in any way to discount Jerry Rawlings’ importance to the NDC and our political history, but to contextualise how political parties trace, demonstrate and articulate ideological sophistry. With CPP lurching around, NDC is somehow restricted to how far it could make the claim to Nkrumaism, and to ideological sophistry. Same could be said of PNC. The only difference however is that PNCs attachment to Limann is stronger than their perceived attachment to Nkrumah as their forebear, less so than how Limann himself identified with Nkrumah. So with CPPs inability to fulfil its core functions as the champion of the causes of the left, and raising high its forebear, coupled with the PNCs less attachment and the NDCs muted claim to Nkrumaism, the strength of inspiration from the left's ideological identity is gradually dissipating so much so that sooner or later, the left will have no visible ideological anchor. People would then turn to pragmatism, with no tradition to inspire them. Dr. Kobby Mensah Political Marketing Strategist and Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School kobby_mensah@yahoo.com

Columnist: Mensah, Kobby