Maybe party chairmen like Mr. Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, aka Chairman Wontumi, the Asante Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), would learn something significant by comparing notes with Mr. Peter Mac Manu, the seasoned former National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, about the dangers of complacency (See “Stop Preventing People from Contesting Incumbent MPs – Ken Agyapong” MyNewsGh.com / Ghanaweb.com 2/1/20).
In the leadup to the 2008 general election, Mr. Mac Manu was lightheadedly bragging about how impossible it would be for the operatives of the then opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to attempt to quash the 34-seat Parliamentary Majority then enjoyed by the New Patriotic Party.
I would promptly fire off a column warning Mr. Mac Manu to hold his tongue and exercise some cautionary discipline and humility. About three or four months later, the NPP would be humbly reduced to a Parliamentary Minority Status. Indeed, he may be chairing the New Patriotic Party in the latter party’s foremost electoral stronghold of the Asante Region, which also happens to be the most populous region in the country; nevertheless, Mr. Antwi-Boasiako needs to exercise extreme caution, if he is to hold onto his chairmanship in the foreseeable future. In particular, Chairman Wontumi ought to recognize the fact that he owes his position, directly or indirectly, to both the Asante Regional Voters, in general, and the NPP’s party delegates. In other words, his is not a patrimony or a familial inheritance, which may not be susceptible to the will and the desire of the people or the electorate. He could lose his power and influence within an electoral split second.
Which simply means that Chairman Wontumi would serve the interests of both the party and himself better by heeding the all-too-progressive call by Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Assin-Central, in the Central Region, to open up the nomination register and allow even the safe and rock-solid seats of parliamentary incumbents to be contested in the party’s upcoming primaries, if the electoral and political integrity of the party vis-à-vis the general Ghanaian voting public is to be healthily assured. Opening up the party’s nomination register would also ensure that any time-wasting post-election legal tussles, as have become commonplace with the NPP, would be drastically reduced to the barest minimum.
Where I vehemently disagree with the proprietor of the KenCity or Oman Radio and Television Network regards the use of “Mafia Tactics” to sabotage challengers of party favorites and incumbents with whom these upstarts may have an axe to grind. I, however, concur with Mr. Agyapong on the imperative need for any challengers of solidly entrenched incumbents to be critically examined to ensure that these challengers have, indeed, paid their proverbial dues to the party as they ought to, before local executives of the party consent to the legitimacy of their decision to contest these incumbents.
As well, I vehemently disagree with the rather bizarre and facile notion that mere longevity in parliament necessarily translates into invaluable or priceless experience, and therefore any Member of Parliament who has been serving since the birth of the Prophet Methuselah is, perforce, a valuable asset to the party and needs to be jealously guarded and/or protected. No such line of reasoning could be more preposterous, in view of what we recently discovered to our horror and shame, which was that even Parliamentary-Methuselah-look-alikes such as Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the NPP’s Parliamentary Majority Leader, were so pathologically naïve as to facilely believe that they could trust the time-tested cynical leaders of the main opposition National Democratic Congress to agree on even such a clearly mutually beneficial and progressive policy initiative as the December 17, 2019 Referendum that was healthily aimed at the democratization of local government.
You see, Dear Reader, the longer political Methuselahs like Mr. Mensah-Bonsu get retained in office, the more megalomaniacal and less effective they become. Which eloquently explains why the Kumasi-Suame MP decided to selfishly and unwisely cross party lines in 2016 to campaign for Mr. Alban SK Bagbin, the longest-serving NDC-MP, in the same Upper-West constituency in which Mr. Mensah-Bonsu’s own party had a legitimately and officially endorsed parliamentary candidate contesting against the Nadowli-Kaleo Methuselah, as Mr. Bagbin is popularly known.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York