Living with strangers

NPP12 File photo

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 Source: Brig-Gen J. Odei

It is about a year now since the NPP assumed power to manage the affairs of this country and remarkably, some significant progress has been made and some criticisms have been drawn from some concerned citizens and detractors. The euphoria of the Party’s victory has now died down and it is about time that the National Executive take absolute control of the Party, manage the current misdemeanors of party members and provide the President and his Executives the much needed freedom to govern our dear country.

The announcement of the programme for the elections of new Party Executives from Polling Stations, Constituencies and Regions in accordance with the Party’s Constitution by the Ag. General Secretary has been welcomed by those who want to contest.

The criticisms from the NDC on the Government sound hypocritical, strange and bear unmistakably evidence of NDC’s addictions to lies, deceit and propaganda. The criticisms are akin to the proverbial Akan bird “Asantrofie anoma or anomakoko ne kone” who goes upstream, muddies the waters and flies downstream and questions who muddied the waters?

Suddenly the NDC has forgotten the gargantuan debts bequeathed to the NPP and the state of the economy which contributed to their knockout defeat in the December elections. In exactly eleven months, the NDC wants the NPP to correct the errors and irregularities they created in eight years of governance.

Obviously, such expectations must be coming from strangers and not fellow Ghanaians besides, “Truth is always strange, stranger than fiction.”- Lord Byron.

It is true that there are some people who hear without listening. The NDC is failing to observe that there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl 3; 7). When people say silence is golden it simply means “good silence is a listening silence, a humble silence. It leads to right hearing, right understanding, and right speaking.’’(Our Daily Bread of 23rd November, 2017)

The NDC now claims President Mahama solved the “dumsor” but have forgotten Dr.Bawumia’s advice to them to stop piling up debts through acquisition of fraudulent infrastructure such as AMERI power plant to solve the problem when in reality the solution only required the purchase of crude oil to feed the existing plants.

Another strange criticism is about the Komenda Sugar Factory and the NDC’s query as to why the NPP has allowed the factory to lie fallow without producing sugar in the midst of its propaganda of “one district, one factory” and questions whether it has been abandoned because it was built by the NDC? Many Ghanaians know that when the factory was commissioned flamboyantly by the ex-President six months before the NDC was rudely uprooted, the factory had no raw materials – “sugarcane” to produce sugar.

So how does NDC expect NPP to produce sugarcane within nine months when the gestation period of producing sugarcane exceeds one year?

The introduction of FREE SHS education in Ghana put smiles on the faces of parents; more particularly mothers and for once even children attending schools were so highly energised and had something to cheer about. In the face of these obvious facts, the NDC had the temerity to call a press conference to describe the Free SHS as a HOAX.

The restoration of the nurses’ allowances announced by the President in Sunyani in October 2017, has also been described by the defeated MP for Nanton, Murtala Mohammed as a very dangerous decision. These “strange” criticisms to me, give the true meaning or the deep seated understanding of the NDC’s philosophy when it comes to matters affecting the welfare of the ordinary man in our society.

The destruction of NHIA, GYEEDA, SADA etc. during their tenure clearly demonstrates the Party’s lack of empathy in the wellbeing of Ghanaians except their own “registered card holders” who are allowed to “create, loot and share”. I believe educating our youth is a good policy that must not be faulted and besides education, it is a way of spreading the national cake to cover many citizens instead of keeping the money to be shared the “Woyome” way.

The attacks on the Vice President, Dr. Bawumia is a misplaced priority or strategy simply because he has exhibited in every word and gesture the serene confidence of one who has been tossed on Ghana’s most turbulent political waves and has survived with no dents. Like the President, the NDC made him their target for destruction before the 2016 elections but failed miserably and the current attacks on him will also fail.

The truth of the matter is that the NDCwants to DERAIL the Government from its focus and therefore it is necessary for the Government to concentrate on what matters most, and that is firstly, stabilize the economy, secondly, create employment, thirdly, seriously tackle all corrupt cases, fourthly, issue National ID Cards, and last but not the least, clear the mess at the Electoral Commission to ensure credible elections in future.

To keep the Government in power as long as it is necessary for the President and his team to implement its programmes, the Party should resist the temptation to engage them in the dirty politicking and unnecessary bickering on the airwaves and press conferences. The Party should remember that prior to the last elections when the NDC and its leader were mimicking Usain Bolt’s victory insignia, the NPP was seriously engaged with planning and training of the polling station and constituency executives in the fields, perfecting the collation of election results and the outcome is now history.

The objective can be achieved if the Party strengthens its lower structures and enforce rigidly its Constitutional provisions. Prior to Cape Coast, there were rumours that a proposal had been made which suggested that Members of Parliament/Candidates would nominate polling station executives.

Such preposterous suggestions should not be countenanced, and besides, the Party’s Constitution frowns upon it because it undermines the democratic principles on which the Party is founded. Secondly, it will collapse everything the Party had stood for and would amount to cutting their noses to spite their faces.

Article 5 of the Party’s Constitution states that the Party shall be based on Constituencies, Regional, External and National Organisations. There shall be Polling Station Executives of five (5) members (Chairman, Secretary, Youth Organiser and Women Organiser) whose duties shall be; firstly, act as polling agents when appropriate; secondly, be responsible for house to house campaign, thirdly, act as Agents, fourthly, act as Agents during voter registration and cleaning of the voter register, fifthly, perform any other function that would be assigned them by a Constituency Officer.

The last paragraph of this Article states that “In Polling Station Executive elections, all card bearing and paid-up Members in good standing in the polling station area shall vote.”

To make the provisions effective, all party members at the polling areas should be registered and the records kept in the Polling Station Register. Adequate publicity must be given on the date and time elections are to be held in any polling station. All party members who are qualified and wish to stand for elections must be allowed to stand.

Under no circumstances must candidates be declared unopposed. The Party’s inability to conduct elections strictly in line with the spirit and provisions underlined above has been the underlying causeof all misunderstandings among party members during Constituency elections for which many had resorted to civil courts in the past for redress of their grievances.

The appointment of polling station executives undermines efficiency because the best are not chosen, encourages favouritism because those appointed owe allegiance to Constituency Executives and Parliamentary Candidates who sponsored them and finally creates divisions among executives. Lastly, a lot of effort must be made to reduce the level of illiteracy among Polling Station Executives by encouraging young teachers and graduates to contest elections.

The coming Polling Station elections must be conducted in the spirit of the Constitution, as highlighted, in order to build a strong united Party to ensure victory in 2020. The Party must appoint strong electoral teams to conduct all elections especially at the Polling Stations and should of necessity exclude Constituency Executives who have given an indication to for stand elections into any position. Elections which are conducted by the Party executives are usually faulted because of vested interest of executives seeking elections to higher positions.

Teams conducting the elections must not include any executive seeking elections into any office. To me this should be the topmost priority of the Party, to prevent the NDC from coming back to power to undo what the Government is doing now. NPP should not be bothered by the tantrums of “strangers” since they are diversionary and besides “shallow streams make the most noise”. When you live with strangers you should know how to cover your back.

“The world suffers a lot not because of the VIOLENCE of bad people but because of the SILENCE of good people” (Napoleon).

Columnist: Brig-Gen J. Odei