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Opinions Tue, 4 Apr 2006

Resignations From The NDC; A Blessing In Disguise

It was exhilarating when I read the news of the resignation of Dr Obed Asamoah from the rank and file of the NDC. There is no denying the fact that Dr Asamoah, until his resignation was one of the stalwarts of the party. He constituted part of that all-important edifice which formed the NDC party. He was once the minister of Foreign Affairs and later the Attorney General. Hence his immense contribution to the current political dispensation cannot be swept under the carpet. That probably is the reason his resignation from the party may have come as a big shock to all and sundry who stand by the party?s ideology. But be it as it may, that is democracy and it is in the nature of every democracy that people are given that inalienable right to ventilate their sentiments as and when they so desire to. The learned man did exactly that. In a press statement issued at that tumultuous moment of his resignation, Dr Asamoah is alleged to have said, among other reasons that he left the party because of lack of internal democracy within the party. His case was succinctly made to the admiration of even his adversaries. Of course if the foundation blocks of the party are to champion the course of democracy, then it would be hypocritical for the party not to promote the same principle within its own rank and file. Failing to do that will sound more like trying to remove the mote in the Ghanaian eye whiling harbouring this huge log in the NDC?s eye. So Obed Asamoah did exactly what every right-minded individual will do in the heat of that moment. That notwithstanding, two questions remain unanswered; one, why did he resign only after he failed to win the chairmanship of the party at the congress. In other words would the man have abnegated the position for (as he put it) lack of internal democracy if he had won the chairmanship of the party? Let the point be made and reiterated that people who expound certain principles must not allow themselves to be caught in the abyss of violating the same doctrines. If that is ever allowed to happen, they only allow themselves to be exposed to a myriad of criticisms; criticisms that bother on hypocrisy. If we do a mental excursion to some days past (the 1990s), the name Arkaah rings a bell with a shrill noise. Anyone following the political development of this country will remember this illustrious and affable son of Ghana. But just in case Obed Asamoah and his likes have forgotten, then let them be reminded that the ex-president was rumoured to have physically assaulted the man during a cabinet meeting that resulted in an altercation. This incident culminated in the resignation of the man as the vice president.

In the interest of peace and reconciliation some of us do enjoy the idea of seeing sleeping dogs lie. Hence the idea of pricking old wounds does not appeal to me. But in the interest of setting the records straight, permit me Dear Reader to refer to the case of the late Arkaah to refute Obed Asamoah's assertion that he left the NDC party because of lack of internal democracy. I hereby submit that Obed left not because of the reason he adduced but because his dream ship of leading the NDC to destruction has wrecked on the hard rocks of modern realities. Undoubtedly a democratic government or majoritarianism must be such that it is able to prevent despotism of abuse of power otherwise it becomes an oligarchy or autocracy. Embedded in the principles of democracy is the concept of fundamental human rights which include the right to life, the right to an adequate standard of living, freedom of expression and freedom from torture and mistreatment. Infact some rights can be waived or set aside in times of emergency but a right like freedom from torture and mistreatment is non- derogable. This makes a clear and unambiguous manifestation of the importance of this right. Obed Asamoah is a legal brain of no mean calibre. So he knows TOO well about this right. Obed was (and I stand to be corrected) the Attorney General at the time Rawlings was rumoured to have physically assaulted Mr Arkaah. If Obed?s assertion that he left the party because of lack of internal democracy/discipline is anything to go by (and it certainly is), then I pose my second question; where were those same principles when Arkaah?s basic rights were blatantly abused? Is it not part of the responsibilities of the Attorney General to ensure that these rights are being enforced? By this particular action, is the learned man trying to suggest that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others? If this behaviour is not hypocrisy, then I will have to be tutored on the true meaning of this quintessential English word. One of the incidents of malfeasance against the NDC I personally could not defend was the loss of about 100million cedis in Obed Asamoah?s house. We were all witnesses to the avalanche of criticisms that were levelled against him personally and the NDC party in particular for not using the bank to save such a large sum of money. We were all witnesses to the hullabaloo that surrounded rumours that his body-guard was severely physically assaulted to confess that he pilfered the said money. Now if the allegation that the police man was beaten to make the confession is anything to go by, then wouldn't it be tantamount to a violation of the man?s basic rights? We remember the spontaneity with which Rawlings came out to condemn the allegations against Obed Asamoah and even went as far as describing him as an incorruptible man. But what is more ?corruptible? than blatantly accusing someone of theft and physically assaulting the person without following the due process of law? And today the same man is accusing the same people of not being democratic. Suffice it to say that in developed democracies (which we all aspire to attain), people hardly ever resign from parties. They do resign from positions however. And when they do, it is always for very good reasons and not the trivial ones we frequently adduce. And also when people resign from those positions, they do not go about forming their own political parties. A few examples will suffice. In 2003 when Tony Blair tangoed with George Bush to invade Iraq, many were those from within the Labour party who opposed the War. Notably among them was the late Robin Cook. When the rather obstinate Prime Minister refused to heed the warnings of some of his colleagues, people like Robin Cook relinquished their positions. Infact Robin was (at the time), the leader of the House of Commons. And when he resigned, he did not (unlike Obed Asamoah) form a political party. He remained in the party and continued to offer his constructive criticisms to his colleagues. That is the mark of a true politician whose motives are not only the fulfilment of his own ambitions, but also to champion a course that mark the foundations of a true democracy. In our own Ghana, cases abound where high ranking members of political parties get peeved over issues that bother on their parties and their persona. Instead of resigning and going all over the place making noise, they rather stick to their guns and fight their case out. A typical example is the current president. Anyone who followed the goings-on within the NPP prior to their winning power will attest to the fact that the man Kuffuor had a real tough time within the party. It was obvious that there was a certain group of individuals within the party who thought they were more qualified to lead the party. Hence there were two camps within the NPP. There were the firebrands who included the likes of Akuffo Addo and J H Mensah and the moderates which included Kuffuor and Malik Yakubu. It was conspicuous that there was an element of marginalisation or contempt directed particularly at the Kuffuor camp; a deliberate attempt to "peripherise" Kuffuor in particular. Being so patient, the man did not resign. He rather stuck to his gun and fought his way through and today, he has been able to attain the heights great men reached and kept! So it comes as a real shock when you find some of our intelligentsia flirting with political parties and justifying their behaviour with rather ludicrous reasons. It is rather sad to see our so-called role models bequeathing a rather rotten and marred precedent to generations unborn in the pursuit of their own selfish and silhouette desires. As a matter of fact the likes of Obed Asamoah were more of liabilities than assets to the NDC party. I would lose some sleep if the likes of Spio Garbrah, John Mahama, Haruna Iddirisu, Mahama Ayariga and Mubarak Muntaka are leaving the party. These are fresh-blooded individuals whose ideas are in keeping with modern realities; people who see things in the light of contemporary developments in science and technology. Infact if Ghana operated a bicameral legislature, Obed Asamoah and the likes of JH Mensah would belong to the second chamber where they can have the platform to speak their ?big English ? for that is what they are good at doing. But their ?big English? will not take Ghana anywhere. What Ghana needs now is people like Dr Nii Moi Thompson, who do not just do the talking but who can use diagrams to make us see "what?s up" with the world economy.

Permit me to do a generalisation here. It is an uncomfortable generalisation but I have to do it anyway in that that is the only way I can make my point. It is regrettable that some northern politicians have allowed themselves to be used and abused by every political party. We have seen the acrobatics of the late Alhaji Inusah. We have heard the scandals of the Bambas. We heard and continue to hear the prattles of Mallam Issah and very recently John Ndebugri; and today we are experiencing a reincarnation of the late Alhaji Inusah in the form of Prof Wayo Seini and Alhaji Ismail Bawah. Why do we have to follow every passing wind: why do we always have to follow the bandwagon? What precedent are we setting for the youth? How many able-bodied young men of northern descent have lost their lives through political activities? And yet how developed is the north and the Zongo communities? Aboabo in Kumasi, Nima in Accra are right in the heart of the two great cities in Ghana. How much of development have these communities received? Yet we constantly allow ourselves to be used and abused by every political ?harlot" who has his own agenda to pursue. We have to do some thinking here!!!

But resignations or no resignations, the NDC will stand the test of time. There is a silent majority of youthfully-exuberant men and women who are watching what is going on. We do anticipate more and more ?stomach politicians? to resign and form their own political parties. That will certainly disappoint some of us but it certainly will not discourage us. We will continue to support the NDC knowing that that is the only viable alternative to the ruling government. The NDC is bigger than the whims and caprices of those individuals who indulge in the campaign of calumny against the party. And if Rawlings is the issue, then those individuals are better off burning the sea because the man is the stone that the builders will never reject. Afterall some of us believe that Ghana has had three presidents so far: Nkrumah, Rawlings and the Others.

May Ghana be blessed!!!

Hajia Memuna Ogogome
Canada


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Ogogome , Hajia Memuna