Opinions Thu, 1 Apr 2010

The Danquah-Dombo-Busia Tradition

There seems to be a ‘missing link’ in the tradition of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) since its formation in 1992. The NPP had traced its tradition to the United Party (UP) after the Passage of the Avoidance of Discrimination Act (ADA) was passed in December 1957 under the Convention People Party (CPP). This Act banned all political parties that were formed along regional, ethnic and religious lines. Based on the Act all the opposition parties came together to form the UP under the leadership of Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia and the deputy Chief Simon Diedong Dombo.

If this story is accurate and true, who should be the founding founders of such the UP tradition? Should it be both Busia and Dombo or all the founding members of the UP? This is the situation I call the ‘missing link’ of the tradition of the NPP when it was formed in 1992.

Some members of the NPP think its tradition goes beyond the UP, back to the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947 a period before Ghana gained her independence. This period Dr J. B. Danquah’s role and influence cannot be forgotten. Danquah’s contested with Dr Nkrumah in order to become the first President of Ghana. Also, Danquah’s political influence in the 1940s up to the 1960s when he died, he indeed remains a hero for the NPP and a great politician in the history of Ghana.

Dr K. A. Busia leader of the UP and the Prime minister of the Progress Party (PP) in 1969 has been credited as second force after Dr J. B. Danquah as far as NPP tradition is concern. This Danquah-Busia tradition contested the 1979 general elections under the leadership of Victor Owusu but lost to Dr Hilla Liman. Victor Owusu was not added to the Danquah-Busia Tradition. The question one might ask is why was he not added? Could it be that because he lost the elections or what? May be because he was not a leader in the formation of the UP the ‘root’ of the NPP tradition.

In the 1992 general elections, the Danquah-Busia tradition of the NPP was led by Prof Albert Adu Boahen and in 1996 John Agyekum Kufour led the party till he was elected in 2000. With all these political development only two personalities were identified as the pillars of the party namely Danquah and Busia. I think that there is the need for the leadership of the New Patriotic Party to be consistent with their tradition. If NPP is fully convinced that Dombo who was part of the formation of the UP and a leader does not deserve to be part of the tradition so be it, despite the fact that Dombo had majority of parliamentarians than Busia and leader of the opposition under the CPP. But a situation where others are calling for the inclusion of his name just for political expediency is unacceptable. Some top members of the NPP argued adding his name will make the party to have regional and ethnic balance but that should not be an issue. I think there is the need for the leadership of the NPP to accept they have erred from the formation of the NPP in 1992 for excluding Dombo. Dombo and all those I will call his ‘offsprings’ have been relegated to the background but they should be given the due recognition in the NPP. I do not think NPP can disregard prominent politicians like Tolon-Naa Yakubu Tali, Vice President Aliu Mahama, Alhaji Malik Yakubu, Alhaji Bonifice Sadique, Hajia Alima Mahama, Dr Mumuni Bawumia Kofi Addae among others including the current Deputy Minority Leader Lawyer Ambrose Dery who hails from the homeland of the veteran UP politician Chief S. D. Dombo.

I think there is the need for the NPP to clear what I call the ‘missing link’ of their true tradition. For all the eight years of the former President J.A. Kufour, he has not mentioned anything like the Danquah-Dombo-Busia Tradition. Most top leaders of the NPP including the flag bearer hopefuls still have this challenge in their speeches at party rallies, congresses and conferences. Even at the Kumasi Congress where National Executives were elected, the inconsistency of the tradition of the NPP was manifested. Whiles the Minority leader Osei-Kyei Bonsu mentioned that “we the Danquah-Dombo-Busia Tradition” other speakers failed to do so. When will the inconsistency stop? NPP as a formidable party must act now, the current National Executives must take this issue seriously and address it with urgency before the July 3, 2010 election of its flag bearer. In conclusion, I think there is the need for the opposition NPP to be consistent on what they really consider as their tradition and maintain it in their speech and in the party manifesto for the sake of posterity otherwise the party will be making mockery of itself. NPP is a great party with intellectuals and must act now and forever on whether their tradition remains the DANQUAH-BUSIA or it is DANQUAH-DOMBO-BUASIA TRADITION. Thanks.

By Daniel Kipo, Political Science Student, University of Bergen, Norway. Email: dondankipo@yahoo.com

Columnist: Kipo, Daniel