By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
January 3, 2011
When there is in-fighting among the key personalities in the political party in power, danger looms. That danger doesn’t threaten the fate of the party alone but also that of the entire country. It creates the impression of instability and a loss of focus. More importantly, it demoralizes the majority of the electorate whose franchise put that party in power. That’s exactly what has been happening in the NDC since its return to power. And that is why those of us who don’t like what we see or hear will continue to make our voices heard.
The circumstances in which the NDC has found itself since returning to power two years ago indicate that functionaries of the party are indulging in a Tower-of-Babel politics that will hurt the party (and their own political interests) beyond redemption if not curtailed. This Tower-of-Babel politics manifests itself in the muddled thinking and talking and in-fighting that has been going on since January 7, 2009. It seems that things have already fallen apart and the center cannot hold for the party-in-power.
We must analyze these issues and point out what isn't working well so that action can be taken to restore sanity into the party and its government. Failure to do so will reflect negatively on our democratic experiment. What has been happening in the NDC has now gone beyond the level of shame to that of danger for our country and must be addressed. No one should under-estimate this danger.
Barely two years in office now, the main power brokers in the NDC (the party founder, the upper echelons of the party, and the President and his government) cannot speak and understand a common language and to act on what they say or hear from each other. It is a plain pitiable case of the Biblical Tower of Babel scenario except that this time, it is happening in Ghanaian politics and not during a mass movement (Exodus) of a determined people, fleeing away from hardship into a Promised Land of peace, abundance, and tranquility.
It is a kind of situation in which the main actors are speaking in strange tongues and engaging in a mad race for public attention as confused people who fought tooth-and-nail for political power but don’t know how to use it or to protect it against loss. It is a situation in which the main actors think they have a common goal to achieve but don’t know how to achieve it.
In this confused state, they see each other as the problem to solve and divert all energy and resources into attacking each other to cause mutual harm. From one end, we see the camp of former President Rawlings, and at the other end, we see President Mills and his government functionaries. These are the pitiable elements engaged in the Tower-of-Babel politics, wasting everybody’s time, trading baseless accusations and counter-accusations while the country’s problems mount to worsen living standards for the electorate.
It is no secret what the Rawlings’ faction has done to create the impression that the government led by President Mills is incompetent. They seem to think that they can extricate the NDC (as a political party founded by Rawlings) from an NDC government (a faction led by President Mills). Rawlings’ unrelenting bitter criticisms against President Mills’ leadership style and the inability of the government to solve the country’s nagging problems have combined to give Ghanaians the uneasy feeling that all is not well within the NDC.
This impression is worrisome and must be accounted for before the NDC attempts to embark on any vigorous campaign to seek a renewal of its mandate. It seems that Rawlings has already gone for President Mills’ underbelly and done much harm to his future political ambitions. This type of politicking, and choice of approach for doing it, tends to engender lawlessness and needless tension, which endangers the social peace to which Ghanaians have dedicated themselves.
While doing this kind of damaging politics against his own, Rawlings is opening the floodgates for the NDC’s opponents to have a field day as the country prepares for the 2012 elections. Yet, Rawlings will be the last person on earth to wish the NPP back into office. So, why is he not wide awake to see the harm that his constant bashing of President Mills is doing?
I am baffled by a more thorny contradiction. Having conferred inheritance rights on Professor Mills through his Swedru Declaration, Rawlings had cleared Professor Mills of all the faults that he now finds in him and torments his life over. The question, then, is: What did Rawlings find good to celebrate in Prof. Mills when he was the Vice President that he no longer values in him as Ghana’s President?
More pointedly, what at all is the Mills-led government doing or failing to do that irks Rawlings and his wife so much as to send them on this fool’s errand of undoing him and the very government that they toiled to install in office?
Regardless of any other reason that Rawlings may give (for example, his ludicrous claim that Professor Kofi Awoonor, Chairman of the Council of State, is ruling Ghana on behalf of President Mills), I can stick my neck out to say that the main cause of the tantrums into which he has been running all along is President Mills’ dogged refusal to do as he (Rawlings) wishes, which is, to unleash the security apparatus on Kufuor and his NPP followers whom Rawlings has not ceased accusing of looting public funds.
In fact, from the very moment that the NDC returned to power, it had been Rawlings’ avowed objective to have Kufuor and members of his government punished. Rawlings hasn’t hidden that objective and has on countless occasions openly insulted Kufuor and those he has in mind and called for action to be taken against them—something that the Mils government has gone out of its way to do. For failing to punish these people, therefore, President Mills has turned himself into an easy target for intimidation, calumny, and vain harsh words by Rawlings and those who think like him.
Rawlings and his wife have particularly been acerbic in their criticism of President Mills to such an extent that they cannot live their lives without pointing accusing fingers at him. They find it difficult to separate his personality from his political role as the President or leader of government. They have lumped everything together and sought to write him off like a bad debt. That’s the price President Mils is paying for seeking to rule the country in tandem with his self-proclaimed mantra of “Asomdwehene” and “Father for all Ghanaians,” which is a novelty in Ghanaian politics that I will explain soon.
I hesitate to disagree with him on this score, knowing very well that his approach to governance seems to be shifting the paradigm from the age-old politics of vindictiveness to one of accommodation for the sake of national unity, social peace, and stability.
I wonder why Rawlings and his wife, especially, cannot see anything worthy in President Mills’ modus operandi to praise. Are they so myopic as not to know that each leader has his/her own strategies for solving national problems? Why do they think that just because their party is in power the President must necessarily exert his authority on the country by using brutish means as they were wont to do when Rawlings ruled the country in the June 4 era or between December 31, 1981, and January 6, 2001?
The NDC’s main problem rests with the Rawlingses. My candid opinion is that they are the cause of this Tower-of-Babel politics for which the NDC is gradually being known. They initiated the process of turning the NDC’s internal political machinery into a hit-and-run wordy warfare, which seems to be escalating and creating credibility problems for the party each passing day. The seed of the NDC’s destruction is in the belly of Rawlings and his wife. If nurtured into maturity, it will destroy the party, beginning from those now incubating it.
To be continued…