By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
January 3, 2011
We have said it before and will continue to make it known that the NDC is burning itself out on a fruitless path toward self-destruction unless the main factors responsible for the ongoing wrangling are quickly eradicated. It’s obvious that one of the major factors is the entrenched position that Rawlings and his faction in the NDC (those elements with the so-called “revolutionary fervour” or embittered foot-soldiers) have taken against President Mills and his government.
Their needless head-butting and scathing verbal attacks don’t suggest that all is well within the NDC’s ranks. They see the Mills government as a faction in the NDC to lock horns with, regardless of all the appeals to them to settle intra-party problems behind closed doors.
These two main factions of the NDC are engaged in a fruitless shouting match and pointing of accusing fingers as if that’s all they need to do to retain the party in power. The Rawlings faction has pitted itself against the one in government, which Rawlings has disdainfully labelled as “greedy bastards” and Spio-Garbrah calumniated as “Team B.” The bad-blood relationship between these two factions seems to defy cleansing and seems to be a major hurdle for the party to jump if it wants to reposition itself to be retained in power.
Between the day of electoral victory and now, much water has passed under the bridge for us to know the stuff of which Atta Mills is made. Rather intriguingly, the very problems that turned the electorate against the NPP seem to be re-surfacing. With the persistent complaints from Ghanaians against the cost of living and the rather slow pace of work by the Mills’ government to solve problems, it is not preposterous to suggest that the very circumstances that favoured the NDC in the 2008 elections are re-enacting themselves in readiness to work against the interests of the NDC.
The NDC and its government, therefore, seem to be already faced with a tremendous problem and may be swimming against the current. Unless the trend changes, the going will be really tough for it in the 2012 elections. It has an uphill task to do and will worsen its plight if its main functionaries continue to force its political river to flow upstream. Solving these daunting internal problems and the national problems for which President Mills was voted into office cannot be done through the headache that Rawlings and his faction cause every day.
From the sidelines too, the NDC’s opponents are gearing up to woo the electorate with the claim that the government has failed them. The numerous electioneering campaign promises that President Mills had made before the 2008 elections are still staring him squarely in the face and daring him for fulfillment! Does he not already have too much to handle? Why should Rawlings and his faction add more to his plate? How much needless pressure should these NDC functionaries put on themselves? What for, anyway?
Believe-it-or-not, President Mills may not appeal to the so-called old guards of the NDC whose so-called revolutionary fervour prevents them from seeing things beyond “a-tooth-for-a-tooth-and-a-nail-for-a-nail” perspective. Always crying for their pound of flesh, they have refused to see anything good in President Mills and his government to praise. Fixated on drawing blood from their political opponents, they have never ceased howling at President Mills for extending his “Father-for-all-Ghanaians” concession to them. They are behaving like the Tasmanian Devils whose destructive instincts will cause havoc to others if not restrained. They are those creating the problems for the NDC. For as long as they see problems as nails and always go for a hammer as the only solution, they will deepen the woes of the party. Politics in the 21st century shouldn’t be so narrowly constructed and practised.
The conclusion is simple: It is only the NDC that can save itself to prevent the imminent implosion that is threatening its future viability. I am certain that if the Rawlingses stop their mischievous meddling and re-direct their energies toward serving the cause of the NDC in a more congenial manner, they will restore the party to a better keel. That’s the big challenge for them to take up in the realization that the party that they toiled hard to form and nurture into a formidable force in Ghanaian politics can endure only if it is properly fed with productive input. In-fighting and rabble-rousing against the government will not help it endure; nor will this dog-bite-dog posture that the various factions have assumed make it attractive to the electorate.
Ghana needs the NDC to maintain its political equilibrium. The NDC must survive to prevent imbalance in the political arena. It must remain a force to reckon with. The NPP needs the NDC for it to look over its shoulders so as to shape its politicking to suit the needs of the country. In the same vein, the NDC cannot shape up without the constant pushing and shoving from the NPP. Both the NDC and NPP have so far tasted political power and should know the extent of their pertinence to do what will not destroy them.
They need the counter-balancing effect of each other in order not to turn Ghana into a one-party state—which is likely to be the case if either of them collapses. As of now, the NDC seems to be more at risk in this sense than the NPP and must rein itself in. It is pointless giving any place to the mushroom parties fighting for the Nkrumah legacy. They are already doomed by their leaders’ lack of acumen and vision and cannot be relied on to change the situation for the better.
Here are some of the key issues that the NDC must take up if it wants to survive:
Solving the party’s problems must begin at the national level. The Functional (National) Executive Committee must convene immediate strategic meetings to deliberate on the problems that are fast pushing the party to a “shipwreck” on land. If these Executive Committee members haven’t already taken sides themselves, then, they should convene an emergency meeting to map out strategies to solve the problems.
The National Chairman of the party (Dr. Kwabena Adjei) seems to have boxed himself into a tight corner after opening his mouth too wide in commenting on (or threatening) the Judiciary. It seems the negative backlash has drained the energy and acumen from him, forcing him to fold up and looking on as a helpless trapped animal. He seems to be too dormant for my liking and must gird his loins to help restore sanity into the affairs of the party. I hope he hasn’t already sold his conscience for his bread to be buttered and can look straight into the eyes of the trouble-makers in the party to bring them to book.
Sadly, Dr. Adjei may have a big burden on his head. It seems that he and General Mosquito (Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the party) have identified themselves with President Mills and his government, which implies that they have by that stance positioned themselves against the Rawlings faction. In this sense, then, they can’t come across as impartial in their dealings with the Rawlings faction. But they have the responsibility to keep the NDC alive. They dare not shirk that responsibility to bring the party back on an even keel. If it is because they have already taken sides that they can’t exert their influence productively, then, they must prepare for a rude awakening.
Sanity in the party must be restored at the regional level too. It seems the 10 Regional Chairmen of the NDC are in the camp of President Mills (as their loud affirmation of support for him last year indicated). That being the case, they seem hamstrung already, especially in their various domains where the real organizers of the NDC (those supporting Rawlings) are. Party work demands more than what these Regional Chairmen have done so far. They must work together with those at the lower levels of the party to restore order and peace into their ranks so that the NDC can grow and reach out to the electorate.
I want to remind all the Regional Chairmen (and other functionaries of the NDC) that a political party that is in danger of losing its bearing (and political power) cannot survive on mere sloganeering escapades. They seem not to be active enough to make peace. They shouldn’t look on sheepishly while their own house burns. At the end of the day, they will end up being consumed too. If there is no party, what will they chair in the regions, anyway?
Considering the peculiar nature of the Ghanaian electorate, no one has to tell these bickering NDC functionaries that they are embarking on a journey that will take them nowhere but straight into a fool’s paradise. They are fast creating conditions to lose public goodwill, which will cost them at the next elections.
Engaging in this useless spate of factionalism and mutual exchanges of open verbal salvoes suggests that they don’t know how to use the mandate given them to solve the country’s problems. Ghanaians are not fools to give political power to those who can’t use it judiciously to solve their problems. That’s the lesson the NDC in-fighters have to learn.