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The NPP at 21

Sun, 25 Aug 2013 Source: Haruna, Mahama

The NPP has been commemorating its twenty one (21) years in existence beginning this week. The party which was formed in 1992 with strong democratic credentials is now characterised by vindictiveness, intolerance, personal attacks and selfish interests within. As Dr Wereko Brobbey put it: "So it is that the Party of the Rule of Law has taken to the Lawlessness of Uncontrolled Mob Hysteria..with such careless disregard for the tenets of the very rule of law".

Indeed, the demeanour of the current leadership of NPP would have a telling effect on the fortunes of the party. If care is not taken the NPP would soon burst its ranks and consume its lazy leadership. The truth is that ever since the NPP lost power, any attempt to make inputs into the party’s internal affairs has been hushed down by some party faithful. The signals are not good for the NPP’s future. I totally agree with a leading member of the NPP who said that "the current leadership of the party are mostly listening to their own voices and brutally shutting down all opposing voices and completely intolerant even to NPP members who venture to speak sense and logic".

This "see no evil, hear no evil" posture is the reason why the NPP is in opposition and until some members of the party mature to accept criticism in good faith, the party will remain stuck in opposition. In fact those who are ever ready to clutch the throats of people with opposing views are disengaging so many others from the party because everybody is now afraid to voice his opinion.

Those insulting must let others speak their mind. Those who are insulting some leading members for speaking their mind today will become the target of insults tomorrow if they also choose to dissent on any issue that may come up later.

Dr Arthur Kennedy believes there is too much extremism in NPP now and I totally agree with him. Indeed too many of those speaking in the name of NPP are too shrill and too insulting. "When we are represented in public by young and ambitious people whose only distinction is their willingness to insult others and their sycophantic attitude to leaders, we turn moderates and uncommitted voters away from our candidates" was how he put it.

What the NPP needs is self introspection and new leadership made up of articulate intellectuals, moderate, liberal and cultured professionals but not sabre rattlers, foul mouth and warmongers. Former President Kufour is reported to have said that the NPP is the only “true national party” in the country...We encompass people from all over the country, all religion, all tribes and all ages and generations”. I believe he was talking about the NPP under his Presidency. Things have changed.

These days, loyalty in the NPP is only for only one person, such that any member, however, senior and years of sacrifice, dare not speak publicly against any ill in the party or publicly disagree with the direction of the party. Indeed that person has become a “god” being worshiped in the NPP.

The NPP must change course and move away from the path of intolerance and endless negativity, before it becomes too late to do so. The situation in which loyalty to the party is based on sycophancy, boot licking and deceit to one person must cease. The situation in which true members are booted out of the party for speaking the truth must cease.

The right-thinking members of the NPP must work hard to take the party away from the bigots who have succeeded in destroying the image of the party that B. J. Da-Rocha, Ala-Adjetey, Odoi-Sykes and and unsung heroes like my father Alhaji Mahama Salifu of Bole and Gonjaland fought hard to build.

I am beginning to reason with those who think all well meaning members of the NPP must confront the charlatans in NPP head on and expose them.

My good friend who is an unrepentant supporter of NPP Stephen Abogo (whom I respect and owe a lot to) once wrote to me:

"My brother, when the history of the NPP is told, you will be more relevant than that so called ingrate and most of us. U cannot throw away ur heritage, ur sweat and ur birthright becos of someone, most especially when you have worked hard over the years for this course. My advice is for you to have a rethink, confront the issue with determination and all the arsenal you got rather than join the NDC or JM's team to despise Nana and the NPP. Am pretty sure Nana has been in the dark about ur purported maltreatment. If u had sort his audience and presented ur case this mess would have been long solved. There is precedence here: Kofi Adams refused to leave the party he help build becos of the arrogance of Gen. Mosquito and his cohorts and yet today he is more relevant than most of them. Thanks for opening up and I hope u take my humble advice. I remain XBOGO, the REBEL";he concluded.

My write-up would not be complete on the occasion of the twenty one (21) years existence of the NPP without acknowledging the role my own family which is well steeped in the history of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition.

Indeed the ideology, principles and ideals of the tradition was bequeathed to my father by my grandfather. My late grandfather, Braimah Salifu, was a friend to Chief S.D. Dombo a founding father of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition and so seriously worked for Dombo's Northern Peoples Party (NPP) and later the UP.

My late father, Alhaji Mahama Salifu who embraced the Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition as a young man is known to have given so much of his time, energy, spirit and resources to consolidate the NPP in Bole-Bamboi and Gonjaland. He was the Youth Leader of the Progress Party (PP) in the then Gonja West Constituency and contributed immensely to the victory of the party in the Parliamentary elections of 1969. In 1979 my father became the Leader of the Popular Front Party (PFP) in the then Gonja West Constituency (now Bole-Bamboi,Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Damongo-Daboya and Yapei-Kusawgu) and as a businessman provided about 90% of the resources the party needed for the 1979 elections in the Constituency.

After the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992, my father was one of the first Danquah-Dombo-Busia political tradition adherents to join the newly formed New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Northern Region at its formative stage. He was tasked by the late B.J. da Rocha and Agyenim Boateng, Interim National Chairman and Secretary respectively of the NPP to establish the party's branches in the Gonja constituencies of Northern Region. He went round all the Constituencies concerned (Bole-Bamboi, Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Yapei-Kusawgu and Salaga) with his own resources and vehicle to set up NPP branches.

He became Chairman of the Party in the Bole-Bamboi Constituency. As Chairman he worked tirelessly for the NPP. His commitment to the principles and ideals of the party made him procure an office for the party, used his vehicles as campaign vans and sold his cattle to support the party. In fact he is the biggest single investor of the NPP in Bole-Bamboi and Gonjaland before the party came into office.

Long Live Alhaji Mahama Salifu!!

The DANQUAH-DOMBO-BUSIA Tradition will outlive all of us!!.

By Mahama Haruna

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama