By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Folks, we know that when it comes to engaging pertinent issues verging on national affairs, the economic challenges that the Mahama-led administration is finding difficult come to the fore. We have acknowledged those challenges and criticized the government for its acts of commission or omission. Even as the situation doesn’t improve and the problems continue to defy solution, the government insists that it is up to the task and shouldn’t be hounded. We will give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, we have nothing to lose in terms of political capital at Election 2016; the government does and should be mindful of how it approaches issues.
One of the pertinent issues that we must not gloss over has to do with the main opposition party, the NPP. We have said several times that our democracy will grow better if a credible and vibrant opposition exists to put the Executive on its mettle as it exposes its inadequacies and offers options for solving problems. So far, the NPP has failed woefully to play that role, having chosen to limit itself to noisy but hollow criticisms, wolf-crying, and plain undermining of everything represented by President Mahama. In effect, the NPP is on the national stage, making its presence felt as an irritant, especially if its rabble-rousing is considered as the major evidence of its presence as an opposition camp.
Even as it fails to do what others in its position do elsewhere, it is gradually being torn apart by problems that are either self-created or the result of purposeful mischief. We have raised some of the problems over the period to suggest that it is a divided house. Don’t even talk about the factionalism tearing it apart on the basis of Asante and Akyem ethnic sentiments or loyalty. Concentrate on the bitterness that has characterized the internal wrangling between the two main camps of Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyerematen, vying for the flagbearer slot for Election 2016.
We are alive to the cancerous politics going on that has pitted the two camps against each other, creating the impression that they have taken entrenched positions and won’t tolerate each other. There is a lot happening to indicate that the bad-blood relationship is really solid and won’t dissolve soon. When the national delegates congress is held, the fate of the NPP will be determined and sealed. I have a simple conjecture: the party won’t be the same after that congress.
Considering the stage-managed endorsements being given Akufo-Addo by the NPP’s MPs, regional and constituency executives (even against the run of affairs and in violation of the party’s own inhibitions) many possibilities exist that the Kyerematen camp will be peeved beyond pacification. Then, if “humiliated” at the congress, they will advise themselves. They are not likely to tear off into forming a new political party but they will know how to do things to the NPP’s disadvantage.
I suspect strongly that considering the spate of demonizing going on against Kyerematen and the other aspirants, a lot will happen at and after the congress. That lot will spell the doom of the NPP. Then, Akufo-Addo will be compelled to speak the language of peace and reconciliation that he is not speaking now because he thinks that he must ride on the crest of the manipulated support that he is being given in the pre-congress period. Is this man really an astute politician? If he were—and knowing very well that if he emerges as the winner, he will definitely need the backing of all those challenging him for the flagbearer slot and their supporters—he would be more reasonable in his search for acclamation. But he isn’t, which is why he is shortsighted and only interested in waxing in the support being declared for him. Such a character!!
So, we can see the ripples of contradictions, tension, and a possible implosion of this cabal, even before we get to that definitive moment, happenings suggest that the fault lines are deepening. Some disgruntled party functionaries have either instituted legal action or are contemplating doing so to balk the August 31 special delegates’ congress just because they think that things are not being done properly. They are concerned that the situation is being tele-guided to impose Akufo-Addo as the flagbearer. Such aggrieved people can cause much havoc if they get their own way. Read more here: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=321835.
As if there isn’t enough water passing under the party’s bridge, there is trouble at another level. Kwabena Agyapong, the General Secretary has moved to dispose of certain functionaries at the party’s headquarters, especially in the communications department. Perry Okudzeto has been axed and he is fuming. The MP for Tema East, Titus-Glover, is also out and about, breathing hot air and daring Agyepong to axe him if he has the guts. A lot is lined up to rock the boat.
From the Northern Region, the regional chairman of the NPP, Daniel Bugri Naabu (someone I have already dismissed as a political buffoon) is angry at the manner in which Agyepong and Paul Afoko (national chairman) are doing things. He has given the hint that the National Executive Council of the party will dismiss (or impeach?) both national officers when it meets soon. Read more here too: http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2014/August-18th/afoko-agyepong-threatened-with-impeachment.php.
As soon as we get to this point, we know that the NPP is sinking really fast into anarchy There is much suspicion that Agyepong and Afoko are stooges of former President Kufuor, who supports Kyerematen’s bid to lead the NPP to Election 2012. So, what is emerging now threatens the party’s resilience more than the NDC does. Is the NPP really at the brink of disaster? If it is, why shouldn’t we discuss its fate? Those who may think otherwise can please themselves; but those of us wishing that a vibrant opposition has a lot to offer our democracy won’t sit down unconcerned as the teetering and tottering intensifies in it.
If they can be at each other’s throat this way while in opposition (where they have nothing like kickbacks to fight over), what will they not do if they assume power to have unlimited opportunities to fleece the system? As Dr. Arthur Kennedy has already told us, living in opposition is like living in hell (apparently because they don’t have all the opportunities for making money; and the Ghanaian politician is doing politics to make money, not to build the country and improve living conditions of the people through selfless, devoted service).
And if they are lamenting their own sorry situation as a disorganized front, what prevents us (outsiders) from discussing them? Here is a clear instance: Former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea has described as “shameful and appalling” the rift in the party.
According to him, the action and inactions of the some national executives create an impression that the NPP is not ready to win power from the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 general elections. (See: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=321828)
So, that is where the NPP has reached so far in its wandering in the political wilderness. If they can’t manage their own house, what is the guarantee that they can do so for the whole country? And why should the Ghanaian voter put them in office? Can the NPP withstand its own intrigues? To what good end, though?
If you are still not sure of where I am coming from, read this informative opinion piece by an NPP insider (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=321801) and gird your loin for the drama that unfolds.
I shall return…
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