The National Democratic Party (NDP) on the block: Sour grapes galore

Sat, 7 Jul 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Thursday, July 6, 2012

At long last, the dust has settled for us to know how the so-called embittered elements in the NDC want to chart their political path henceforth. They have decided to form the National Democratic Party and will count on support from elements in the NDC who consider the NDC and its government as not working in their interests.

Hardly surprising.

It seems the brains behind the NDP have found an answer to their long-held problem of identity and status in the NDC and will now use the platform of this new party to do what they have up their sleeves.

Again, hardly surprising.

In a sense, this breaking away by the NDP elements from the NDC is a welcome relief that should be appreciated instead of worried about. It gives the NDC the chance to purge itself of the negative Rawlings hangover. I needn’t expatiate on this issue because it is obvious.

The problems that have drawn the party back as a result of the bad-blood relationship existing between Rawlings, his wife, and their sympathizers (particularly those constituting the Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, FONKAR), on the one hand, and those rooting for President Mills can now be tackled head-on or neutralized by the departure of the Rawlings faction.

Indeed, by removing themselves from the ranks of the NDC, those pro-Rawlings elements have given the NDC the best opportunity to revitalize itself and pursue its agenda of Social Democracy devoid of any bitterness, enmity, or rancour from within. Or, better still, without any clash of worldviews. It seems the Rawlingses don’t see eye-to-eye with those ideals of Social Democracy, having pegged themselves on nothing but the vengeance-laden mantra of “probity and accountability.”

As if when they were in power for nearly 20 years they succeeded in taking Ghana out of the woods!

We can tell from the early signals emerging from the camp of the inchoate NDP that their main focus will be on the NDC and what they can do to undercut it. Their Dr. Kwasi Ofei-Agyemang has already set the tone by repudiating the “Better Ghana” agenda as a failure. In essence, then, the NDP will make the NDC its target and pour scorn on it, hoping that by so doing, it will dim its electoral chances. In that vein, the NDP will add to the list of political parties already known for their hot-headed rhetoric, which doesn’t provide solutions to the very problems that they are quick to accuse the NDC government of not solving.

More intriguingly, though, the NDP’s departure from the NDC should serve useful purposes to help the NDC rebuild itself. The problem of double allegiance is the first major one to tackle. Double allegiance has manifested at different levels.

First, Rawlings is still regarded as the founder and father of the NDC, which makes him neither here (in the NDC) nor there (in the NDP) now that this new party has been formed with his wife as its kingpin. Rawlings has already touted his wife as a better quality material to lead the NDC than President Mills; and even before he comes out to announce his stance or even to shed his NDC coat, we will be quick to say that he is a major factor in this problem of double allegiance. The earlier he comes clean, the better it will be for him. As is already clear, the NDC has a better means to protect whatever is left of his legacy.

At the second level, those in the NDC torn between either fully supporting Rawlings or turning to President Mills will now get the chance to go where their conscience will lead them. The formation of the NDP should now make it clear to them where to belong. If those of them claiming to be staunch Rawlings admirers choose to remain in the mainstream NDC, then, they should be conscionable enough to do so without any divided attention to both sides simultaneously. They shouldn’t try to serve two masters at the same time. It won’t work.

All members of the NDC should now examine their own consciences to determine where to go. From the national, regional, and constituency to the ward levels, those who think that joining the NDP camp will serve useful purposes for them should do so without any hesitation. It is only then that they will be freeing themselves and helping their cause. Any hanky-panky game will be detected and dealt with.

Even though no confirmation of their involvement has come forth from the Rawlingses, we can put two and two together to conclude that they are firmly behind this new party. After all, their ventriloquist (Kofi Adams) has all along been apprising us of the developments leading to this moment.

The formation of the NDP should help the NDC deepen its politicking to do away with the irritating designation of “founder-and-father,” which, no doubt, is at the centre of the negative influences from Rawlings particularly.

Any party that remains stuck on a “founder-and-father” designation risks being dismembered as has been the case of the NDC. Apparently, the problem of personality cult takes its root from such a designation. As we can see from the history of the NPP, there is nothing of the sort, obviously because no single individual is allowed to hold sway over all others as a so-called “founder-and-father.” The case of the NDC has not been so. With Rawlings’ designation creating undue prominence for him and deceiving him into thinking that the party belongs to him and his household to toy with at will, the NDC has been buffeted by their tantrums all this while.

Now that the possibility exists for that designation to be discarded at the departure of Rawlings, every step should be taken to re-engineer the party and take it away from that pivot. There is need for drastic action to eliminate any one-man-showism to give the NDC the right footing it needs to remain viable.

Of course, the possibility of some NDC followers defecting to the NDP is high; but it shouldn’t be regarded as a harbinger of the party’s political flop. Those who will desert know why they will do so and must be allowed to go where they know their bread will be buttered. As they go away, others who haven’t joined the ranks of the NDC because of the Rawlingses will likely plug the gap. These are the elements that the NDC functionaries must identify and reach out to.

Everything points to only one objective of the Rawlingses, which is to erode the political fortunes of the NDC under President Mills and cause the party’s defeat at Election 2012. Their premeditated move has always been to “teach President Mills a bitter lesson” for either sidelining them or refusing to do their bidding.

Ghanaians know why the Rawlingses are embittered and will not go for their NDP just because they have been audacious enough to break away from the very party that they have sacrificed to sustain for 20 years now. Ghanaians have already tasted the fruit of the Rawlingses’ method of governance and will not want to herald the Rawlingses back to power.

Any intention by the Rawlingses to return to the corridors of power will be thwarted by those who know how to cripple such ambitions. And there are many of us who will do so. No move by the Rawlingses—be it clandestine or overt—will succeed.

Those emerging as office holders in the NDP don’t command any support. They have no constituency from which to do so. Dr. Josiah Aryeh is carrying a baggage that doesn’t bode well for him. What, with all the public disgrace over his bribe-taking encounter with the NPP, which led to his dismissal as the General Secretary of the NDC? Is this a credible character to lead the NDP? Going back for the vomit won’t solve anybody’s hunger problem.

The other characters whose names have cropped up so far as the bigwigs of the inchoate NDP are no better. Is it Michael Teye Nyaunu whose political life has reached a premature fatal end because of his own miscalculations? Or Kofi Adams who has lost face and his Deputy-General Secretaryship as a back-stabber? Or this Dr. Akwasi Ofei-Agyemang who is a nonentity in Ghanaian politics? Or those elements of FONKAR whose youthful exuberance has misled them into committing blunders?

At this point, it is clear that Nana Konadu’s cry for the NDC logo has subsided. But the machinations against the NDC haven’t. As we can see from the colours chosen by the NDP (black, green, red, and white), the stage has been set to lock horns. The Electoral Commission is reported to be studying the materials submitted to it by the NDP, and we hope it will detect the conflict in this color scheme, which is exactly what the NDC has.

Beyond this colour clash is also the possibility of a battle over the existing assets of the NDC all over the country (landed property and other paraphernalia), which the NDP elements will fight for in their bid to divest the NDC of its possessions and dent its public image. Once the NDP has identified the NDC as its enemy, we should expect it to go the whole hog in its demolition exercise. A party triggered by fatal personal ambitions and formed with one sole aim of vindictiveness will know no conscience in its operations. We expect the NDP to add more vitriol to the political situation.

Certainly, Ghanaian politics is full of nonsense. The NDP is a party born out of intolerance, enmity, rancour, bitterness, intolerance for dissension, morbid greed for power, machinations, and many other attributes that will emerge as the party develops. We will continue to monitor events and pass comments as and when fit. For now, I say, good riddance to the NDP and its sour grapes!

• E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

• Join me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjkbokor

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.