By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
E-mail: email@example.com June 28, 2011
The conduct and utterances of some political party activists are annoying. Some of those activists are patently undisciplined and have become notorious for either perpetrating violence or acting recklessly to give our politics a bad name. They have been noticeably wayward over the past two years, claiming to be NDC foot-soldiers who are embittered at not being compensated by the government despite all the efforts they made to put the NDC back in power. It is ironical that those creating problems for the government are its own party’s followers. They have set in motion what Ghana politics doesn’t need.
One such example has come from none other than a so-called Dr. Asemfoforo (Osei Yaw Nketia), someone best known for his scathing criticisms against former President Kufuor and his NPP government for which he either suffered mishap at one time or the other or won sympathy from the NDC for which he sought to be fighting. He has come to notice again but in a different guise.
He was reported by Joy Fm (citing his chat with Adom FM’s Kofi Adomah) to have condemned the NDC government for being ungrateful, claiming that he and the other foot-soldiers of the party had fought for the party— sometimes at the peril of their lives—when some ministers who now ride in expensive cars were nowhere. He noted that their sacrifices have never been recognized by the ruling party.
Thus, to punish the NDC as a demonstration of their anger, he and those foot-soldiers thinking like him have decided to campaign against the party and even mount NPP rally platform because they have been used and dumped and therefore feel insulted.
He was reported as saying that he has been quiet so far because of the respect he has for President Mills who, according to him, has a kind heart but the people around him and some ministers are to be blamed.
Then, Dr. Asemfoforo “vowed to campaign for the NPP because they will not be ungrateful like the NDC has been.”
Nothing irks me more than this statement. Vain threats coming from a misguided man! Is it only now that he feels slighted by the NDC government that he has seen the good part of the NPP as a party to be in bed with? The NPP may have its own brand of such characters to deal with. That’s the bane of Ghana politics. I condemn characters such as this Asemfoforo who have reduced national politics to a bread-and-butter affair. By their conduct, it appears that all they are doing is using politics as an avenue to make gains. They hop from one political party to the other, exerting themselves for the sole purpose of making gains. And when not satisfied with the situation, they cry themselves hoarse. This approach to politics breeds the corruption that we have all been complaining about but can’t weed off.
How do we expect our politics to improve if we entertain such characters who regard politics as a cheap means to acquire property just because they can invest their energies in bad-mouthing political opponents in the hope that by their actions and posturing, they will help their favourite party win the elections and be compensated as such?
Asemfoforo seems to have confirmed that situation. And if that is the motivation for all that they do, then, these characters are nothing but scum that should not be tolerated at all. We are all complaining that Ghanaian politics is still dirty and shouldn’t be surprised it is so because of characters of this sort who do all they can to exploit the system through their involvement in politics. These are the unconscionable characters who make themselves available to be used by the highest bidder to cause trouble.
I am tempted to conclude that this Asemfoforo and others like him consider themselves as “political mercenaries,” who do the dirty work for their paymasters by tearing apart political opponents. They are for hire, and know best how to undercut political opponents.
I remember very well this Asemfoforo who drew attention to himself by his haughty posture at one of the public forums addressed by Mr. Kufuor during which he made utterances to attract the venom of NPP followers. He is known for hopping from one radio station to the other, calling in to discussion programmes and condemning the former President and his government.
Then, when President Mills entered office, he seemed to have toned down on that haughtiness; but he wouldn’t remain in the dark alleys for long. Sometime last year, we read news reports that he was embittered for not being given any car as he had expected or for not being compensated for all that he had done to help the NDC win the 2008 elections.
This failure by the government to reward him for whatever he might have done to boost the NDC’s electoral chances has driven him insane. Thus, he has resorted to blackmailing the government, as we can infer from the tone of the news report about him, published today by Joy Fm.
Certainly, our politics will continue to be dirty for as long as such characters waver from one political persuasion to the other, depending on where the gravy train passes. These are the characters who make themselves available for use by shady characters to foment trouble. We don’t need them if all they are worth is the amount of mayhem they can visit on political opponents.
The NDC shouldn’t continue to harbour such characters. At least, the party’s leaders need to know that no party that draws its strength from thugs will thrive because they are likely to turn their venom on the party itself at the least prompting. That’s what we are beginning to see in this era of hooliganism by the so-called NDC foot-soldiers.
These activists have caused havoc all over the country but haven’t yet found any reason to behave properly. We may be content that there is no confrontation between followers of the NDC and NPP to cause political violence, but the misconduct of these so-called NDC foot-soldiers has created enough tension to bother us; and it is high time something was done to curb their hooliganism. There are those who are bent on looking for opportunities to condemn President Mills and his government at will; they are too annoying to gloss over. It appears that all those going around portraying the President and his government as “incompetent” or “ungrateful” have taken their mischief to a level that must be unpacked and condemned for what it is.
The government shouldn’t heed such vain threats. I encourage President Mills to stand firm and ward off such characters. If they think that the NDC government can’t do without them, they are deceiving themselves. Genuine supporters of the party will remain committed no matter what happens. It is only the free-loaders and mischievous ones like this Asemfoforo who will think that they are indispensable.
I suggest that the party’s leaders expel this Asemfoforo from the party to create a good impression that the party needs committed followers not those who “obey the wind” and become erratic or disaffected on account of their personal ambitions not being satisfied.
If participation in a political party’s affairs should be narrowed down to seeking instant self-gratification, then, we are doomed. Doing politics means helping one’s political party win elections to be able to implement its programmes to uplift living standards, which precludes the inordinate desire for personal gains at the expense of the system. Sadly, from what this Asemfoforo and others like him have begun portraying, it is clear that they think otherwise.
The government must not panic at such vain threats. If Ghanaians like what President Mills is doing, they will retain him in office whether a few noise-makers like this Asemfoforo like it or not. I want to suggest that the government should remain focused on its agenda and disregard such threats. All those individuals going about thumping their chests as people who singularly worked for the NDC’s victory and must, therefore, be recognized and compensated as such are taking their treachery too far. No single individual can claim to be the magnet that attracted the most votes for the NDC’s electoral victory. Putting the NDC back in office was a collective effort. Retaining it in office will also demand such a collective effort. That’s a fact to recognize. Anybody wishing to cash in on the situation is not a genuine activist and must be written off before he does any harm from within the party’s ranks.
The time has come for the political stables to be cleaned and the likes of this Asemfoforo kept at bay. They must not be allowed to muddy the water. Otherwise, they will continue to give Ghana politics a bad name. This Asemfoforo is a nuisance and must be treated with the contempt he deserves. The government must not choose the few out of the many citizens to satisfy. That’s not how to do national politics.