By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Monday, March 19, 2012
Ghanaian politics may be full of nonsense but nothing justifies the folly with which some functionaries of some political parties turn the dagger on their own parties, working feverishly to paint them black and praying hard that they will be rejected at the polls by the electorate. Such characters who are more eager to turn the electorate against their own parties than working for their good have become foolhardy of late.
They alone know why they have chosen that line of action to destroy their own parties. It is like occupants of a house bringing down the roof on themselves. Unless such characters are pathologically suicidal, they won’t do such a disastrous thing. Nothing but mischief warrants such a self-destructive.
Happenings in the NDC portray that picture clearly. Since the assumption of office, President Mills and his government functionaries have been the butt of open insults, castigation, ridicule, and outright aspersions from their own party activists. There have also been curses and wanton threats to work against their interests at Election 2012.
Such disparaging pronouncements have come from the highest founts of authority in the party (former President Rawlings and his wife) to the lowest ranks of the party’s foot-soldiers. Nothing seems to stop this spate.
To counteract the tongue-lashing from those “detractors,” some in government (especially Koku Anyidoho, the President’s Communications Director) have been doing overtime, shifting quickly from one gear to the other, returning the insults and threats with as much venom, vigour, and violence as they can muster up.
The darts flow from one end to the other and have only one target, which is the NDC itself. And the purpose? To undermine the party or deepen the government’s credibility woes? It seems that objective is being doggedly pursued, which gives the government an uphill task in appealing to the electorate for a renewal of its mandate.
The daily public posturing and negative utterances by these elements persuade me that they know what they are doing and why they won’t relent.
But beneath it all is the puzzle: Why will these NDC functionaries intentionally set out to undermine their own party/government’s integrity and render it unattractive to the electorate? Why will they work for the party’s doom in defence of their own personal quests?
Or are they just doing so to spite President Mills—as Sekou Nkrumah would have us believe? He has made it clear that he is hurting the government for President Mills to lose the elections so that he will return to the fold of the NDC to help rebuild the party thereafter. Nothing can be more mind-boggling than this stance. But that seems to be the order of the day.
The arrest of Ernest Owusu Bempah, Director of Operations of the group calling itself Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings (FONKAR) and the activities of all those aligned to the NDC spreading damaging lies about the government show the dizzying heights to which the politically suicidal mission has been taken.
It also accentuates the paralyzing immaturity and near insanity with which these disgruntled segments of the NDC’s followers do politics. It is not a matter of treachery any more but that of untold stupidity. Do they not know that an electoral defeat for the NDC will be their loss too? Or are they doing so because they have a plan “B” up their sleeves, which is to defect to the party that wins the elections?
Above all, this self-destructive politicking exposes their mindlessness. It tells me that they don’t know how to do politics to make the NDC viable beyond the Rawlings factor. For, if they knew the obvious outcome of their destabilizing politics, they would recant and instead do what will help the government claw back public goodwill for the electorate to renew its mandate at Election 2012.
I am certain that those in the forefront undermining the government and exposing its underbelly to incessant attack by its opponents are either not well-cut-out for what Ghanaian politics entails or that they are just not committed to what they have taken upon themselves to do in the party.
At a time that even those who left the party (the National Reform Party and the Democratic Freedom Party, especially) are returning to their roots in the NDC, what will be the motivation for these self-destructive followers to continue tearing the party apart?
The turf war ravaging the party—which is accentuated by a dog-bite-dog attitude—is based on nothing but a needless pursuit of petty personal quests. This turf war has its roots in the uncompromising attitude of some in the party who think that they are the prime movers without whose presence or manouevres the party can’t stand on its feet.
Let’s identify some of those elements to say that their hardline position has been largely responsible for the deepening of the cracks that are now evidently the party’s worst woes and the apprehensions of an implosion.
The two main factions, namely, the pro-Rawlings camp and the pro-Mills faction are busily lashing at each other as if that is what they are in the party to do. It’s a complete waste of time and energy, particularly on the part of those rooting for Rawlings, knowing very well that the doors to the Presidency are firmly shut to him. Why support him and his wife’s bid to clamp their influences on the party as if Ghanaians will be foolish enough to welcome them back into office?
So, in the circumstance, isn’t it more prudent for all to rally round the President, the government, and a united party to win a second term while fighting hard to resolve perceived or imaginary problems prompting the wrangling? Now, the hardline positions are unshakeable to the disadvantage of the party. Some of those internal detractors are even vowing to continue opposing President Mills.
Factors that catalyzed this factionalism can be traced to broader level issues that will boil down to nothing but misplaced self-confidence and the morbid desire for control of the party machinery and its government, especially by Rawlings. Don’t tell me that it’s all about the shortcomings of the Mills government. That’s just a mere smokescreen for those undermining the President.
Every observant follower of the internal crisis affecting the NDC can tell how Rawlings sought to set President Mills up for a hidden political game that has now backfired and set both on edge. President Mills has certainly outgrown the “poodle” tag, which is central to the hostility.
By choosing then Professor Mills as his Running Mate for the 1996 general elections and virtually anointing him as his successor on the strength of the Swedru Declaration, Rawlings seemed to have positioned himself to tap into the opportunities that a Mills Presidency might provide for him to reassert his influence on Ghanaian politics—an undeniable attempt at exerting control (disguised as an advisory role) over a future NDC government. Of course, it was a subtle manouevre to continue calling the shots through the backdoor. He wanted to circumvent the constitutional constraint against a third term for him.
Those of us who read deeper meanings into the zeal with which Rawlings was propping up then Vice President Mills couldn’t miss the import. We knew that he was using those manouevres to feather a nest at the Presidency to settle in should Mills win the general elections held in 2000, 2004, and 2008.
Although debarred from extending his rule beyond the allowable two terms, he hasn’t lost his appetite for power and sought to use the auspices of a Mills-led administration to return to the limelight. It was a cunning effort to cushion himself. But, alas, things didn’t work out well for him, which set off the alarm bells for him. And he hasn’t been able to recover from this rude awakening ever since!
Let’s rewind the developments to the National Congress of the NDC in Sunyani on July 10, 2011. We can’t miss the tension that characterized the vote-seeking efforts of Nana Konadu and President Mills and how the outcome virtually tore the party apart.
Nana Konadu’s insidiousness is a major part of the problem too. That the FONKAR is still functioning despite the public announcement by Dela Coffie and others disbanding it is enough to confirm that the vitriol and implacable anger that got aroused in Nana Konadu following her humiliating defeat is still simmering. Her comments at the University of Ghana, Legon, last Saturday confirm her viciousness.
Despite her rejection by the majority of the party’s followers, she is still moving about disparaging President Mills. Desperately kicking hard like a dying donkey, she thinks that if she won’t be obeyed, then, the party must suffer the adverse consequences. That she is still in cahoots with remnants of FONKAR still upholding her as their idol speaks volumes; but it is all a vigorous exercise in futility.
These elements flaunting their NDC garb but working from within to torpedo the party’s interests are the pitiable. With one hand, they are working for the NDC only to use the other hand to undo the very things that they might have done. What sort of dangerous contradiction is this?
But that’s not the main issue. We are talking about the repercussions of the NDC’s losing the elections. How will all those deepening the party’s woes feel? Vindicated that President Mills is failure? Or satisfied that with him no more at the helm of affairs they will get the chance to rebuild the party? To what end, anyway?
The bitter truth is too glaring for them to miss: an electoral defeat for the NDC will not do them any good. Instead, it will make them targets to be attacked by those who have all kinds of grudges against them. And there are many such people who have been at the receiving end in the tenure of the two NDC governments (that of Rawlings and Mills).
Can’t these NDC functionaries see things beyond their noses? Or have they already conditioned themselves for the vagaries of the political situation in a new order? I hope so.
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