Why President Mahama is still poles ahead of Akufo-Addo (Part I)

Sat, 12 Dec 2015 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Folks, I am in my element to comment on something that has piqued my interest for long. It is all about the manner in which Akufo-Addo is (mis)handling the NPP and how President Mahama is doing things at the NDC front to prepare minds on voter sentiments and electoral decisions. I have noticed a huge difference that must be factored into public discourse on the calibre of leaders that our political parties should strive for if they want to remain vibrant and viable long after those leaders have left the scene. And why in our time, the NDC front under President Mahama remains stable and confident of victory at Election 2016, regardless of much public discontent at prevailing economic conditions in the country.

What we’ve seen thus far underscores the need for such an issue to be explored. I have settled on Akufo-Addo and President Mahama because they are the two horses gunning for the voters’ mandate at Election 2016. The leaders of the other political parties may simply be dismissed as busy-body underdogs. I don’t even think they qualify as match-makers because they have no constituency to influence voter sentiments and electoral decisions. It is a straight fight between the NDC (led by President Mahama) and the NPP (under the influence of Akufo-Addo). Whatever those mushroom parties have to offer will be split between the NDC and the NPP. Don’t underestimate the influence of “inducements” in Ghanaian politics.

So, why not raise some issues pertinent to the leadership style of President Mahama and Akufo-Addo to spice public discourse? Forget about anything personal at this stage because when it comes to the “personal”, President Mahama has more credit than Akufo-Addo can dream of. No need to explain anything. Otherwise, go to the electorate to find out why they rejected Akufo-Addo in the run-off at Election 2008 and why they gave President Mahama an outright victory over him at Election 2012. Their bull crap of petition hearing has even added more to his credibility problems that will add to others to hurt him all the more at Election 2016. Does he ever learn any lesson from his own self-created negative circumstances?

The differences between these two prominent citizens in doing party and government business is clear, and we must acknowledge them to help us take a good sneak peek into what they portend for Ghana. The going is tough for President Mahama, but he isn’t spent yet. He is still fighting hard (the “Gonja warrior” that he is) to put things together for Ghana’s good. I am confident that he will succeed because I know him for what he is. Let the Doubting Thomases and those undermining his integrity expend their energy and borrowed resources to indulge in political mischief. It will amount to nothing.

That is why I want to draw parallels between his attitude to internal party issues and those of the NPP’s Akufo-Addo. After all, it is the political party that provides the platform for the flagbearer to test the pulse of the electorate. And it is the political party that protects that flagbearer after winning the elections. Thus, as soon as a conflict emerges between the President and the party, disaster looms for the President. He will be the eventual loser if he doesn’t know how to play the cards.

The party is larger than him; and the party is made up of people from different ethnic, cultural, educational, social, economic, etc. backgrounds but bound together by a common political and ideological ideal to see themselves as one united family of people with common interests. Anything threatening this bond is a sure recipe for disaster. It is so for the NPP at this stage that a few like-minded people have banded together to give a raw deal to officials elected at the national delegates congress to administer the affairs of the arty with the sole aim of returning it to power.

No matter how unbecoming the activities of the elected officials could be, there should have been a better way to handle the problem than what has been done so far—suspending the National Chairman (Paul Afoko), the General Secretary (Kwabena Agyepong), and the Second National Vice Chairman (Sammy Crabbe)—and incurring the anger of their followers. Shouldn’t an astute politician leading such a party have found better ways to solve the problem than what we have been given to see now?

And what has been done to these elected officials can’t pass off without serious repercussions for the party, generally, There will surely be an uprising in the NPP, which won’t surprise me because the tool being used to suppress dissension is anachronistic. It is better to do fence-mending in a more civil and politically beneficial manner than this suspension mantra. I foresee a lot of trouble for this cabal. I wait to see the composition of Akufo-Addo’s campaign team for Election 2016; then, we will say more.

What happens next will not add value to Akufo-Addo’s kind of politicking. Instead, it will detract from his worth and push him toward the precipice. Folks, that is what we have so far been aiming at. But we have more to do in pairing up the NDC and NPP camps for Election 2016, especially in seeing how the temperament and political stratagems of their leaders will shape and shave the Fate of parties at the Presidential and Parliamentary levels.

We begin with President Mahama whose leadership style largely contrasts with that of Akufo-Addo who is at the flanks crying himself hoarse for no good reason than wishing to replace him to accomplish his childhood ambition of becoming Ghana’s President “at all costs” before paying his dues to Nature or just for the records. I have always said that Akufo-Addo can’t claim to be any better administrator than anybody with the responsibility to manage the affairs of state.

A so-called successful private legal practitioner he may be, but a successful politician he is not. His records as an MP (for 12 years, representing the Abuakwa South constituency) and a Minister of State (responsible for the Attorney-General’s Department and Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs) are known. Nothing to write home about. Thus, in seeking the highest office of the land, he has set himself up for scrutiny and juxtaposing against those who defeated him at previous polls and will do so again. The fault lies in him.

One might wonder why of all the aspirants, he is the one coming across as really desperate and bulldozing his way through the political terrain to the extent of tearing apart his own political camp just to give him the blank cheque that he needs to prosecute his agenda. He has already won a Pyrrhic victory against those in the NPP whose voices he should have listened to instead of spurning. But, of course, a dog that is determined to get lost never listens to its master’s whistle. And the master shouldn’t fret when it faces its sad fate. That is the context. We move on, then.

I shall return…

• E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

• Join me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjkbokor to continue the conversation.

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.