Aug 24


Why Is The NPP Shooting Itself In The Foot?

Daily Guide August 23, 2014

Cameron Doudu

Few governments pay attention to what the opposition says.

For instance, what has the Ghana opposition – both in Parliament and outside – not said about GYEEDA’s stolen millions? Or the guinea fowls that SADA sent into exile in Burkina Faso?  To say nothing of the contracts awarded to some organisations to collect revenue for the state, but which fetched the alleged revenue collectors millions of cedis upfront before any work had actually been done?

If  an opposition sees such things and rails against them and the only answer it gets is silence – because the government’s motto is Yenntie obiara! (we won’t listen to anyone!)– its members can become quite frustrated. Inside political parties, too, office-seekers who are constantly snubbed by their own party can end up being frustrated.

Now, frustration is a dangerous situation for human beings to be placed in. It can make them destructive.

I classify the verbal attacks made against Nana Akufo-Addo over the appearance of thugs at the NPP headquarters in Accra to disrupt some of the activities of the party’s General Secretary, as a symptom of self-destructive frustration. Asked what evidence he had for making such a charge against Nana Addo, one of Nana Addo’s critics was reported to have said that he had no evidence but was depending on his “common sense” in coming to the conclusion that Nana Addo was to blame.

I found this argument to be quite rich! For not very long ago, the Ghanaian media were full of accusations, some of them gleefully presented, claiming that this very  individual who said he depended on “common sense” in accusing Nana Addo of organising  thuggery, had got himself into trouble abroad.

The guy went back to his base to try to use evidence, not “common sense”, to exculpate himself. Yet when it came to Nana Addo’s case, he eschewed evidence in favour of  what called “common sense”! What could bring about such an illogical situation in the mind of an educated person but the bitterness borne out of frustration?

For let me ask this: of what use would organising thugs to disrupt the press conference of the General Secretary be to Nana Addo? Would that stop a headstrong guy like the General Secretary from pursuing whatever agenda he has embarked upon with others, openly to scuttle Nana Addo’s chances of winning once more, the nomination to be the NPP’s flag-bearer?

Is the use of thuggery not too obvious a tactic – and a self-defeating one at that, since two can play at that game – to be resorted to by a renowned lawyer like Nana Addo,  who has been his country’s Attorney-General, to use to try and squelch a recalcitrant official within his own party? What about getting the other members of the executive to repudiate or nullify  the General Secretary’s autocratic methods? Or does Nana Addo not know, after so many years of organising his party to support his bid for the presidency, exactly how to show the door – politely – to someone who refuses to play by the rules of party organisation?

The general membership of the NPP should realise that democracy is a difficult system to respect and cherish. It depends on persuasion, which is the exact opposite of how some people in Ghana want to do things. Their method is called patapaa, which means imposing one’s will on others. It is easier than persuasion, for whereas with persuasion, the onerous task is to walk and talk, walk and talk, sometimes during the night, patapaa resorts to  fiats: “Hey! I say this! And you all must obey!”

Now, political parties do exist which are organized on the lines of patapaa. Such parties are usually described as fascist, not democratic.

The NPP has, so far, shown no signs of being a fascist party, and I am sure it will resist any attempts to introduce fascism into the party. But in order to do so, it must exercise the utmost vigilance.

For it is fascistic, or at any rate autocratic, for an individual office-holder, in alliance with others,  to take decisions that are of such consequence that they ought to be the province of the party’s executive committee as a whole.

At the very least, important decisions, even if they are within the ambit of office–holders, must be taken in consultation with the executive committee.

What all NPP “leaders” who are tempted to “show where power lies” ought to know is that the NPP is not the only party in which there are factions. In the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, for instance, Margaret Thatcher was so angry with those  those who opposed her ultra-right-wing policies that she insulted them by calling them   “wets”.

In the UK Labour Party too,  fierce struggles have regularly occurred between the would-be Conservative, the left-wing and the ultra-left!

Yet, at election time, the factions within the parties come together and rally round their parties’ manifestos, in order to get their party elected. In other words, they submerge their differences for the greater good of their parties. Even when get into power, they try to form “coalition cabinets” which take note of the various “interests” in the party,  so as not to allow their ideological differences to wreck their governments’ chances of achieving success in office, and being re-elected

The duty of the executive committee of the NPP is clear: bring discipline into the party NOW and thereby restore unity, or perish the thought of winning the 2016 election and coming to power. Please take a look at the sad state of Ghana’s economy today, and ask yourselves whether it is not foolish and self-indulgent to engage in petty internecine squabbles that strengthen those that are throttling your country’s economy?Are  you really  so naive that you do not know that the NDC can make use  of   your  superficial attempts to achieve personal vain-glory to    infiltrate your ranks and wreck your chances of achieving power?

When your country is gasping desperately for breath, as it is being so suffocated in rivers of economic incompetence that it is seeking to place its neck in the IMF noose, is that the time to be exhibiting arrogance and egotistical pig-headedness?

Sure, no one can prevent you guys from shooting yourselves in the foot. But please, if you do that with your eyes open, don’t expect your country to show you any sympathy whatsoever.


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