In a report entitled ‘NPP hard-working MPs must be retained’ carried on page-12 of the Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper, Mr. George Ayisi Boateng, a founding member of the NPP party, called for the retention of some of the MPs, who might have distinguished themselves during their tenure at the august house.
And Mr. Ayisi Boateng’s reason for making this suggestion is that this will ensure consistency of performance in the legislative house, and also, to ensure the party contributes effectively to the democratic development of the country.
The case of Abraham Osei-Aidoo, a former majority leader and MP for Tema West, was used as an example of a performing MP who unfortunately had to lose his bid to represent his constituents in 2008.
But the point is; who are we to begrudge people of any constituency if they choose to change a ‘super-performing’ MP through a free-and-fair parliamentary primary? Mr. Ayisi-Boateng went ahead to mention some of the MPs who, in his estimation, have distinguished themselves in the august house and must therefore be maintained.
Indeed, Mr. Ayisi Boating, as an elder of the party, reserve the right to comment on issues of the NPP.However, in my opinion, this idea of the party hierarchy being tasked to come out with a modality to retain some particular MPs will definitely be counter productive and highly detrimental to the chances of the party winning the 2012 general elections.
This is because,eventhough the core duty of a parliamentarian is to enact laws and scrutinize other monetary transactions the state enters into, the majority of constituents often do not take this into consideration when selecting people to represent them in the house.
What actually informs people’s decisions at the constituency level when it comes to the performance of their MPs is how accessible and affable they see both their sitting and prospective MPs.After all, what percentage of these constituents actually follow proceedings at the house of parliament to be able to know how many of their representatives are good at rattling the Queen’s language?
Again, if the party decides to close the doors on some prospective parliamentary aspirants by keeping some particular MPs because they have performed creditably, how then would we be able to know when some of these other prospective aspirants could perform much better when given the chance?
How would the party manage a situation where it wants to maintain a particular MP because he/she has performed, but in the thinking of majority of the constituents, this person has to be changed? Such occurrences will definately present the party with enormous challenges during primaries which I think must be avoided.
The party, as an institution, must wake up to the reality that the power to select a person to the house of parliament rests, primarily, with the people within the precincts of the said constituency, but, not some group of people sitting at the party headquarters in Accra.
This fundamental principle was largely overlooked in 2007, resulting in some aspirants contesting as independent candidates and actually winning. And where these independent candidates failed to win, they ended up splitting the NPP votes and paved way for the NDC candidates to slip through.
On the other hand, if the party for reason of ensuring that its best performing sitting MPs were kept in the house, the process must be exhaustively explained to, and openly discussed with, respective constituents in order to avoid the incidents of rampant chaos that characterized these processes in 2007.Such a critical decision with the potential of bringing disunity in a peaceful constituency must never be the preserve of some party gurus, who might already be ‘tainted’ with some perceived biases in the eyes of some of these party supporters.
If the NPP is really keen on capturing power from the NDC in 2012, then some of these fundamental mistakes made in the past, must, as a matter of urgency, be avoided. This is because, the 2012 election is certainly going to be much difficult for the NPP than that of 2008 since the NDC,as usual, will be employing all the tricks in their thievery arsenal.
But as usual, with 2-years more to the next elections, the NPP has once again come under this unfortunate ‘agbenaa’ illusion and has therefore started propounding all kinds of potentially destructive volcanic theories.
The NDC, after Nana Addo’s emphatic win in the flagbearership race towards 2012, have started their stupid allegations against him and these over 98 NPP-MPs who supported Nana’s bid for the flagbearership contest are nowhere to be found? Even in the case of STX, it had to take the perseverance of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko (the STX lone ranger) to actually bring the issue into the public domain even-though the NPP party has over 100 MPs in parliament where the issue was actually being discussed.
Today, some NPP gurus, including MPs, are bold enough to moan about the likes of Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Tony Aiddo, Kwesi Pratt and so on, for lying to bring the NDC into power. And my worry with such grumble is; were the mouths of the communicators of the NPP sealed at the time?
I very well remember how supporters of the various aspiring flag-bearers were quick to jump to the defense of their candidates, in months preceding the party’s national delegates’ congress. These supporters were extremely vociferous in promoting the ideals of their candidates which I thought was quiet remarkable. But what NPP, as an entity, always seems to lack is the ability to transform this very same intra-party exuberance into inter-party ‘aggression’. Rather sadly, the party always display extreme act of cowardice when it comes to matching the NDC on the field of real action.
A good example of this argument I am making was when we were in power but sat aloof for NDC riff-raffs to besiege the whole environs of Electoral Commission, brandishing all sorts of murder weapons threatening to plunge the whole nation into civil war.
But believe you me, if that election had been an NPP intra-party affair and the siege had been laid by Alan loyalists, for example; there would have been a swift counter-action by Nana’s loyalists and the vice-versa.
Indeed, until the party and its hierarchy learn to shed this cloak of unwarranted and self-inflicting controversies like imposition of so-called good performing MPs and rather learn to expend these intra-party energies on dealing with the vile propaganda by the NDC, there will be absolutely no chance of unseating them in 2012 whether they (NDC) are able to perform or not!!!
There is this popular Fante adage that says, ‘asem mmpe nyinpa, nyipa na ope asem’, to wit, trouble never come upon people by its self, it is people who rather go about chasing for trouble. This idea of maintaining some particular MPs and allowing them to contest the 2012 elections un-opposed was raised at the party’s conference when those amendments were made to the party’s constitution. And because the rank and file found it not to be tenable, it was unanimously shot down and we all thought the issue was dead and buried.
So, for someone who is a founding member and therefore must be in-tune with the popular feeling within the party to go and resurrect such a trouble-some matter that was peacefully resting somewhere is an act which I really find extremely impossible to comprehend.
The party has, overwhelmingly, given Nana Ado Dankwa Akuffo Addo the mandate to lead them into the battle of 2012 against a group of electoral-buglers who have been ‘kind’ enough to make it known to the good people of this nation, through one of their adult delinquents, Nii Lantey Vanderpuije that they are going to “win by hook or crook”.
And with such revelation, I guess the right thing for the NPP hierarchy to do is to rather map out a strategy to be able to counter whatever rigging machine and vile propaganda the NDC is likely to deploy, before and during the elections. This is what will put the NPP in a good stead to recapture power rather than this dissipation of useful intra-party energies on a potentially explosive venture of fashioning out a convention to either ‘depose’ or maintain some particular MPs.
This idea of maintaining the so-called performing MPs is a mine-field that has the potential of exploding and blowing into shreds, all the hopes of the NPP in 2012 and must therefore be shelved with alacrity.
Finally, I would like the entire great Osono family to be mindful of the fact that without a well-united front, they must never, ever, dream of getting anywhere close to even the gates of the presidency, let alone, within its walls, come January, 2013.
A word to the wise, as my 2-year old niece will always tell you; “is in the north”.
Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei
E-mail: justnoff@yahoo. com