By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Folks, the rampaging going on in the NPP won’t end anytime soon because it has a deep-seated genesis, fuelled by many factors at the emergence of the NPP from the ashes of the Danquah-Busia Club, and nurtured by the political philosophy woven around the Asante/Akyem/Brong-Ahafo origins of its Godfathers (J.B. Danquah and K.A. Busia).
That political philosophy revolved around the two personalities until adroit means were found by their latter-day adherents to add a “Dombo” afterthought to it in a vain attempt to entice our compatriots of Northern Ghana extraction who might bite the bait to create the impression that they are an integral part of the “Kabonga” NPP. Of course, S.D. Dombo did his best to advance the cause of the United Party but hasn’t been given as much prominence as the Akyem Danquah and Brong-Ahafo Busia.
Interestingly enough, political developments in parts of the Brong-Ahafo Region (especially Wenchi) of late prove that support for Busia is fast declining. We can’t say that the name “Dombo” has in any way added any political capital to the NPP either. That of Danquah is only being sustained because of the emergence of Akufo-Addo; but even then, that has turned out to be a mere political fluff. Thus, exploiting the names behind the “Danquah-Busia-Dombo” political philosophy in itself is valueless. Unfortunately, the main players in the NPP’s political game don’t see it.
They are fast tearing their party apart and creating the impression that they are a national security threat and not characters to be relied on to take over from the NDC administration. From what has happened so far—and will continue to happen and expose them as opportunists—I believe strongly that Ghanaians will not want to jump from the frying pan right into the searing fire that the NPP constitutes.
That is why the ongoing internal crisis has attracted much concern from the party’s own front and outside it. No one really knows how this crisis can be resolved; but many know that the crisis will deepen, especially as the trading of accusations and physical confrontations intensifies.
Against this background, Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh (someone who hasn’t openly declared his membership of the NPP but whom some of us have known as a pure NPP buff—based on his own writings and public utterances at forums outside the mainline political domain) has given some “unsolicited” pieces of advice on how to resolve the NPP crisis. In doing so, he has done more than he set out to do by exposing all the more the underbelly of the NPP. A careful analysis of his “unsolicited” advice and the background against which he gave that advice paints a sordid picture of the NPP, which should alert Ghanaians whenever they assess issues and make political/electoral decisions.
For the records, some salient aspects of Prof. Prempeh’s observation include:
- The current turmoil in the party is nothing short of an existential threat. This is not your normal internal wrangling that happens, from time to time, in every political party.
- This is a party in mortal danger… the current factionalism in the party, which has been allowed recklessly to simmer and fester for far too long, has finally reached breaking point.
- The party will have to take another look at its corporate governance structures and arrangements and make appropriate changes
- This crisis is not just an NPP problem. It is a national crisis, because the very health of Ghana’s democracy is at stake. A strong and effective opposition party, one that takes seriously its job of keeping an eye on government and is itself capable of replacing the governing party at the polls, offers the only credible prospect of “checks and balances” in our already poorly-balanced, winner-takes-all political system.
- We cannot afford to have a mortally fractured opposition and, for that matter, de facto one-party rule. We have come too far along this as-yet unfinished journey to reverse course and start all over again. (See more at: http://www.myjoyonline.com/opinion/2015/May-28th/prof-h-kwasi-prempeh-my-unsolicited-advice-to-the-npp.php#sthash.wOyiV0LZ.dpuf)
Thanks to Prof. Prempeh for dissecting the NPP for us. We appreciate his insights and admit that his dissection has truly revealed to us what the NPP constitutes: a direct threat to Ghana’s democracy at this stage. His take on factionalism in the party and the fact that instead of using political means to resolve it, the various elements fuelling it are using “legalism” and “constitutionalism” says it all. The NPP is a “book-long” party that cherishes “raw interrectualism” and is enhanced by how much elitism its leaders display wherever they are. To such “interrectuals”, using legalism and quoting copiously from constitutions should be the trump-card to play.
Indeed, we can tell from the quick reference to their background as lawyers, especially, to conclude that they can’t function in their party without falling back on their profession of “legalism” and “constitutionalism”. That is why Prof. Prempeh’s advice to them to use the political means to resolve the crisis won’t be heeded. Once they have become fixated on “legalism” and “constitutionalism”, so be it for them. Nothing else will make sense to them; and the more they resort to such sterile means, the more they deepen the crisis.
And Prof. Prempeh bared it all too: “With honest brokers in short supply, it would be best if party insiders and rank and file did not worsen matters by continuing to give life to this internecine feud.” Honest brokers are in short supply because the party has not had any “broker” all these years. One may be tempted to consider the Council of Elders as such brokers; but judging from the manner in which they jumped on Afoko and Agyepong to push them aside (even without unanimity in their own ranks), one can simply conclude that they are jokers and jerks, not brokers of peace.
Former President Kufuor can’t solve this problem either because he is not trusted by the Akufo-Addo camp. Mere public posturing and half-hearted attempts to exchange pleasantries in public, backed by claims of being cordial to each other, won’t change the situation. Indeed, Kufuor appears to the Akufo-Addo camp as a backer of the faction now baring its teeth fully to intensify the factionalism and plain hooliganism in the NPP camp. Who else can be seen as a broker? The loud-mouthed pastors toeing the NPP’s line (Owusu-Bempah and Co. on my mind)? Or the chiefs vowing to ditch the NDC? Who else? The Lord himself whom they claim is fighting their battle for them, even though they are looking over their shoulders to complain of and fear “spiritual bombs” being thrown at them by their political opponents (Otiko Djaba, are you there)?
All levels of the NPP are controlled by those who use brawn and not brains to resolve crisis. That is why the show of force continues to the extent that a so-called militant wing (private security setup) of the party (called “Invincible Forces”) is acting physically to keep Afoko and Agyepong under constant threat. They can’t go to the party’s national headquarters. Akufo-Addo was there to see things for himself and be reassured that the orchestrations that he has put in place to hound Afoko and Agyepong out of office are yielding “positive” results for him to be assured of having things done his way in the party.
Akufo-Addo isn’t a broker but a misguided and calculating troublemaker. Otherwise, what has he done to reach out to the embattled Afoko and Agyepong? As the flagbearer, he has long been expected to lead efforts at resolving the crisis. After all, resolving the crisis will create cordiality among those tasked with the responsibility to mobilize support for him. The onus lies on him more than it does anybody else. But because of his own bellicose and intransigent nature, he has chosen to hide behind empty and mischievous political rhetoric to deny his role in the impasse while stoking it in honesty and zeal. Such a character can’t succeed in his endeavours.
The NPP stands to suffer more, especially now that the Prudential Bank has revealed the transaction involving 2.2 million Cedis for the 2012 elections and is threatening to take away the party’s national headquarters, which was used as the collateral security by Ken Ofori-Atta. How could an individual transact such a business on behalf of a political party? Very dangerous people in this NPP not to be entrusted with Ghana’s destiny. Prof. Prempeh has given us a new angle from which to continue discussing the rumpus in the NPP and we will use it to do so. Thanks to him and others thinking like him.
I shall return…
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