By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015
Folks, who will claim not to know Koku Anyidoho for all that he is? After losing grounds at the demise of President Mills when the Communications Directorate at the Presidency was disbanded, he has recycled himself and is now the NDC’s Deputy General Secretary, a position that he thinks has shot him back into the limelight. And he is using that position to make utterances that easily expose him. I don’t like how he does politics.
The latest pronouncement from him is that “NPP under Akufo-Addo is dead and buried”. He is reported to have “written off the existence of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from mainstream politics due to the deep-seated factionalism currently pervading in the largest opposition party”. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/NPP-under-Akufo-Addo-is-dead-and-buried-Koku-Anyidoho-381547).
Not so, Koku!! The NPP is being torn apart by internal crisis but it is still alive and kicking. Writing it off smacks of political immaturity, lazy thinking, and rashness. Claiming that it can’t win Election 2016 may be acceptable for purposes of debate; but dismissing it as dead and buried is inconceivable.
This kind of narrow-focused and sterile politics won’t brighten the NDC’s corner nor will it damage the NPP for the NDC’s good. At best, it will infuriate undecided voters and translate into antipathy toward the NDC. It is the kind of politicking that doesn’t motivate anybody and should be curtailed before it assumes uglier dimensions.
At this time, it is better for the NDC’s leaders to hit hard at concrete issues pertaining to the government’s accomplishments and explain to the people why it has failed in some areas. Messages revealing the reality of governance to the people stand a better chance of winning their hearts than those merely aimed at vilification. The people already know what is happening in the NPP and why its flagbearer is unable to mend fences, indicating that he lacks the administrative acumen needed to put his own house in order and raising very big question marks about his political maturity. Can Akufo-Addo, then, handle the affairs of state?
Such a bald issue needs no further expatiation as evidence emanating from the NPP’s camp day-in-day-out proves that there is a lot happening there to dampen spirits. Well-informed voters won’t go for that party, at least, given the tattering going on therein.
These internal problems facing the NPP notwithstanding, the truth stands tall that the party is still a force to be reckoned with. We recall that in the 2008 elections, Akufo-Addo won with 49% but lost to ex-President Mills in the run-off just because he wasn’t considered a better quality material. Many other factors contributed to his thrashing.
At Election 2012, President Mahama defeated Akufo-Addo outright, clearly because he connected better with the voters although Akufo-Addo had taken a head-start in campaigning, clearly two years before the polls. The fault is in his own nature, which explains why his useless petition was thrown out by the Supreme Court.
For Election 2016, Akufo-Addo has already begun campaigning, using the same strategies and coming across again as monomaniacal. His constant hammering on President Mahama’s incompetence is boring and flat. He hasn’t given anything new to prove that he knows how to solve the country’s problems in a better manner than the incumbent has been doing. All he is doing is whipping up sentiments and carrying along with him the very baggage that caused his doom at the previous polls. He hasn’t so far given us any new window through which to view him as a better quality material.
Interestingly, he has abandoned his prime policy intention of “free senior high school education” and is expending energy and resources ploughing the entire field only to end up harvesting nothing. Such is the situation, which is obvious to all those monitoring the political scene.
Unfortunately for Akufo-Addo, his plate of troubles is full and threatening to overflow, apparently because of the internal crisis in his party. The tearing apart is too much. As is already clear, both Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong are not in Akufo-Addo’s good reckoning. Calculated efforts aimed at unseating them are generating more trouble; and if t6his situation persists into early 2016, there will be no doubt that Akufo-Addo’s loss at Election 2016 will be caused by his own inadequacies as a flagbearer of a divided house. Voters will be alarmed and his own party’s followers apprehensive of the situation will either become apathetic or even vote against him. Floating voters will also turn away.
The seed for such gloom has already been sown, has germinated, and is being eagerly nurtured by those supporting Akufo-Addo and goring his so-called opponents out of contention. The implosion will likely come about if Afoko and Agyepong are surreptitiously removed from office as is being spearheaded by the party’s Council of Elders.
But it doesn’t provide any ground for anybody to conclude that the NPP is “dead and buried”. The party is still alive and kicking, even if it lacks the magnetic pull that internal unity signifies. It hasn’t yet held any political rally for us to know how attendance can point to its strength on the ground; but we can tell from goings-on that it still has traction. That is why unguarded utterances by its opponents, especially those in the NDC, which create deceptive impressions should be discouraged.
The truth is that at Election 2012, both President Mahama and Akufo-Addo had over 5 million votes each, meaning that Akufo-Addo can’t just be written away as a perpetual underdog. Added to that is the fact that since then, a lot has happened that will influence voters’ minds, attitudes, and electoral decisions at Election 2016. Prominent among them are the challenges facing the Mahama-led administration, especially the notorious “Dumsor” that has had a huge negative impact on national life. Do we not think that those adversely affected by this energy crisis will not be easily persuaded to retain the incumbent in office? Or that the worsening cost of living vis-à-vis the high cost of utility services won’t win support for the government?
Additionally, the government’s own acts of commission or omission have created fertile grounds for animosity toward it. Talk about the happenings at the labour front and the withdrawal of allowances for nurse and teacher trainees, demolition of people’s houses and displacement of hawkers, and many others and you should see the problems that face the government in its political mobilization drive.
These are the constituencies that the NPP is busily reaching out to and creating conditions to exploit. What is the NDC’s approach toward calming nerves and clawing back support from there? How about the internal problems facing the NDC itself, considering the never-ending hooliganism by its members claiming that the government hasn’t fulfilled its promise of creating jobs for them? How about disaffection in the party’s own ranks, which can threaten its electoral fortunes? How will the party attract floating voters?
Of course, Ghanaian politics is peculiarly full of nonsense, clearly because factors that determine electoral victory go beyond such realities. With good strategies and effective outreach, the government may turn things around to advantage.
Within this context, it is obvious that any NDC official who focuses on flogging a dead horse will miss the mark. That is why Koku Anyidoho and those still clinging on to the name-calling strategies need to re-think. Of course, having led the pack of “evil dwarfs” and “babies with sharp teeth” (as characterized by former President Rawlings), it may be difficult for them to do otherwise; but they had better do so if they want to move the NDC forward. Times have changed between 2012 and now—and will continue to do so before Election 2016.
The need for better messages to the electorate is pronounced and those leading the NDC’s campaign efforts must do better than they’ve demonstrated so far. As Koku Anyidoho continues to focus on irrelevant issues, he threatens to kill interest in the party. He comes across as the NPP’s Akufo-Addo as both are bound together by one common trait: by their public posturing and utterances, they prove that they haven’t learnt anything new with which to do productive politics. No one will be persuaded by them because their kind of politics won’t brighten the corner where the people are.
I shall return…
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