Sep 282014

kwabena agyepongThe National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is clearly in a bind, but is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) a viable alternative? Recent happenings in the run up to the party’s primaries seriously challenge this assertion! The center of the party is not holding.

With a rapidly depreciating cedi, indecisive fiscal policies from the Bank of Ghana, public sector wages pegged at a crippling 60% of stagnating national revenue, strongly perceived less than zero tolerance for political and public sector corruption, one would have expected the NPP to be spitting out grand and cogent policy alternatives and programs. In an ideal world, there would be absolute harmony within the party’s National Executive who would in turn command the full and total respect of the rank of file.

Economic matters

When we have sobbed, the NPP has bawled alongside rather than comfort us. When the government of the day proposed a National Economic Dialogue, rather than attend to put forth superior alternatives, the party boycotted. When news first emerged that government was contemplating approaching the International Monetary Fund, the NPP screamed loudest. Assuming that reverting to the IMF represented the ultimate sin, what is the NPP’s alternative? None that I have heard of!

Recently the party’s 2012 Presidential candidate slammed the NDC government for the rising daily cost of living notwithstanding “low income and salaries of ordinary Ghanaians.” Presumably therefore, an Akufo Addo Presidency will increase incomes and salaries of ordinary Ghanaians. As alluring as this prospect sounds, it is worth pausing and reflecting whether it is not this same kind of talk that has landed us in this economic quagmire to begin with. Experts have called the current 60% of stagnating national revenue an obvious recipe for disaster. ECOWAS has recommended a 35% proportion as a more reasonable figure. This being the case, the good people must determine for themselves whether the semblance of a policy alternate represents a viable solution or a perverse resort to business- as-usual with no remarkable outcomes?

Root causes

But all this is forgivable if the current vehicle for delivering the Presidential candidate were not so flawed and totally distracted from our economic realities. What is the problem with the General Secretary asking the Director of Communications to take his four year accumulated leave? Has he returned from the leave and been denied a place at the secretariat? Why should this constitute such a magnificent infraction, ultimately leading to cutlass-wielding thugs disrupting a press conference being addressed by the Chairman and General Secretary? In any case, why was the press conference addressed by only two national executives with absent colleagues either calling the party chair a “liar” or claiming not to know about its occurrence? Surely, there must be deeper root causes, linked somewhat to the tantalizing smell of party and national political power. If only winning the party slot was sufficient passage to the Flagstaff House. If only …

But whatever these root causes are, they have surely prevented and are still preventing the NPP from putting forth credible alternatives to our power, joblessness, fuel shortages, multiple industrial unrests, Ebola, Cholera concerns. The past two weeks have been hogged by the leading opposition party to disseminate the following information.

A current Member of Parliament has accused a colleague Member of Parliament and a former Chief of Staff and two unnamed party members of plotting to poison the 2012 Presidential candidate of the Party. In return, the accuser has been accused of suffering mental ill health and in dire need of psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Further, he has been advised to know his level in the party. The party apparently has levels and one’s level should apparently determine where and how one plays! This matter of levels within the party is not to be taken lightly, not when this same ‘accuser’ Member of Parliament has promised to show the party Chairman and General Secretary their “true sizes”! In addition, this honorable Member of Parliament has punched even lower, calling the former Chief of Staff in President Kufuor’s government a drunk … asking, “Who was he until I recommended him to President Kufuor? He was a drunk who had nothing.”

Tag of violence

It is obvious. The NPP has not yet appreciated the role that the tag of violence per its 2012 “All die be die” war cry played in its electoral defeat. If it did, extra measures would have been taken to preempt the violence that cut short the press conference. Even greater measures would have been taken to pomp civility into the declarations of a man whose communications have become tied to the party. Across the media landscape, Kofi Dokyi Ampaw was described on the violence—tinged day as “a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)”.

What did this Kofi Dokyi Ampaw, visible member of the NPP, say in the wake of the press conference disrupted by men wielding dangerous machetes and knives? Firstly, he ‘attributed the incident to the accumulated frustration of NPP faithful.’ “You see there is a very deep seated anger boiling amongst them and that anger I’m telling you that the full venom of it is going to be seen in 2016.”

In other words, the machetes and knives are just child’s play compared to what NPP supporters will unleash on Ghana in 2016 should they somehow come to the conclusion that things are unfavorable to their electoral fortunes. So come 2016, if the NPP’s political opponents successfully turn the campaign into a battle between the violent and the non-violent, who will you blame? If in 2016, Ghanaians are presented with an NDC government presiding over a peaceful nation with soaring inflation and fiery eyed power- hungry NPP supporters wielding machetes, who do you think ordinary citizens will vote for? Your guess is as good as mine. That said, I consider it unfair for NPP’s Dr. Atta Kennedy to accuse Nana Akufo- Addo of personally encouraging thuggery. The accusation has no basis.

Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey

25th August, 2014

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