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Feature Article of Thursday, 24 January 2013

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.

Aren’t these NPP leaders committing political suicide?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fellow Ghanaians, the NPP seems to be over-extending itself and risks compounding the problems that have pushed its Akufo-Addo and Mahamudu Bawumia into the dark chambers of the Supreme Court instead of the seat of government (be it the Osu Castle or the Flagstaff House). In politics, miscalculation has very terrible consequences.
The NPP leaders are heavily poised to do or say anything, which tells me that they are more than determined to endanger the future of the party. I have said it several times that their vitriolic reaction to Election 2012—even if regarded as constitutionally permissible—is creating more hiccups for them than they can endure.
Too many inconsistencies and vain threats won’t make them and their party any stronger or better than what it was at the time of the elections. As if determined to harm their party’s interests, they have taken decisions that have turned out to be politically disadvantageous and substantially damaging.
At least, if the concerns expressed by the communications director of the party’s branch in the Tain Constituency are anything to go by, then, we can tell that what is simmering in the party calls for better actions and pronouncements than what is issuing forth from the leadership. There are many more like this disgruntled party functionary who may not be airing their concerns but who are definitely seething with anger at the manner in which the leaders are (mis)handling affairs.
The latest in the series of inconsistencies and miscalculations is not only shocking but is demonstrative of some lazy thinking going on in the ranks of the party’s leaders. Here is what I am leading you to.
“The NPP has decided to boycott the Akatsi and Buem by- elections slated for February 5 and 26, respectively. A statement issued on Sunday afternoon also said until further notice, the NPP will not participate in future elections conducted by the Electoral Commission.
The party’s General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie is quoted as saying the decision, agreed upon by the National Executive Committee (NEC) at a leadership meeting last week, concerns the nature of the petition challenging the 2012 presidential elections” (Myjoyonline, January 20, 2013
Certainly, I repeat that the NPP is really over-extending itself. Now, here comes the main issue: If it will not participate in future elections organized by the EC, how does it hope to approach issues if the Supreme Court determines its petition and rules that the EC should conduct a run-off for Akufo-Addo and President Mahama? Will the NPP abstain? Or swallow back this vomit to say that it didn’t ever say it won’t participate in a run-off?
Let’s remember also that it is the same Electoral Commission being vilified and threatened by the NPP members that will conduct such an election if ever called for. What will the EC do differently to pave the way for Akufo-Addo to improve his performance in the elections? Is there anything to indicate that the EC will conduct the elections in any different manner than what it has been doing all these years?
I have already said that the NPP leaders are the main problems that the party has to solve first before looking outward to deal with its political opponents. Never in the history of this party has so much harm been done to it by the very people appointed to manage its affairs.
I can infer from previous cases to say that the current crop of leaders have damaged the interests of the party more than the NDC could ever do. Let those who think otherwise react with insults!!
From their shoddy campaigns through unguarded public pronouncements and misguided reaction to issues, they’ve succeeded in carving a very bad name for themselves and pushing the party further down the drain. Let those who disagree insult me till reality sinks in again as Election 2012 did!
Boycotting the bye-elections for Akatsi South and Buem isn’t anything strange to me because there is no way the NPP will win those seats. The party’s performance in those constituencies in Election 2012 wasn’t encouraging and nothing indicates that it has done anything new to add any value to itself and be better placed to wrest those two Parliamentary seats from the NDC.
In the December 2012 elections, the NPP sponsored candidates for those constituencies who lost miserably. So far, it hasn’t said it would sponsor candidates, probably seeing nothing that will turn the table in its favour.
As is to be expected, the NDC has already moved ahead to prepare itself for these bye-elections, choosing its candidate for Akatsi South and in the process of confirming one of those picking nomination forms (including Kofi Adams, the suspended Deputy General Secretary) for the Buem Constituency. Indications are that the NDC sees those two seats as a done deal.
Considering the events that have characterized the atmosphere in the post-2012 elections as a result of the NPP’s rejection of the outcome and its filing of a lawsuit at the Supreme Court to seek a reversal of those results, do you think it is feasible for the NPP to spend money sponsoring candidates for these bye-elections and campaigning for them as such? What is the guarantee that any candidate the party sponsors will win the bye-elections in either constituency?
At a larger level, the NPP’s decision to boycott future elections to be organized by the EC is misplaced and smacks of an ill-considered move, one that is definitely a politically suicidal mission.
One can read deeper meanings into this declaration of boycott to see it as part of the grand agenda of arm-twisting. Probably, the NPP is seeking to use this boycott as a bargaining chip, hoping that something will be done to accommodate its parochial interests.
By declaring this boycott, what does the NPP hope to achieve? If it’s meant to intimidate the EC or political opponents, it won’t. It’s more of a misfire than a potent political trump-card being played.
I insist that by rushing to make decisions of this sort, the NPP leaders continue to deepen the party’s woes and dent its public image all the more. This decision is ill-thought-of and will hurt the NPP more than the party’s leaders and members can endure.
By going this way, are the party’s leaders really thinking of the possibility of a run-off to be declared by the Supreme Court in its determination of their lawsuit—which they have previously raised and recognized as a means to dislodge President Mahama from the groove? Or are they only fixated on the results’ being annulled and their Akufo-Addo rubber-stamped into the power-house?
By making this decision—which I can guess will be later reversed (as is true of the dynamics in a shaky political camp)—the NPP leaders are moving closer to the tipping point and creating conditions for more trouble. They have invariably pushed themselves into a tight corner as far as their own lawsuit is concerned. And all that they are doing goes to confirm the confusion and dejection rocking their camp.
Although the Supreme Court is expected to look beyond internal party matters of this sort in determining the NPP’s lawsuit, I won’t be far from right to surmise that such hasty decisions can go a long way to influence matters. Now that the party is not interested in participating in any election to be organized by the EC, the only expectation as far as its lawsuit is concerned is that the Supreme Court will do nothing but declare Akufo-Addo the winner of Election 2012. A sharp disappointment awaits them.
Nobody but the NPP leaders can save themselves from themselves and their party from itself. Do they really think about the future viability of their party at all? They need not think about their own future prospects because they are mortal human beings who are just passing through this world. Destined to be born, to grow, and to die, they will be creating anxious moments for themselves if they think otherwise and do things to cling on to the apron strings of the party.
They will definitely pass away; but the party is likely to survive. It will outlive them just as other politically motivated institutions and organizations did. We in Ghana can recall the fate of such entities as the Joint Provincial Council of Chiefs, the Aborigines Rights Protection Society, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the National Liberation Movement, the Togoland Congress, or Ga Shifi Mo Kpee, and many others that outlived their founders and leaders. These political entities served useful purposes but their founders and leaders died, leaving them behind for new followers to pick up their pieces.
They still exist in the hearts of their adherents, even if their original names have vanished from the scene. Such is the fate of the NPP and all other political parties. It is important for those leading these parties to know that the future viability of the parties will depend on what they do today. I am more than convinced that the current leaders of the NPP are over-speeding and shouldn’t be surprised where they end up.
Let the NPP not contest future elections to be organized by the EC and it will be better off. It will save itself from the woes that its leaders have brought down to bear heavily on it. Whether a boycott or abstention will redeem it is in the womb of time. But the truth is that its woes are self-created.
Those who wish to leave behind them a viable political party will not do acts to destroy it while alive!
I shall return…
• E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com
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