Feature Article of Monday, 20 February 2012
Columnist: Jackson, Margaret
By Margaret Jackson
Two months after President John Evans Atta Mills was sworn into office in 2009, his National Democratic Party (NDC) started bleeding from incessant criticisms from its own members, notably, the party’s founder and former president, Efo Rawlings and the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Whilst some NDC party members variously accused the Mills’ government of neglect and not rewarding them for their efforts towards the party’s victory in the 2008 elections, the NPP has systematically but assiduously been reproving the NDC government for non-performance even in the midst of the high level of prudent economic management, which puts Ghana’s 2011 GDP growth to 13 percent, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
It must however be noted that whilst these internal wrangling have not helped the NDC very much for the past three years, to forge ahead as a united front to execute programmes on its manifesto, it has rather opened deep wounds and avenues which the opposition NPP has cashed in from time to time to damn the NDC much to the dismay of many of its loyalists. It seems whenever everything begins to cool down for the NDC to concentrate on the way forward, some invisible hands working against their karma have always waded in to worsen matters for the party.
Sometimes, I am inclined to think that the NDC is behaving as if it’s the first time it has won power, because some of the basic issues which any party would have resolved swiftly and forcefully are mostly allowed to play off in the media turf, much to the angst of those who truly love and cherish the NDC. As a result, the NPP has made a concerted effort to further deepen the wounds of the NDC by weekly planting untrue and made-up stories in the radio, television and newspapers to disorganize and put the NDC on the defensive. As a result, the NDC has largely become reactive than proactive.
Today, we have a well organized orchestrated lying gang, the NPP, who after planting imaginary stories in the media; send their paid-up feeding frenzy crew to frame those stories into talking points, and amplify them to destroy the image and also belittle the overall achievements of the NDC.
Many political minds are seriously wondering when members of the NDC would put their personal and hidebound interest behind and look at the bigger picture staring them in the face this year; 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. Others are praying fervently that with the parliamentary primaries over, the NDC would get focused, and execute their pragmatic programmes for this year in order for their achievements to sell the party to voters before December 7, 2012.
It is therefore, not encouraging that with less than 10 months to go for the 2012 elections, some faceless individuals within the NDC want to use the Woyome issue to get even at some top party members whose sterling qualities in terms of education, political experience and dept, knowledge on governance, level headedness, political strategy and execution, love and devotion to the NDC party pails to none. As a result, these four brainy individuals, Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi, Lecturer and former Minister of Local Government, Mr. Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, Mr. Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Chairman of the National Communications Authority and Mr. Ato Ahwoi, Board Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, who the opposition NPP would have loved to court if they had the chance or the means, were forced to issue a joint statement condemning the maneuvers against them.
But barely a day after the four NDC top guns have complained of being maligned, a group calling itself NDC Youth For Victory 2012 questioned the rationale behind the release of the statement by the four cadres. In an interview on Citi FM, John Vanni, the spokesperson for the group, accused the NDC kingpins of being self-centred rather than exerting their energies in unifying and defending the integrity of the party. According to Vanni, the NDC party leadership has paralyzed hence the decision by cadres to think about defending and protecting their reputation. Vanni in that interview also stated that under the leadership of former President Rawlings the habit of circulating faceless tracts and issuing of statements would never have happened.
Well said Vanni, but I think you either did not read thoroughly the statement issued by the four cadres. In the statement by the cadres, they stated categorically that they were putting the party over and above their personal hurts, hence their decision not to expose those who were behind the circulation of the malicious tracts. Is this self-centredness, Vanni? I believe not.
Secondly, I strongly believe that any party whose top leadership does not have any good reputation is finished. I guess you have not missed what has been happening to the tattered image of Akufo-Addo, NPP’s 2012 Presidential Candidate, who for the past week has been reeling and limping under severe pressure for issuing a diplomatic passport to a jailed drug baron, Raymond Kwame Amankwah, in addition to credible allegations concerning his drug abuse. If you did not, then you would understand me better when I say that any leader who has no credibility of reputation is only good for the trash can. Therefore, to me, there is nothing wrong with the four cadres protecting their reputation, because their reputation is something that the NDC and swing voters can bank on.
Mr. Vanni, who seems to be the only stranger in Jerusalem, stated that the perceived disunity in the NDC would never have occurred during the time of Rawlings. Wrong. Was Vanni not around when Goosie Tanoh, Obed Asamoah and company broke away from the NDC due to some disagreements? And can Vanni look up to the heavens and say with all truthfulness that Rawlings would have tolerated the kind of public attacks that he constantly launches on President Mills? I bet not.
It is therefore, very sad to note that even though the collective contributions of these cadres and others during the PNDC and NDC days has largely contributed to the stability, peace and the economic growth being enjoyed by the country today, these unknown cowards within the NDC party have adopted a campaign of vilification against them even though they had played no role in the Woyome saga. But the big question is, even if these top guns within the NDC have expressed their views on the Woyome issue, what is wrong with it? Aren’t all NDC members worried about the impact the Woyome chronicle could have on the December elections?
I am appalled that those who are sympathetic to Woyome are thinking that the guy’s survival is much more paramount or important than the survival of President Mills and the entire NDC party. Otherwise why would some members of the NDC still continue to have sympathy for and defend Woyome when it has become abundantly clear that he has indeed duped the nation, and that the NPP which has no campaign message for the upcoming elections, is looking to make the Woyome tale its main campaign issue?
I am calling on NDC members to stop defending Woyome and allow the issue to play out in court. It is true that Woyome doled out monies to some NPP members. Ex-President Kufour, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, OB Amoah, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and a host of others all scooped some soup from Woyome, but have we seen anybody from the NPP camp defending him? The NDC members should also be wise enough and just allow the man to prove in court that he did not steal from the state. Period!
But in the midst of all this uneasiness in the NDC, it is very gratifying to know that these cadres who intercepted some scandalous anonymous letters circulating within the NDC circles and in some selected media houses damning their perceived roles in the Mills’ administration, have stated that nothing will make them shy away from their responsibilities as elder cadres of the NDC party who have as much interest as every genuine NDC member in ensuring victory in December 2012. Now hear some of the things they wrote in the joint statement issued on Tuesday, “Even though we know those who are behind these attacks and much as we feel inclined to take on our detractors, we have opted to let our sense of maturity and better judgment to prevail. As we have always done, we will continue to exercise restraint and not compound an already delicate situation. We respect the leadership of His Excellency President Atta Mills and we place the larger interest of the party over our personal hurts.” This is all what NDC needs at this point in time. Focus! Focus on 2012! Focus on Victory!
If you love the NDC party, and you read the joint statement issued by the four cadres it should serve as the cut-off point for all NDC members to forgo their personal ill feelings, egos, hurts, pains, frustrations and feel-good attitude and importance and focus on the larger interest of the party. The NDC party has suffered from personal squabbling for long. And with the 2012 elections staring the party in the face, it would be nonsensical and suicidal for members of the party to continue to wash their dirty linens in public whilst leaving the overall campaign work on the shelves.
If there is any time in the history of the NDC that they have to gird their loins and forge ahead as a party, it is now, because the upcoming elections is going to be a make or break affair for any party that goes on top or down. That is why the party needs to mend it bridges in order not to leave any room for any miscreant to burn it to the ground. If you saw what happened in parliament when President Mills in delivering his State of the Nation address, the NPP parliamentarians got clad in mourning cloths and each bearing red card signs sang the dirges of the NDC, then this should be a wake-up call for all NDC members to look at the bigger picture ahead, since a defeat at the polls would bring untold hardships never experienced in the country since the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
The eight long years by the Kufour administration should always serve as the “Zion Days” for the NDC, where they were hunted, chased, taunted, hooted, maligned, marginalized, sacked from the their jobs and jailed. Many NDC people have never forgotten that during that period, after the NPP gang had eaten and drunk their full, they taunted the NDC to come and play the harp for them to dance.