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Feature Article of Sunday, 8 January 2012

Columnist: Hardi, Ibrahim

Can president Mills win the trust of disillusioned NDC foot soldiers

....to campaign for the party in the 2012 elections?

It remains a question if the Mills-Mahama government can win the trust of NDC foot soldiers to campaign for the party as it seeks to renew its mandate in the 2012 elections. With barely 11 months to the climax of the four-year mandate of the ruling National Democratic Congress, this has been the critical question many social commentators and political pundits including the founder of the party former President Jerry John Rawlings are posing.

Casting our minds back to the last general elections in 2008 when NDC foot soldiers demonstrated much zeal and alacrity to end the eight-year long political power drought the party had suffered in opposition, it is rather incongruous and disheartening that the party can no longer be certain on the support of many of these grass root supporters.

It is quite obvious without a modicum of doubt that, but for the perilous last minute sacrifices and vigilance shown by some NDC foot soldiers at the Headquarters of the Electoral Commission in 2008, the party could have suffered another stolen verdict, as taunted by its founder in a previous elections in 2004, when the mandate of the NPP was renewed in a landslide victory. I don’t want to go deep into the merit of that outcry because it was highly contestable and by extension has himalayan implications on Ghana’s democratic dispensation and credentials.

The foot soldiers matched the EC, then government officials and the security boot to boot in the 2008 elections and fought tooth and nail to guard against rigging the election. That they did with due diligence to democratic jurisprudence and at the peril of their lives in most cases. This wasn’t any different in many other parts of the country as the foot soldiers showed much determination to “oust” the incompetent NPP regime and make way for the Mills-Mahama led team to restore hopes in the faces of Ghanaians.

These sacrifices of the foot soldiers were fueled and motivated by the bedrock on which the NDC was built on; Probity and Accountability and the party’s conventional values that “all men are equal” and would be treated as such in the distribution of “fortunes of power”.

There is no doubt that the Mills-Mahama government inherited a wretched economy as a result of mismanagement by the previous NPP regime coupled with the misfortunes of the Global Financial Crisis at that time and majority of the Ghanaian electorate were eager to see the panacea the government will provide to the problem.

Surprisingly, the hopes of many remain a mirage almost three years down the lane of power. Things have changed drastically, giving credence to the political thought that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Individual characters have changed and the “values” of the party have also changed dramatically from “all men are equal” to “the fewer the merrier”. This can best be described as the height of unguided political deceit.

Majority of the gallant men who gambled with their lives and exposed their families to precarious circumstances just to bring the NDC back to power are now treated as outcasts and “persona non-grata” and have been avoided in all circles of power. Not even the founder himself Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings who has a 20 years’ experience at the helm of government or his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings who sought to put the house into order is spared.

The very mistakes for which the NPP was taunted and chastised are being repeated and this time around in their worse form.

Very “few” people are enjoying from the power “many” laboured for while the rest of Ghanaians are starving. The “Professor” seems to have forgotten the core promises and covenants the NDC made Ghanaians and the foot soldiers of our party during our campaigns in the 2008 elections.

The “true” party loyalists whose competence and contributions could undoubtedly propel the “Better Ghana Agenda” have been sidelined by few “greedy bastards” who have hijacked the government machinery and party structures to satisfy their own parochial interests and those of their cronies.

Regrettably, the revered Professor (President John Evans Attah) succumbed to the whims of those greedy people against persistent outcry and condemnation of the party’s founder and foot soldiers.

Arrogance, mediocrity, anger and worse of all massive corruption which the NDC pout are now the bane of this government that is supposed to be executing a “Better Ghana Agenda”.

Considering the meagre margin by which the NDC won in the last elections it remains a doubt if President Mills can succeed in his second term bid in the 2012 general elections.

All is not lost anyway, but if the president can take swift measures to reconcile with the aggrieved party foot soldiers and restructure his government into a “Team A” that can surpass temptations of mediocrity and work diligently to restore the dwindling fortunes of the party ahead of 2012.

That is not to suggest that all in the current cabinet are incompetent, but the NDC still have more competent and experienced men who excelled in various portfolios in the Rawlings regime and it is about time the government made use of them if any hope of winning the next general elections is harboured.

The government must also apologise to the former first couple for all the insults and ridicule they have suffered from party and government officials in the past and by extension harness both experience and criticisms of Mr Rawlings to save the NDC from defeat in 2012.

LONG LIVE HIS EXCELLENCY JERRY RAWLINGS, LONG LIVE NDC, AND LONG LIVE GHANA.

IBRAHIM HARDI LANDLORD.CHAIRMAN NDC JUSTICE BENCH,TAMALE.

Email bigkolaaya@yahoo.com

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