Feature Article of Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Columnist: Haruna, Mahama
Part 1 of 3.
The formation of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was carefully nurtured by major actors who relied heavily on the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition. As soon as it was revealed by the Justice Annan Committee that the mood of the nation was in favour of multiparty politics in early 1992, Mr B J da Rocha and a few others found it wise to revive the United Party (UP). Those who were part of the Progress Party (PP), the Popular Front Party (PFP) and United National Convention (UNC) were targeted. A meeting was convened at the residence of the late Mr Steven Krakue, with the blessing of the late Mr Victor Owusu, the leader and Presidential candidate of the Popular Front Party in the 1979 general elections. But before this brief, the story of the formation of the UP, the pioneer party of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition is really interesting. In December 1957, the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) government passed the Avoidance of Discrimination Act that was aimed at ensuring that political parties were nationally based.
Consequently, the opposition parties merged into one party called the United Party (UP) under the joint leadership of K.A. Busia (NLM) and S.D. Dombo (NPP). With 15 seats from the Northern People's Party (NPP) and 12 from the National Liberation Movement (NLM) after the 1956 Legislative Assembly election, Chief S.D. Dombo could have been the Official Opposition leader of the UP tradition but passed it on to Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia and accepted to become his deputy. But this serious mistake was to have a serious effect on the parties of the UP tradition including the present NPP.
Since the days of the United Party (UP) in the 1950's the leadership of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia Tradition has never gone outside the Akan area of Ghana. Northerners and other minority ethnic groups like the Ewes and the Gas in NPP are told the Akans have permanently hijacked the leadership of the NPP and its predecessor parties. They are told the Akans are looking down upon them far as the leadership position is concerned. They say Northerners and these other groups are alienated against, classified as the minority and has always played second fiddle to Southerners. Northerners and other groups in NPP are told they are being manipulated, belittled, fooled and used by the Akans.
The situation in which Chief Dombo relinquished the party leadership to Busia, the inability of Alhaji Aliu Mahama to get the nod to lead the party in 2008 and the fact that leaders of the UP tradition, from Danquah to Busia to Victor Owusu /Ofori Atta to Adu Boahen to J A Kufour right up to Nana Akufo-Addo are all Akans is often cited as examples of such manipulations. Perhaps if Chief Dombo had been bold enough to take over the leadership if the party, these perceptions would not have arisen.
Even in the advance democracies ethnic, geographical, racial and other factors are taken into serious consideration when choosing leaders of political parties.
The Republicans in the US are doing a lot to shed off certain perceptions about them. In the United Kingdom there is a party known as the British National Party (BNP) whose membership is only opened to white British. The BNP is is fascist and racist's and restricted membership to "indigenous British". One may be right to say the NPP is fast becoming Ghana's replica of the BNP because the party is fast becoming a party for Asantes and Akyems especially if one looks at the last two general elections.
To be continued..
By Mahama Haruna.
The writer is a trained Journalist and a former NPP Secretary for Bole-Bamboi. He was also a Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).