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Opinions of Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Columnist: Manya, Estorme

If I Were President John Mahama, I Would…..

…build a consensus government, by strategically choosing ministers from all 10 regions, regardless of tribal or political affiliation, as long as they meet required qualifications for the job. Recently, Ghanaweb published an article which stated that Ghana’s EC had no less than 20 political parties registered, and as just concluded election 2012 showed, about 8 actually contested. I am not sure why a small country like Ghana needs all these “mushroom” political parties. I am a beneficiary of democracy and applaud any country that chooses such a model to facilitate good governance of its people. However, one can only reasonably conclude that since being a member of the “politicalgensia” in Ghana is seem as most profitable endeavor and perhaps the number one career choice, it does not surprise me that some will attempt to achieve this means via “all-die-be-die” or “by any means necessary”. To me, these “other” parties accomplish nothing but to further complicate the work of an already overextended Electoral Commission. At best, Ghana should be sufficient with two major political parties and a viable third and or fourth force party. Thus, If I were His Excellency John Mahama, I would consolidate political powering my upcoming governance starting 2013, through collaboration with leaders of “other” parties that are currently active in Ghana; mainly, the NDP now led by the Former First lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, the PPP led by Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, and CPP led by Dr. Abu Shakara, and any of the 16 others out there that are willing to work in the best interest of Ghana. Surprisingly, these “other” parties did not perform well in election 2012 at all, managing less than 2 percent of the total votes casted. They did even worse than 2008where they came close to 3%, and perhaps forced a run-off between HE John Attah Mills (RIP) NDC and Lawyer William Akuffo-Addo of the NPP. Be that as it may, their various political ideologies could still germinate enough roots which could become more of a “threat” in the years ahead. Looking at past elections, one could easily predict that one or more of these parties could eventually rise to become a more formidable by election 2020 and beyond; perhaps, not to effect a presidential win, but gather enough momentum to become a third force threat to the political fortunes of the two major parties (NDC /NPP) and their ability to win “one touch” elections. Thus, the NDC and NPP must take notice of these parties now and begin to strategize how to “carve” them into their already rooted ideologies in Ghana’s politics.

If at any point in future elections, one or more of these “other” parties were to garner 10% of the electorate votes on its own or collectively with others for example, such a scenario could force Ghana into a “power sharing” scenario; a result which could only nurture chaos, destabilizing Ghana’s democratic governance. Such a momentum could “threaten” Ghana’s constitutional 50 plus1 requirement to win an election for the presidency. And, the more proliferate these “other” parties become, the more resource it will require for the EC to facilitate successful future elections. To some, suggesting that the Mahama led NDC government, with its 2012 respectable win, make every proactive effort to consolidate its rule through collaboration may sound as conjecturing. However, those of us who live in the West know of the dominant power of two. In the United States, a country of 300M+ people, there remains only two key competing ideologies, mainly the Republican Party, known more for their vigorous capitalist and private enterprise ideologies, and the Democrats known for their social democratic and welfare views. But we witnessed in 2000, in utter amazement, where a then effective third force led by Ross Perot, became one of effective impediment to Al Gore’s victory. Similarly, the two dominant parties in the UK that generally produce governing Prime Ministers, are the Labour “liberal democratic” Party and the Conservative “right winged” Party.

Thus, for a small country like Ghana, to have allowed a political environment riddled with numerous “mushroom” parties only hastens to handicap the EC’s policing effectiveness in elections, and help to foster an environment where flagrant fraud was permitted election 2008 for example; an election which witnessed 100%+ voter turnout in some constituencies. Election 2012’s use of biometric verification system helped as a first step in stamping out fragrant fraud. For the first time in the 4th Republic elections, flagrant fraud was stamped out through elimination of multiple registrations and its resultant multiple voters. The new system however must be supplemented with an alternative method to the “no verification, no vote rule”, by providing an alternate and legitimate way for verifying those disenfranchised voters whose pictures matched IDs in the system, yet the biometric device was not able to verify their thumb prints to allow all voters to exercise their franchise. Secondly, whereas some would argue that many voices are needed to deepen Ghana’s democracy, and that these “other” parties serve as effective “checks and balance” on the major parties’ governance, it is rather evident that “too many hands spoil the soup” for all, in my opinion. Why too many hands? It seems to me that at least 4 of the minor parties morphed out of existing ideologies; hence they don’t add any real new ideas to existing ones, only a “spin” on the status quo. And if there are new ideas, why not lend them to those of already existing parties to forge a “stronger union”, as they say in these United States? Why can’t Dr. Nduom’s PPP join with NPP for example, while the CPP, NDP, and PNC also align with NDC to strengthen their resolve to develop Ghana? As new constituencies are created and added to the electoral system and yet to be implemented ROPA (Representative of People Act), do these added responsibilities not overstretch an already overburdened EC?

To continue on my “conjecturing”, can we agree that one does not need to be president to make remarkable contributions to his or her nation? Many of these political leaders have already made notable contributions in their respective fields and to Ghana’s development. They could be encouraged to continue to make leadership strides in prominent ministerial positions going forward. Thus, I propose to His Excellency John Mahama, to consider making the following politically astute moves, in choosing his cabinet and ministers for his government in 2013. Firstly, appoint Dr. Abu Shakara of CPP Minister of Food and Agriculture, with NDC Deputies. His expertise gained over a 25 year career as agronomist specifically in the areas of technical, managerial, and policy aspects of agriculture, could be utilized to attain a sustainable policy in modern agriculture. Dr. Nduom’s background in Management and Service delivery systems could be channeled into the role of Minister of Trade or Transport/Ports, etc, with NDC deputies. President Mahama should also consider appointing Ms. Samia Nkrumah, current Chairwoman of CPP, who has lost her seat in the Jomoro Constituency in the just ended election, and Ms. Eva Lokko, current Vice-Presidential nominee of the PPP, into notable Deputy ministerial positions where their respective skill sets could be utilized. In so doing, President Mahama would continue the late President Mills’s legacy of boosting women’s participation in politics and leadership roles in ministerial positions.

I would also suggest two other bold appointments in addition to those above. President Mahama should appoint Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, as the Minister of Women and Children Affairs, with deputies from the NDC. This is if Mrs. Rawlings can abandon her strategic plan to fragment and deliberately destroy NDC as a national party. As was witnessed in election 2012, she does not wield much national influence that she thinks she has, to affect an outcome in any election in Ghana going forward. President Mahama could accord her this honor, helping to bury existing conflicts between personalities; afterall, the Bible says, “love covers a multitude of sins”. In addition, President Mahama could also offer Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia an appointed position to afford to him an opportunity to continue to use his expertise to help advance Ghana’s Momentary and economic policy, if he is able to bury his political opportunism and be willing to work for the betterment of Ghana at large. As NPP has lost election 2012, Dr. Bawumia is in jeopardy of becoming an “economic refugee” once again, but could be afforded an opportunity to utilize his skill sets right there in Ghana. President Mahama could set such as example for Ghana’s intellectuals, by even reaching out to qualified “diasporans” who want to return home to help build Ghana, to do so, devoid of any political blackmail. This will not only showcase Mr. Mahama’s presidency as one that is politically astute, but collaborative in nature. It would distinguish him as a truly progressive post-independence and 21st century minded leader. Plus, President Mahama will have more agreeable governance by fostering a majority consensus in the coming years. In order for him to achieve an unprecedented “better Ghana” developmental agenda, that Ghana needs desperately in the areas of education, sanitation, agriculture, infrastructural support, he must be willing to tap into talent, wherever he can find them. And, a true majority rule would be needed to begin to tear down the tribally charged environment in which politics in Ghana currently resides. When majority of citizens feel represented in national politics, it is one sure way to maintain true peace and stability in Ghana.

Finally, as NPP party continues to remain in opposition for the foreseeable future, they should consider proactively engaging the ruling NDC party in meaningful ways to help advance Ghana’s development agenda, instead of their antagonistic posturing against everything pertaining to the ruling party. The NPP can begin their successful resurgence back into Ghana’s politics by PURGING the likes of Jake Obetsebi Lamptey from their body politic. This “hypnotized” Ga, bungalow thief and self appointed leader of championing the “Akans birth right to rule”, should be STAMPED out of Ghana’s politics. Jake is a TERRORIST and a NATION-WRECKER. Quite frankly, he should be told that election 2012 is his VERY LAST attempt to “wave his demonic sword in an attempt to hold hostage” 25 million of the world’s MOST peaceful citizenry, to satisfy his “bloody thirsty” quest for power. There must be a systematic strategy to obliterate Jake and his “elks” from the memory of Ghana’s politics and President Mahama can begin by making him “public enemy” number one and by placing him on a national terrorist list. President Mahama is under a constitutional mandate to protect Ghana’s freedom and assure justice to all her citizens, and to “resist oppressors rule”. He can begin by making Jake Obetsebi Lamptey an example of “resisting oppressors rule” in Ghana.

Should NPP get another mandate to govern in Ghana in the future, which I believe it will, they should be prepared to govern with all tribal groupings in mind. Meaningful development benefits the entire populace and thus a strategic and ever evolving organic development policy should be set in all sectors and maintained perpetually by the laws of the land and future leaders must be mandated to follow it, irrespective of the political party affiliation. I challenge the NPP or any other opposition party to champion this path in this new parliament that is set to convene in 2013. Instead of resorting to underhanded tactics in an attempt to continue to make Ghana ungovernable, NPP or any of the other parties for matter should work hard to curb undesirable posturing which stem to foster negative tribal, religious, and ethnic sentiments in the populace. All political parties must understand that violence is destructive and retrogressive, but collaboration leads to sustainable progress. Lastly, the NPP should attempt to nurture more youthful, progressive, and collaborative crop of leaders that would lead their parties into future successes, irrespective of tribe- meaning one need not be an Akan, or Akyem, or Asante to lead NPP. As Ghana cannot make any long-lasting and meaningful achievement in this 21 century absent unity, every Ghanaian must make it his or her top patriotic duty to REJECT tribal ideologies and embrace collaboration, freedom and justice in course of Ghana’s determination to build a free, fair, and just democratic society.

To my Brothers and Sisters in the motherland Ghana, congratulations on facilitating your MOST peaceful, free and fair election yet... Akuffo Addo and NPP will be embarking on an excise in futility with any legal challenges that will attempt to overthrow the will of the people- The people have spoken, and Independent bodies such as CODEO and AU observers have certified election 2012 as FREE and FAIR. The will of the people must be preserved at all cost! Ghana is moving forward and my hope is that all Ghanaians will join hands to make our beautiful motherland the best in Africa!

Estorme Manya, December, 2012.