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Opinions of Friday, 20 August 2010

Columnist: Dickens, Thomas

NDC’s Rookies and Trivial Politics

Professor John Evan Atta Mills’ decision to introduce young bloods into the ministerial arrangements of his government soon after he was sworn into office as president was fittingly received with mixed feelings. Many lauded him for his thoughtfulness in becoming a pacesetter; many wondered (especially the die-hard NDCfanatics) why unfamiliar and apathetic rookies were picked above them. Many of us have been monitoring the performances, the comportments and overzealous attitudes employed by Messrs Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Richard Quashigah, James Agyenim-Boateng and Miss Hannah Bissiw in dealing with national issues and wonder if they have ever taken the trouble to mull over their plights should another political party win the 2012 Elections. The politics of retaliation coupled with its culture of vindictive pursuit of perceived corrupt practices of people in power should tutor these rookies to tread cautiously in Ghana’s political minefield. And the way the NDC’s top hierarchy have dominated the airwaves with what can be humanely described as balderdash after the NPP Congress has become a cause for grave apprehension for well-meaning Ghanaians.

I have already been labelled as a New Patriotic Party advocate in an article I wrote and when another one appeared, I became a pure National Democratic Congress kingpin. Funny ridiculous! In my way of doing things, I will plead with people who cannot face up to the truth to stop reading as I do not want to be the source of somebody’s cardiac arrest. However, if anyone should read this article and decide to brand me with any unprintable and offensive lexicon known in the English Language, they are welcome to exercise their full, inalienable and undeniable freedom of speech. I would like to implore those who may appreciate the truth in this article not to wage any ethnocentric war of insult. It will not do anyone any good. Let people pour their venomous insults on me hiding behind fictitious names but the day of reckoning is not that far away—and I speak of 2012!

Once upon a time, the NPP found itself in power with so much goodwill of the people of Ghanathat, they were deluded into thinking there was no dog chance the NDCwould come back to power! As to whether the NPP’s hubris (hamartia) of entertaining such a thought proved fruitful is there for politicians, various opinion leaders and historians to apportion countless reasons why the NPP is now in opposition. We are in 2010 and various views have been duly expressed by both the pro- and anti-NPP concerning NPP’s demise in the 2008 General Elections. Many stalwart NPP apologists have been beside themselves with rage and compunction to have toiled only for the NDCto unjustly benefit from the fruits of their labour—they allude to the oil money. If the hand of the clock could be turned back, the NPP would be righting all the wrongs they did instead of pretending everything was right when indeed, it was quite obvious that there were internal wranglings, imposition of candidates on certain constituencies and turning a deaf ear to momentous whinges.

Fast forward and forget the flashback. We are in 2010 and the NDCis in power! The events leading up to the villainous “Swedru Declaration,” the bloodstained manifesto with its numerous voodoo interpretations and other fatal reasons which cost the NDCthe 2000 Elections united with a vertiginous height of arrogance and the refusal by any stretch of the imagination that any political party at all can lose elections—flaws which booted the NDCout of power in 2000 have resurfaced in 2010. Ola Rotimi had better checked the Yoruba proverb that: “When the frog in front falls into a pit, the rest take caution”. For, the NPP became too comfortable in their perch in power that they were deafened by the same errors which caused the NDCElection 2000. One would have thought that the NDCgovernment that won the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in 2008 would have first all of learnt from its false step prior to the year 2000 and its immediate predecessor’s downfall in Election 2008. One would be wrong since the status quo persists!

Let us now examine the rookies of the NDC. The four individuals mentioned in this piece have—because of their hubristic attitudes and pronouncements—incurred the wrath of majority of Ghanaians that we have all been inundated with various articles and comments as to why Miss Bissiw, Messrs Ablakwa, Agyenim-Boateng and Quashigah are not fit to hold public offices. Some of these comments may be borne out of malice but a good number may be out of a genuine disquiet looking at how these distinguished (the word is used ironically) individuals have been spewing out cheap talks due to the their drunkenness with propaganda and their resolve to belittle the intelligence of the Ghanaian electorate. These people may be young and untried but the fact that the entire NDCand its big shots have decided to engage in self-indulgent politics and to insult our integrity must be properly analysed. I believe the NDCwas elected to come and better our lots and execute effectively the “A Better Ghana” agenda which our poor ears are accustomed to.

Ghanaians have been sitting on a lethal time bomb which was waiting to detonate until the recent NPP Congress which saw the overwhelming pledge reposed in Nana Akuffo-Addo. In less than an hour, the NDCunleashed Honourable Richard Quashigah to initiate his usual propaganda chatter for which he has gained notoriety. It will be essential to bring Mr Quashigah on Planet Earth that his party is no more in opposition; and that Ghanaians have voted for NDCto rule for a four-year term and realise the paradisiacal promises of making Gold Coast a better Ghana. Mr Quashigah did not disappoint as he went on to trivialise the NPP’s non-violent Congress because ex-president Kufuor had pronounced Nana Akuffo-Addo the winner in NDC’s Ghana before the Electoral Commissioner’s formal announcement. This was notwithstanding the fact that all the other contestants had conceded defeat which in effect, made the EC’s declaration ceremonial and redundant. His conundrum was the NPP’s supposedly inability to “religiously follow the dictates of election rules”. I do not condone Mr Kufuor’s misdemeanour however, the EC was just going to state the obvious so this was not an issue to make the headlines.

The demoralising thing here is the NDC’s diversionary tactics of doing misinformation which normally befits a party in opposition. This would not have been that serious but the fact that they have also added an infantile but jovial attitude to running the country makes me wonder as to whether we should not have the celebrated Bob Okalla and his legion of joke-tellers as president and ministers of Ghana. The pro-NDCnewspapers decided to insult the intelligence of Ghanaians by fabricating a story which the fictitious Ananse will be proud to recount to the effect that there were wild jubilations at the seat of government and NDCparty headquarters when Nana Akuffo-Addo managed to scoop an overpowering 77.92 percent of the Delegates’ votes! Quite incredibly, the NDCclaims they would have been very anxious had Mr Allan Kyerematen won the elections! Dear reader, is this not tantamount to proposing what tactics an opponent can use in a duel against you?! I thought we voted for serious-minded politicians to build Mother Ghana and not people ready to engage in primary school political theories. The NDCwas divided prior to the NPP Congress on which candidate of Nana Akuffo-Addo or Mr Kyerematen they wanted Professor Mills (is it really going to be Professor Mills?) to confront in the 2012 General Elections. This aptly caps the humour in the so-called mass excitement at Akuffo-Addo’s election.

The NDCreally respects their chronological way of doing things; they were effectively building their rebuttals of what transpired at the NPP Congress and their mockery of Ghanaians to a crescendo. I need a copy of the NDCmanifesto for Election 2008 to see if they had added, as an afterthought: “We will ensure that former president Kufuor is extremely vilified should he ever dare castigate the NDC”. The NDChas been lying in wait for something to do when Mr Kufuor launched a scathing attack on the Mills Administration; accusing it of the mismanagement of the Economy, “incarnate” corruption and the threatened atmosphere of freedom with the relegation to the background of the Rule of Law by the hitherto legendary foot soldiers.

The swiftness with which the NDCturned on Mr Kufuor on his “sacrilegious” remarks only follows the chronological order which they pursue in dealing with their opponents. Another conscript honourable minister who has been used mischievously for saying things that the substantive Minister of Information would not normally summon the courage to utter was dispatched. Honourable Ablakwa, the usual scapegoat and suspect swung into action and with the same venomous comments he had once observed on ex-president Rawlings, he repeated the propaganda effectively peddled in 2008 that Kufuor had exploited state funds to renovate his private residence; that he had abused his position to buy a hotel for his son and presented other points to buttress his point on Kufuor’s so-called sordid corruption record. In all this, what saddened me was that the allegations had been cleared by the CHRAJ (Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice). Yet, it had been trumpeted repeatedly and given a semblance of truth. But what was more disheartening was Mr Ablakwa’s admonition to Mr Kufuor to desist from making unprovoked attacks on the Mills Administration. This was nicely captured in a Myjoyonline news headline of 09/08/2010entitled “Ex-President Kufuor to watch his mouth”.

There are a few points I would permit myself to make here before I proceed. I should like to know if the indecorous reproach to ex-president Kufuor cannot be construed as an attempt to gag his freedom of speech which supports his (Mr Kufuor’s) claim of the threatened atmosphere of freedom. Then, we should also question Mr Ablakwa’s action of being uncouth to Mr Kufuor, an act which is un-Ghanaian towards a man who can father him. And we need to query the aggressive nature of the NDCtowards Mr Kufuor if they kept mute over Mr Rawlings’ calling some of the NDCmembers as greedy bastards, adding he was not going to sit down for people to extend their corrupt practices. Mr Rawlings told the cadres in 2009 at Prempeh Assembly Hall to go to the castle and ask that man who only listens to Prophet T.B. Joshua when asked which people he was alluding to. Perhaps, Mr Rawlings was provoked and hence his rants were expected. Oh Ghana!

Nevertheless, when the rookies of NDChave finished setting the agenda did their gurus go to town! The scene opened with Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, NDC’s General Secretary affectionately known by his military accolade of General Mosquito. He blurted out a catalogue of his own views of the squalid realities of Kufuor’s Administration, enumerating instances of Kufuor’s excellent corruption record among other flamboyant accusations. His conclusion leaves an indelible impression on my memory when as the official mouthpiece of the NDC, he says: “We are waiting for President Kufuor to come back and we will deliver our next set of arsenals”. In the same vein, Honourable Enoch Teye Mensah joins in the whole caboodle. Like unwanted spare tyres used only when needed, Mr E T Mensah calls on the NDCfoot soldiers and charges them with the admirable task of propagating Miss Gizele Yajzi’s confessions. I commiserate with these foot soldiers who are badly threatened and condemned when they seize toilets and lock up NHIS offices but are the first to be called upon to do the NDC’s dirty work!

I cannot possibly conclude this article by leaving out Honourable Hannah Bissiw. I do not know her personally but I believe she is a lady. Her abysmal performance on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo programme on 03/08/2010painted the picture we normally see of village girls—I say this without impropriety. Apparently, she was not happy with Miss Ursula Owusu’s vivid portrayal of the NDC’s alleged distortion of facts, its insensitivity to the plight of the people of Swedru when economic activities were hampered by a collapsed bridge after a flood and rebuking them for taking undue credit of the throw-the-police-into-frenzy Single Spine Pay Policy. Kwami Sefa-Kayi had to intervene but the resolute Hannah Bissiw will not be deterred. Minus the piece of cloth usually tied at the waist of village girls, the little multi-coloured blouse, the chewing-stick and the irritating chewing-gum, Miss Bissiw was the very byword of these girls ready for a verbal brawl with sharpened lips as they say in Ghanavia the politics of insult.

In conclusion, these are a few instances of the trivial politics and the act of the rookies we are witnessing in Ghana. I am asking politicians to learn the difference between propaganda when in opposition and working to realise campaign promises once in government. I believe that if a government performs very well and fulfils its promises while in power, electorates do not really need convincing. I would also like to remind these young politicians to remember that they are Ghanaians and should not discard our timeless traditions of displaying reverence towards the elderly. These politicians should ask what their fates will be should another political party replace the NDCin 2012 or 2016. Will Okudzeto love to go through the same plight of Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng? History is not just written to recount past events but as measures from which to learn lessons. Could Mr Ablakwa have said the same loutish stuffs when Mr Rawlings descended on Professor Mills and others calling them greedy bastards and corrupt? Why is he now showing his manliness towards Mr Kufuor? It is quite cleat that the foot soldiers and former cadres would have asked for his blood or simply hounded him out of the deputy information ministerial position which has given him the audacity to insult Kufuor and others. Finally, these young men and women may have attended Dr Anthony Aidoo’s Ideological School of lose talks and acute foul language but can they face the consequences of utter disrespect and vituperations in future when they are out of power?

Thomas Dickens (