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Opinions of Tuesday, 30 November 1999

Columnist: Fordjour, Asante

NPP Super Delegation: A Tragedy or Travesty?

By Konongo Fordjour
Boston, Mass
28 August 2014

The New Patriotic Party has a constitutional provision regulating her elections on flagbearer position. Article 12 (a)(5)(b) in the NPP 1992 Constitution as amended on 22nd August 2009 states clearly that:

"Where there are more than FIVE (5) contestants for nomination as the Party's Presidential Candidate, a Special Electoral College shall cast their vote by a secret ballot for the first five contestants to be short-listed. The Special Electoral College shall comprise ......"

Because this constitutional provision is one of the additions made in the 2009 congress, it is emboldened to draw user's attention that it is a new kid on the block. I have a serious problem with this particular provision in our constitution. After the confirmation of the 2009 constitutional amendment, l started my campaign against it. Why?

Foremost, let's look at the historical background of this provision. Superdelegation from the NPP context, was as a result of the seventeen contestants in our 2007 flagbearer primaries. The general feeling then, was to try some method to cap the number of future contestants in such exercise. It was around the same period that I had increased my campaign for One-Member-One-Vote [OMOV].

Proponents of OMOV strongly believe that every eligible member can vote regardless of the geographical positioning of the member (i.e. Obiara Nto Bi) and also, every eligible member of good standing (please refer to the constitution for definition and qualification of a member of good standing) can contest (again, i.e. Obiara Nsiakan Bi).

OMOV allows, and in fact, encourages as many contestants there may be. It strongly believes that the more there are many contestants, the stronger and better united the party becomes. OMOV uses elimination series strategy closely related to the USA electoral model to arrive at a universal decision.

Once people are involved in the process of campaign, regulated and assessed at every stage of the campaign process, contestants concede to defeat and drop off from the race honourably relative to their poor performance on the platform. It is rather not the decision of some selected fewer aficionados of kangaroo or kokofu-ball games that can bring success to the party in the general elections.

It should be advisable to my party leaders, time and time again, that we should desist from doing things in the dysfunctional old failed British way and embrace tested and successful methods in modern politics. The OMOV elimination series mentioned here motivates the contestants to get onboard and accept defeat peacefully (sense of recognition and belonging). By the time the exercise has trimmed the contestants to only two, voters in their voting decision to elect one of the two would have been better informed.

In our recent (2010) flagbearer contest, the party was lucky to have rendered superdelegates' constitutional role irrelevant because only four contestants competed. Now, as we are getting ready to go public to throw away two out of seven contestants, what is our main criterion in voting them out of the race other than being bias, dislike, our inability to stand their point of view, or simply put, because one contestant cannot work with the others?

Our discriminatory attitude inherently concealed in a smartly crafted constitutional language to bind non-suspecting peace-loving democrats is absolutely dishonest. In one of our recent debates on this superdelegation on NPP forum, I successfully convinced many to support my line of argument.

I strongly believe that the work of our superdelegates or the Special Electoral College should be as the last resort, and not a weapon to use to remove contestants who can displace certain favoured contestants. This brilliant proposition fluffed off some feathers in our current NPP-NEC HQ. in Accra. Some even wondered how this provision found its way into the constitution.

Perhaps someone diabolically imported the provision into the constitution, meaning this particular provision did not receive the thorough scrutiny it deserves before passing the universal acceptance stage into the constitution. While others on the other hand may agree with my proposition, they did not like NEC HQ. members publicly disagree with a hurting provision.

Nevertheless, please do not mistake the powerful role of superdelegation. It has been found to be one powerful tool to settle feuding factions in a political organization such as ours. After exhaustive debate and overwhelming endorsements for two candidates, the superdelegates convene to cast a secret ballot for one of the two to lead the party. In most cases where choice becomes extremely hard to decide, party may decide to use their combined roles. A case in point is the Reagan-Bush combination.

Superdelegation is a strong decision maker in political impasse. Even in Zimbabwe, where a larger percentage of the Western population the world over easily get irritated with its politics, superdelegation is considered important there. In the recent Mugabe-Tsvangirai political debacle over electoral results, the supreme senate house of the land voted to decide a re-run of the presidential elections. Chinese Communist Party also uses superdelegation to settle internal party electoral disputes.

In all notable instances regarding superdelegation, their constitutional mandates have always been the last resort. It is only in Ghana's NPP that Special Electoral College can look in the face of a contestant with a rebuke and hand him a crude dismissal notice to exit from a race.

Several speeches have been offered regarding our superdelegation. Notable among them have been elders in our party whose plea have centered on peace making and the urgency of other contestants stepping aside for one candidate to have a field day. Their main reason being that the party does not have money. All contestants should add their resources to support one to go to the general elections.

It is quite interesting to hear the same democratic leaders brush democracy aside and play the 'nice-guy' games. OMOV is our best method to generate money for our party and it has remained in the 'pending bin' for far too long awaiting their orders for its implementation. Party, that is deliberately denying itself of money, is not excuse for not exercising its constitutional mandate. Money should not be used to compromise our political cultural inclinations.

Generally, it appears that our leaders themselves have acknowledged and accepted the problems that our own constitution has deliberately been written to lock us up and they are beginning to sense a huge trouble on the horizon. Amendment to relax certain parts of the constitution is the right way to go. This is because the need to serve one's party will always stay with us and we cannot ditch hopes all the time

A party that does not listen to advice and constantly denying her own to serve and to participate in decision making is heading for danger. I'm afraid, our leaders have not been helpful to generations following them. When structures start crumbling down like it has been witnessed elsewhere before, we should look no farther than our continuous self-denial to pursue the line of goodness.

Would you call that a TRAGEDY or TRAVESTY? A tragedy is unexpected event that brings devastation to the afflicted. For example if a trailer truck full of explosives loses its mechanical control and slams into a built environment that incurs several human losses, that is unfortunate tragic event.

A travesty, on the other hand, is a mockery or parody of an event. A deliberate imitation of a tragic event is a travesty. For example if you knowingly deliberately make a mockery of a truck load of explosives to slam into a standing object to cause death, that is a travesty. Why then should a tragic event be any different from a travesty? Afterall isn't it true that All-die-be-die?

In our NPP constitutional challenges, if we deliberately look the other side to incur pain on future generations, then it should be equally true that All-shame-be-shame. Please let's help our party to improve on democracy. Implement OMOV, amend our constitution.
Konongo Fordjour,
Movement For Universal Voting
koafordjour@yahoo.com