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Opinions of Friday, 28 September 2007

Columnist: Kwaning, Martin

No One Owns the NPP

The Moderator of the Presby Church, Dr.Yaw Frempong-Manso, recently bemoaned the seemingly tribalistic, egocentric and pull-him-down attitude that is plaguing this country. The fact of the matter is, it is not only this respected Moderator who is worried but there are many others too who think that there is an urgent need to address this worrying situation.

It is very regrettable that after many years of formal education, people you expect to know better are by their actions demonstrating an inhuman attitude. When President Kufour added the National Orientation to the Ministry of Information, I wrote an article saluting the Government, though I conceded then it was long over due, it is better late than never. In supporting the creation of the Orientation department, I was of the view that this country needed a massive transformation of our thinking and therefore an urgent need to banish the ancient ways of doing things. The only way we can make progress in our development is to adhere to the advice given by this Moderator of the Presby Church.

Today because of tribalism and over inflated egos we tend to discredit and reject people who would otherwise be qualify to be a President or an MP. On what basis can you justify the ever-increasing list of aspirants other than that of misplaced ego-strength and empty? To have more than five people vying for the flag bearer position is obscene, yet new names are still cropping up.

Ghana certainly does not belong to one particular tribe or religion or class and those few preaching such devilish messages in an attempt to polarise the delegates and split the Party should bow their heads in shame. Instead of focusing on individuals who can do the job for the country and party, we are rather stressing on the place that the person comes from, paradoxically, we call ourselves educated. It becomes more annoying when certain individuals or a group think they have a right to rule the country/constituency and therefore nobody should come near. In their quest to promote such an agenda, they wickedly use all kinds of tricks to pollute the thinking of the electorate.

In some of the previous general elections, some leading members of the NDC threatened certain ethnic groups that should they dare vote for the NPP, they were likely to be sent back to where they came from, by an NPP Government. But to where? It was very vicious, wicked and devilish. The NPP won and those people are still around in the country, for they are all Ghanaians.

There is no denying the fact that all ethnic groups in the country fought the colonialists gallantly to make Ghana what it is today and that certain areas of the country might have resisted the Whitman’s invasion more than others for various reasons for which they must be applauded, but still it does not give them a divine right to rule this country at all times. Ghana has moved on. Our politics have developed and we need leaders with the right type of attitude, experience and possess the best leadership qualities. What one’s ancestors did generations ago does not come into it. This is where the national orientation exercise is a good one; to help Ghanaians get there priorities right and reappraise their values. A whole new way of seeing and doing things is required. It is unfortunate and very distressing to see that some Ghanaians are not concerned about the development of our beloved nation, which will ultimately result in the well-being of the majority of Ghanaians. To such people their pre-occupation is how to enrich themselves and enjoy life. It is really a frightening situation.

We have polarised our political terrain so much so that almost all the major political parties always play the ethnic permutation. When a Presidential Candidate is from the South then surely the Vice Presidential material should come from the North and verse versa. It is really an ugly scenario. But who should take the blame but some wicked and selfish politicians/public officials. When they get power/position, they turn to help only individuals who supposedly come from their area hence others clamour for their sons/daughters to clinch the highest office of the land.

If as human beings we have empathy for all Ghanaians and assist them without asking about where they come from, peace and extreme harmony will forever be enjoyed in our beloved country. The Manager of Arsenal Football Club in the UK, Arsene Wenger, was quoted as saying that in recruiting players for his team he does not look at the passport of that individual as one of the criteria in signing him. His recruitment policy is purely based on the ability of the player; what the individual can do.

During the tense moment when the ex-British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, declared his intension to resign, there was wide speculation as to who will eventually succeed him. There was a clear indication that it will be Mr.Gordon Brown. This generated a debate among a few Ghanaians who support the Labour Party. The argument from this handful of Ghanaians was that the Labour Party would never give the mandate to the Scottish Mr. Brown. So I took the opportunity to talk to a few Labour party members who are white and to them, it did not matter where the person comes from. The most important thing was to choose the right man for the job at the right time so that the ability to deliver will never be compromised. This is logical and not the shallow thinking of some Ghanaians who disregard the qualities of the individual and shamelessly concentrate on their ethnic background.

It is very regrettable that we have allowed xenophobia, religion, egotism, and ethnicity to dominate our thinking. As a nation we stand to gain if we respect one another and together work hard to achieve our national goals. In the case of the NPP it is evident that some top Party and Government officials are increasingly stressing the need for unity and togetherness irrespective of one’s ethnic/religious background. On this score, I can confidently praise President Kufour for his genuine attempt to bring all ethnic/religious groups on board and not even forgetting Dan Botwe, as then General Secretary of the party and even now has fought hard to bring all on bound. Unfortunately, instead of following President Kufuor’s example there are few who behave as if the Party belongs to them. They try to shut out anybody who was not one of the pioneers when the Party was being formed. They tend to forget that there was a time the tradition/Party was breaking up and facing extinction and that certain people worked so hard by contributing large sums of money and other resources to ensure the Party did not fold. Without those people we wouldn’t have had a Party today. The NPP is governed by a Constitution and any member who qualifies according to the provisions in the Constitution may aspire to any position at all in the Party. .

As a young party activist, I’m aware of individuals in the NPP who sold their properties to salvage our great party but are not making unnecessary demands that because of their contributions they ought to be made a Minister or MP or Party leader.

At times you wonder who can change the thinking of some Ghanaians. Many people have been elected as MPs not based on their competency but rather their financial clout and/or where they come from in the country. . Consequently, they enter into office only to fumble thereby doing a dis-service to society.

Personally, I am under obligation to express my views regarding our way forward as a nation. There are some NPP aspirants that one wonders why on earth should they resign their ministerial positions to contest the leadership race when by all indications they don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of winning-for me, aside one or two ministers, the other ministers resignation is a mystery to me. How could they justify their move to their own children? The only likely answer is ego and they should know that their actions are causing problems for the party they claim to help. A few aspirants and their supporters’ desperation to win the Presidential slot by every possible means have resorted allegedly using money to woo the delegates and applying dirty tricks to cast their opponents in a bad light.

As a Nation we must stand against ethnic and religious segregation and look out for individuals whom we think can do the job for the country. This divisive tendency to examine where the person comes from and his religious background will do no good to this Nation. The significant thing is whether the person has got what it takes to rule this country. Other questions to ask include: Is that person capable of consolidating the democratic credentials of the Party? Can he uphold our constitution? Can he keep the cabinet united? Can he eradicate the THEM and US philosophy; winner-takes-all mentality? Can that individual pass the moral test? Has that individual got sympathy for the poor? Will that individual have respect from our Security Services/Religious Leaders/the international communities? Can he put together Ministers who have good negotiation skills that can have good results for the country?

The time is ripe that as a Nation we unite to push this country forward. Negative attitudes will only retard our developmental agenda. We are one people with one destiny and together let us elect leaders who can bring peace and development to our country. TO the noble Delegates of the NPP made up of astute men and women, I humbly urge you to shun individuals who will use money and play the shameful ethnic and religious card. For the party belong to us all.


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