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Opinions of Monday, 15 September 2014

Columnist: Asare, Kwame Ohene

Alan Cash is caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

- By Kwame Ohene Asare Esq

All appears to be set for the NPP’s congress on 18th October 2014 which for good reason is being hailed as a laudable exercise in Democracy. With only 3 candidates in the frame the delegates’ vote seem quite cut out at the moment.
However, this is not a moment for the NPP to be engaged in any exchange of rhetorical flourishes in order to score any political points against one another, rather, more so than ever sober judgement and a political sense of proportion are what are needed. It is also not a time for the party to overindulge itself with self-praise over its democratic credentials and to unduly champion the use of the ballot box as the means to achieving its democratic ends. Whilst the NPP is more than capable of successfully managing the pending presidential primary, it will be one too many of the risks it has to scale on its journey to the Jubilee House and for what purpose? Not to talk of the credence it will give to the perception that the party is not united.

The most popular definition of Democracy is that it is a government by the people; especially: rule of the majority. There is no other purpose to the use of the ballot box but to establish the Majority view. Even as things stand with an expanded college, if one has to be obstructively pedantic, it can be contended that unless you subject NPP's leadership contest to a vote by the entire membership you are unable to determine the view of the majority. However, if the entire leadership of the NPP at this time do not know without recourse to the ballot box as to who is the most popular of its candidates then God save our country if they should take over government, but surely they do know what the score is! If there was any doubt at all, the recently held special delegates conference has put paid to all that. I do not wish to oversell the idea of electing a leader without carrying out a vote, for fear that one day a loud faction in a leadership election could well abuse it.

However, at this time in its history no one in the NPP with any sense of proportion can genuinely believe that scoring 8% of a genuine sample of a larger pool of potential voters can realistically provide Alan Kyerematen with a fighting chance of success at the impending congress of 140,000 delegates. The question which that begs is why does the party still appear to have a leadership race? The answer may yet lie in the 'Supremacy of the Party's constitution exploited by the ‘obduracy and obstinacy of an infinitesimal minority'. Undoubtedly, democracy provides for respecting the views of the minority but not for the majority to be held ransom to manipulation by a small minority.

If the recently held NPP Special Delegates conference is in any way representative of the 140,000 or so who are likely to vote at the Congress on 18th October 2014, then it is statistically impossible for NPP's Allan Kyerematen to win against the formidable and invincible Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo. Wining only a mere 7.98% against Nana Addo's overwhelming 80.7% support should inform Kyerematen, an Economist and a Lawyer, of his chances. Statistically the only floating voters here are just a subset of the 11.32% who neither voted for Nana Addo nor Allan, in the event that the Mampong MP also drops out as have other contestants. Furthermore, assuming that Alan shares these votes equally with Nana Addo, then the best he can do is to score a paltry 13% or so at the National Delegates conference.

Even in the event that all the non-Nana Addo cum non-Alan voters are to vote for Alan, the best outcome for him will be circa 19%. The Worst outcome for him is that he may well score less than his 7.98% and score say an all time low of 5%.

The NPP is well-primed to snatch power from the NDC. After losing the court battle in the most undignified manner I would be surprised if they would be prepared to tolerate any detractors, even if it is Alan Cash.

There are no more than a handful of politicians worldwide in contemporary history, who stand as tall as Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo in terms of experience, both political and otherwise, vying for political office. Still as determined as he is, to undergo the rigours of election notwithstanding his earlier questionable election defeat, not to talk of the ensuing Court debacle, the man appears rather unassailable.

As they say, money cannot buy you everything. I have never found this adage truer now than ever - as Alan Kyerematen battles for the leadership of his party.

After the special delegates’ conference, he finds himself stranded, caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. The Devil has enough rich victims already and doesn't need NPP's Alan to make its work difficult. On the other hand the sea has no life, no emotion and has no use for money, you would have to swim for your life and in this case Alan would have to do so against a really fierce tide. And it is rather intriguing for him to appear to want to do so.

It is postulated that if he acts, he will be damned and if he doesn't, the alleged 'fatal injuries' will ensure his political demise. He is being urged to withdraw by big wigs in his own party and encouraged to persist, surprisingly, by Kweku Baako, as well as other dubious commentators, including the once failed Presidential aspirant, Dr Arthur Kennedy, who believes the use of violence is an issue and indeed for whom anything more than 1 vote out of 2,000 or so may seem like an outstanding performance.

Needless to say, If his object still remains winning his Party's flagbearer for election 2016 then his prospects are now zilch. Mr Kyeremanten has zero prospects of doing so against his veteran arch-rival Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo. However, his concern remains that leaving the competition at a time when circumstances suggest that he has only 8% following is to say the least, detrimental to his political fortunes and stature.

From this level, his only option appears to be to endeavour to regain some serious credibility by throwing huge sums of money at the delegates and to engage in a huge propaganda warfare against his arch-rival, possibly throwing some dirt at him, as indirectly suggested by Dr Kennedy. Already, his agents have started questioning the fairness of the Special Delegates conference and helping the NDC to hurl accusations of ineptitude against the NPP in the handling of its own affairs!

This will all be simply in furtherance of his personal ambition to be President and although he may well exceed his 8% performance in the event of a contest at congress, it will definitely not inure to the benefit of his party. It will not be the first time this gentleman would have allowed his personal motivation to triumph over the public good. It is not unknown that he once resigned from his party when it was most likely to visit some adverse consequences upon his party. It was shocking!!

It is my view that without the counsel of well meaning and selfless friends, NPP's Alan Kyerematen, would by now be feeling a sense of helplessness arising from his resounding defeat by his more senior rival. Such a situation calls for a firmness of mind and an ability to make quick judgments and decisions, the mark of effective leadership. For someone who so desperately wants to be president, this should not have been difficult but an overwhelming desire for power which appears so elusive can corrupt the mind. In my view, Kweku Baako is wrong to suggest that Alan is finished if he discontinues the challenge. Whether Alan proceeds in this competition or not, he will have enormous competition should he return in future to contest for the leadership of the New Patriotic Party. No one will accept him as an automatic successor to Nana Addo. In my view, it does not matter how he has performed now, if he desires to come back in future, he has 4 or more years to prepare for that and he had better reserve his resources for that. A good stint as a Government Minister in Nana Addo’s Government will do him the greatest service. Going for congress will only sink him further and indeed for good; there will be too many instances of wrong and ‘un-presidential’ judgments for his opponents to point to! Worse still Alan is already losing any bargaining power that he had for negotiating for a significant role in Nana Addo’s Government.

If a man engages in a fight/battle, knowing full well that the outcome is rather forgone and indeed that he will lose that battle then his intentions can be seriously questionable.

There is only one desirable motive that Alan could have had in persisting in fighting his rather unassailable opponent – that is, if he were to require that platform to propagate and thus debate a Big Idea for developing our Nation and that his opponent does not support his view. However, the NPP's Alan Kyerematen is well known in his party, he has no major policy disagreement with his opponent and indeed not known outside Presidential primaries, to pit his wits even against the NDC. To have suddenly discovered one at this time would be the most derisible shenanigan in political history.

Consequently a vote for Alan would just be to nurse the wounds he suffered from his resounding defeat at the special delegates’ conference. It would not be for any noble cause. We disrespect the just ends of the democratic process when we so brazenly ignore the obvious wishes of the preponderant majority. Democracy is a much higher calling than the sheer exercise of democratic rights – the scripted attempt by a written constitution to achieve the democratic ends.

On the other hand, every vote for Nana Addo will be speaking volumes to the whole Nation, that the Party is poised for power, united now, more than ever, to pull Ghana out of the economic doldrums and to move the Country forward.