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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Cool Heads Must Take Over the NPP

By Kofi Thompson

Someone asked me yesterday, why I had not reacted "to the outrageous words of Ken Ofori-Atta and Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko". Why, had I "not read the abominable things they had both said recently"?

Alas, the trouble with so many of Ghana's educated urban elites who are in politics, is that they constantly underrate the intelligence of ordinary people.

Mrs Kankani Timbilla Boateng and Mr. Kwame Boateng (not their real names to protect their identities), have been happily married for eighteen years - and have seen their union blessed with two brilliant offspring.

They have worked hard over the years to build their own four-bedroomed house at Kasoa - and are struggling to educate their children in good private schools to give them a head-start in life.

When asked in private about the possibility of violence erupting as a result of the Supreme Court deciding against the election petition challenge of the December 2012 presidential election results by Nana Akufo-Addo & two others, they answer with a question of their own: why should they countenance the destruction of Ghana and everything they have struggled to build, just so that a privileged individual can become president with the help of the Supreme Court, despite losing an election?

Yet, they are ardent supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). And therein lies the dilemma faced by the Ken Ofori-Attas and Asare Otchere-Darkos.

The Ken Ofori-Attas and the Gabby Asare Otchere-Darkos may be hopping mad that they are not in power and that Ghana is ruled by a northerner - but not many Ghanaians feel like that, luckily for our nation.

The trouble with Africans who in 21st century Africa still do not realise that no tribe in the continent is superior or inferior to another, is that they live in the past.

Kwame Boateng is an Akan who married a woman from the north, because his world is not filled with stereotypes - so for him it is not an abomination for Ghana to be ruled by a northerner.

There are millions in Ghana today who share the same sentiment.

Many compound-houses in urban Ghana are full of such tolerant individuals.

That is why many of the aspirational individuals who are inclined to vote for the NPP - and did vote for the party's presidential candidate in the December 2012 presidential election - are not hot under the collar: unlike the Ken Ofori-Attas and the Gabby Asare Otchere-Darkos.

The tragedy for Ghana is that there are well-educated Ghanaians who in the 21st century Africa, still say in private that it is an abomination for a northerner to rule Ghana.

And if truth be told that is the motivating factor driving the angst of the Ken Ofori-Attas and Asare Otchere-Darkos in our midst.

Well, that is nonsensical - and those who hold such views really ought to be pitied. All human life is of equal value - and decent people instinctively do what they can to preserve human life for that reason.

That is why Ghana will not burn - just because those who think ruling Ghana is their birthright lost an election.

Ghanaians are not being apathetic. Far from it. They are being pragmatic - precisely because they realise the danger selfish politicians pose to their collective future.

The uncharitable will say that perhaps because deep down they think they are above the laws of Ghana, somehow, the Asare Otchere-Darkos and Ken Ofori-Attas have not considered the possibility of being indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) some day, should they miscalculate.

Well, they will definitely end up before the ICC, for the crimes against humanity that their overblown ideas about themselves could lead them to unwittingly commit - if they don't abandon their arrogant insistence on ruling Ghana willy nilly. Their undemocratic language is irresponsible and most unfortunate.

Has it not occurred to them that their harshest critics will say that what they are now doing is nothing short of inciting the more violent of the millions of myrmidon-types (the confounded My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong blinkered souls) that their party - and the National Democratic Congress - can always rely on, to go on the rampage when that patent falsehood about the Electoral Commissioner conniving with President Mahama to steal the December 2012 presidential election, is finally thrown out by the Supreme Court?

Those in the NPP who have kept cool heads despite losing the December 2012 presidential election, must take their party back from the hands of those whose minds have clearly became affected by the electoral defeat suffered by the NPP's presidential candidate in the December 2012 presidential election.

The NPP needs to reorganise itself - and plan well for the December 2016 presidential election: and run a far smarter election campaign that year.

The leadership of a political party that claims to believe in the rule of law must never contemplate violence of any sort under any circumstances - no matter the provocation.

Let the Ken Ofori-Attas and the Asare Otchere-Darkos remember the wise words of the late J. B. Da Rocha, when they tried to embark on something similar after losing the December 2008 presidential election.

What they are doing is neither in the long-term interest of the NPP nor that of the Ghanaian nation-state - to paraphrase the wise Da Rocha.

Those who play with fire risk being consumed by it. The time has come for cool heads to prevail and take over the NPP. A word to the wise...