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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Columnist: Ali, Justice

How to get to the fourth gear quickly, Mr. President

The young Democrats wish to congratulate both parties for the way and manner they conducted themselves during and after the SC verdict. This has indeed deepened our democratic credentials and placed Ghana once again ahead of her peers.
We also use this opportunity to congratulate the founder of our great party (NDC) JJ Rawlings for the Honorary PhD award conferred on him by the University for Development Studies, we say Ayeekoo!
We want to highlight some very important observations the founder has made quite recently; the first of this observation has to do with expanding the electoral college of our great party. We see this call to have come at the right time and accordingly expect the party executives to take pragmatic steps to ensuring that the party’s Electoral College is expanded and made operational for use by the upcoming election when new crop of executives and flagbearer for 2016 elections are to be elected. In expanding the Electoral College, the committee to oversee the fruition of all this important occasion should consider the scope and qualification of those entitled to vote. In order to maintain a level playing field, the Young Democrats wish to suggest that NDC should do even better than NPP did and allow all elected party officials to vote, from ward level to branch and then to constituency level. At the same time, the good intention to introduce biometric methods should never lead to present executives overstaying in office in order to supervise this. Otherwise, any President could always introduce a new government proposal and ask to stay longer in office in order to implement it. NDC executives should abide by the current party Constitution and give way to new or re-elected executives who can supervise any new ideas in the party.
The second observation is the calls from the general public on HE John Mahama to weed out miscreants that have engulfed his presidency. The Founder is privy to information that he (JM) is unaware of and reserves the right to advise the president, for the one constructing a road does not know how crooked the road is. We the Young Democrats highly respect the views of the party Founder and call on the President to take the necessary steps to address this issue. As stated by Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and I quote, “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” Your Excellency, the future of the NDC as far as electoral victory is concerned depends largely on the men and women steering the affairs of the state and connecting with the grassroots and how proactive and innovative they are. Undoubtedly, our great party is immensely blessed with such personalities. Before writing this press statement, I asked a good friend of mine who was very good at current affairs and could mention the names of all the ministers and government appointees of past governments such as those of JJ and Kufour. Unfortunately, this time he failed my test and could not mention the names of both the substantive and deputy ministers of very important ministries. His reason simply is that he hardly hears of them publicly discussing government policies or their own developmental initiative(s). In conclusion, he saw nothing good going on.
The Young Democrats, in our congratulatory message on the occasion of your swearing in, urged you to use your good office to unite all the feuding factions within the party so that you can better govern our dear nation Ghana. As at the time we were writing this statement, we were yet to be told some of the efforts made by both the office of the President and the national executives in initiating any talks with NDP and other individuals who are sidelined. Politics is about numbers, every individual matters in the party, and everyone who is sidelined has friends, family and admirers equally who get angry with the President and the party leadership because of that. We should eschew politics of vindictiveness and come to the understanding that our great party is a social party founded by great men of vision. Unfortunately, as Hon Alban Bagbin and Dr Tony Aidoo have complained about on radio, there are many NDC men and women whose views are neither sought for nor respected for reasons best known to those who now matter in government and in the party. Where are the likes of Dr Kwame Ampfo, Dr Spio Garbrah, Kwaku Anyedohu, Victor Smith, Offuso Ampofo, Alex Segbafia, Cletus Avoka, Kuntu Blankson, Lee Ocran and the list continues. All these people are sidelined today after putting their lives in danger at the EC strong room, at rallies and at media talk shows to get JEAM into office and consolidating that victory yet again in 2012. In Niccolò Machiavelli’s book, the Prince stated and I quote “He who becomes a Prince through the favour of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do, since all they ask is not to be oppressed”. This same party faithfuls who are marginalized continue to vote for the party. Are their votes needed or not? The national executives and the leader of our party got to answer this question. Let us not forget that we won by just an excess of 300,000 votes and we know very well that, had NDP gotten the nod to participate in the 2012 presidential election, we particularly the national executives, would have been blaming ourselves in opposition for not making any efforts to discourage the NDP from breaking away.
Your Excellency JM, in your bid to change towards the fourth gear we the Young Democrats wish to call on you to reflect on the aforementioned issues for the future of our great party and good services to the people of Ghana. Vindictiveness has no future in our party and the earlier we bring everyone on board the better our electoral victory in 2016 and beyond. HE JM, it is an undeniable fact that those aforementioned personalities in our party have vast experience as far as politics and governance is concerned, our expectations is that even in your second gear, these distinguished men of our party are given key ministerial or other positions, with the young ones of our party deputizing and learning from them to be better equipped for future takeover. The grassroots of our party yearns to see men such as Dr Ekow Spio-Garbah who distinguished himself as one of the best ministers in the era of our great Founder JJ Rawlings and the likes to be called upon one more time to contribute their quota to develop mother Ghana. Most Young Democrats wonder why Mr President is never making use of Dr Spio-Garbrah in anyway, especially because Mr President and he worked in the same Ministry of Communications in the late ‘90s, when some of us were in secondary schools. We saw them working well together on issues such as VAT which has now come to stay for the benefit of Ghana. Now that the NDC Secretary General Nketiah has told the world that there is a communication problem in NDC, and Victoria Hammah’s unguarded statements have also confirmed it, why can’t the President ask his friend Uncle Spio for help? Many of us are asking where Uncle Spio is and what has he done wrong to be shunned by President Mahama.
As for the idea of fourth gear, I think Mr President should have used another example. NPP members are teasing us that any driver knows s/he cannot drive a car for even 5 minutes in first gear. So they wonder how our President, who has been in office since July 2012, and was Vice President for 4 years can still be in first gear. The President should try to get into fourth gear before the end of 2013, as one can drive in fourth gear for as long as he wants, but not first gear. The Young Democrats also call on the party’s national executive council to resume talks on the expansion of the Electoral College and to come out with a timetable for the elections right from the polling station and to the national level. We also wish to encourage all party faithfuls who wish to vie for positions in the party to freely declare their intentions when the time comes for the party is a democratic party.

In conclusion Mr. President, we pray that the God Lord would grant you support to deliver to the good people of Ghana, the Better Ghana Agenda we promised. We the Young Democrats would continue to proffer constructive criticisms and ideas for ‘‘There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” Niccolò Machiavelli, Prince.

Long live Ghana, Long live NDC!

Signed by
Prince Justice Ali (the communications director of young democrats)
Small Hillia ( the convener of young democrats)