You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2011 11 12Article 223237

Opinions of Saturday, 12 November 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Is “NDC Founder” Title an Honorary Degree?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I still stand by the caption of an article that I recently wrote and had published, which categorically suggested that the membership of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) may have a monopoly over political stupidity in Ghana – and even, perhaps, on the entire African continent, when one stops to ponder the party’s key operatives’ recent manic bout of shadow-boxing with British Prime Minister David Cameron, over the fundamental rights of homosexuals in civilized societies. Now I am beginning to seriously regret my legion references to Ghana as a civilized polity and culture in some of my previous articles. We shall, of course, revisit the Cameron-Mills question in another article shortly.

For now, the focus of our conversation is on the call by Alhaji Iddrisu Bature, managing-editor of the “Al-Hajj” newspaper, for former President Jerry John Rawlings to be stripped of his title of “NDC Founder” and Chairman of the ruling party’s Council of Elders. My lay-person’s understanding of the “founder” of any organization is that the person so recognized was primarily responsible for the establishment of the same. Alhaji Bature’s call thus harks back to what I have always suspected – the fact that the erstwhile Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) was opportunistically morphed into a political party called the National Democratic Congress, in order to facilely take advantage of the name recognition and perennial dominance of Mr. Rawlings on the Ghanaian political landscape on the eve of the 1992 promulgation of the Fourth-Republican Constitution of Ghana.
That Alhaji Bature is not the only prominent figure associated with the NDC who has called for the stripping of Mr. Rawlings of the title of “NDC Founder,” further clinches my long-held suspicion, at least on the face of it. Recently, for instance, Dr. Obed Asamoah, the prodigal returnee and former National Chairman of the NDC, publicly stated that Mr. Rawlings has never in reality been regarded as the founder of the so-called National Democratic Congress. I guess this is partly Dr. Asamoah’s way of indicating to Ghana’s longest-serving strongman that it is payback time for having stampeded the former Legon law lecturer out of the party during the Koforidua Congress, and onto the inclement margins of Ghanaian politics for some four, or so, years.
While the entire proposition is bizarrely absurd, nevertheless, it is squarely in keeping with the NDC/CPP’s history of abject propaganda and crass mendacity. And on the latter score, I must promptly alert the reader to the fact that fundamentally, I recognize no remarkable difference between the rump-Convention People’s Party and the NDC, both in terms of ideological lineage and the people who make up both pseudo-political parties.
Anyway, what makes the call for the stripping of Mr. Rawlings of the title of “NDC Founder” rather intriguingly grotesque is two-fold. First is the allegation that in endorsing his wife’s presidential candidacy in the lead-up to the Sunyani primary, the former president had “stated emphatically that the NDC started losing the 2012 elections right from the first week [that] Professor Mills became president” (See “Bature: Strip Rawlings of ‘NDC Founder’ Position” 5/5/11). If the foregoing quote has veracity, then such observation may be the strongest self-indictment of the abjectly poor judgment of Mr. Rawlings in cavalierly presuming to impose a grossly incompetent presidential candidate on both the members and supporters of the National Democratic Congress, on the one hand, and Ghanaians at large. In sum, the unmistakable implication here is that Mr. Rawlings maybe guilty of criminally causing the hijacking of Ghanaian political culture and the regression of the country at all levels of endeavor.
The other criminal breach, at least in the opinion of Alhaji Bature, is that Mr. Rawlings had upended protocol by deciding to back the presidential candidacy of his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, against a presidential incumbent running for reelection. For the managing-editor of the “Al-Hajj” newspaper, being recognized as NDC Founder necessitated a stance of neutrality on the part of Mr. Rawlings. The latter grievance is, of course, moot, unless Alhaji Bature can specifically point to any party decree or constitutional article exhorting the same.
It may also be recalled that in the lead-up to the Sunyani presidential primary, Alhaji Bature had, indeed, advised Mr. Rawlings to “relinquish his position as founder of the NDC and become the campaign manager for his wife.” Personally, I find the latter call to be both undemocratic and immitigably offensive, as well as downright condescending. For what made Alhaji Bature so harshly arrive at the conclusion that just because Mr. Rawlings had endorsed his wife’s run against the man that he personally handpicked and mentored through three electoral cycles, logically the retired dictator necessarily desired the job of manager of his wife’s campaign team?
As for Alhaji Bature’s comparison of the Rawlingses’ megalomaniacal ambitions to that of ousted President Laurent Gbagbo, it is borne out of sheer hypocrisy, in view of the fact that the “Al-Hajj” newspaper editor has been a staunch supporter of Sogakope Jeremiah since December 31, 1981. What still piques my curiosity, though, is precisely what it means to be designated and recognized as THE FOUNDER, not just one of the founders, of any organization, civic or political. Maybe Dr. Obed Yao “Abongo Boy” Asamoah could shed some light in this direction.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: