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Opinions of Sunday, 11 September 2005

Columnist: Antwi, William

It's NDC Time!

THE ANATOMY OF A CREDIBLE OPPOSITION AND POPULAR FRUSTRATION!

As our nation?s woes grow deeper and wider and popular frustration takes center stage in the lives of a great majority of our people, the clarion call for a credible alternative in government becomes even louder. Yes, in such volatile times of patent political, social and economic misdirection by the ruling NPP government, the electorate is bound to look for salvation elsewhere. No matter which way we cast our political chips, Prof Mills and the NDC party readily come to mind. Their recent remarkable showing in Asawase and Odododoidoi coupled with their immense human and material resources surely does justice to this anti-NPP fact. This is no disrespect to the other opposition parties. It is a fact borne out of political reality.

THE NPP/NDC POLITICAL DICHOTOMY:

It is worth recalling here that almost five years ago most political commentators wrote the political obituary of the NDC notwithstanding their respectable showing at the polls in the face of brutal, relentless and well-grounded accusations of incompetence, official corruption and cronyism against the party. We now know that the resurgence of the NDC is due more to the horrendous incompetence and lurid scandals of official corruption of the present do-nothing administration. To most of us the President and his party committed electoral and political fraud and malpractice on our blissfully unsuspecting electorate when they failed to eradicate the still blossoming industry of official corruption. In the process, they armed very dubious characters in the opposition to mount credible accusations of corruption and incompetence against them. In fact, this administration has lost so much respect in the system, that they don?t even have the character and moral wherewithal to deal effectively with armed robbery and white collar crimes. The sad point here is that because of its involvement in official corruption, the NPP has effectively disarmed itself from going full throttle against very dangerous elements in our society. And, of course, we are here talking about public officials who steal in the name of the law (economic bandits) and murderous armed robbers.

It has always been the fervent conviction of the present writer that no economic policy will ever succeed in our kind of political environment in so far as the presidency, parliament and judiciary fully embrace and caress white collar criminals. A nation whose leadership and opinion leaders peddle in blatant lies and half truths in order to protect their undeserved privileges and economic turfs is bound to fail. In fact, for their own perfidious economic and political preservation, our leaders are so consumed by their evil id?e fixe that they continue to ignore the imminent doom of our political system. Even scarier is the fact that there is a terrible price to pay as a nation if we stand aloof and allow these self-indulgent and callously corrupt leaders to continue their evil masterpiece. We have said many a time that democracy is not all about elections every four years. Indeed, the first rule of any democracy is for the nation?s political leaders to build confidence and trust in the people and the institutions of state that anchor the government. It is not about the manipulation of the electoral system so that the baton of state is passed from one corrupt group of individuals to another. It is highly contemptuous to treat democracy as a contest between two evils. The crudity of such insulting suggestion is that it does not take into consideration our peculiar volatile and unpredictable political system. We pretend to forget the historical fact that JUNE 4 exploded upon us notwithstanding the political fact that elections had already taken place and Akuffo?s SMC 11 ready to usher in the late Dr. Hilla Limann?s PNP government! Again, wasn?t there an elected government in place when the Rawlings-led WDCs and PDCs took the nation by storm? And, who stopped them? This is the more reason why some of us continue to insist that since our leaders hold our political destiny in their hands they should do everything ruthlessly right.

Democracy is more about the fair management of our limited resources by our leaders so that each family decently live as human beings. It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand why our leaders do not appreciate this holy, democratic fact.

THE NDC AND OUR POLITICAL DESTINY:

Having said that much, how can the NDC efficiently mine the latent discontent in the country into electoral votes? In other words, how can this once maligned party add any valuable digits to our evolving democracy and thereby improve on the deplorable and desperate conditions of the poor and downtrodden in our society? Can our people for once have faith in the leadership of the NDC party to deliver them from their political and economic malaise?

At times it becomes extremely difficult rooting for the NDC for very obvious reasons. There is practically no way the NDC can run away from its very history. Need we remind the NDC that it is a party borne out of the June 4 and December 31 ?revolutions?? This verily means that probity and accountability in public life should be the weapons that move the NDC leadership. Isn?t this the party whose founding father and most of its leadership led one of the most relentless prosecution of nation?s wreckers and in the process executed some former heads of state? We can?t easily forget how the Citizens Vetting Committee and the tribunals ruthlessly dealt with white collar crimes. Weren?t the George Salamis tried, convicted and executed for orchestration and executing a fraudulent transaction at the New Town Commercial Bank? It is therefore truly mind boggling that these same individuals who saw to these executions can have the moral chutzpah to issue a white paper exonerating individuals who were found to have committed fraud while holding public office. Does it make any godly sense that this same party could be that contemptuous to our moral values by openly supporting a crooked criminal like Serlomey and disgracefully tried to make a national hero out of him? Have they so soon forgotten that our society depends on the moral values and integrity of its leaders for survival? Or have they so soon forgotten the object lessons June 4 and December 31 taught us as a people? Or do they think that our ex-president rose to political prominence by winning the hearts and minds of millions of Ghanaians by virtue of his skin color?

In fact, the NDC has every right to bask in the klieg of their recent easy electoral victories but its leadership must be more concerned now about its vision for the country. Let?s face the truth: The NDC cannot do the nation any good if they calibrate their well-oiled, powerful campaign only on the NPP?s corruption and incompetence. That is, if they are dreaming of returning to power by way of political default then the nation is in for a very terrible ride, yet again. It must be able to distinguish itself from the NPP by advertising the content and integrity of their brand of political, economic and social policies. Indeed, Prof Mills and the NDC cannot afford to offer the nation another wishy-washy form of democracy - a democracy that caters to the corrupt needs of some select few as they did during its stint in power.

Some of us are righteously angry at those who hid behind the ?revolutions? to steal and in the process gave the enemies of the people the green light to re-write history by burying the objective conditions at that time under heaps of vicious lies and arrogance! The NDC must really be thankful to the NPP for giving it another political life and they dare not abuse it. The truism is that had the NPP stayed the course by executing that which they promised the electorate in 2000, the NDC would surely have been political history. This is the right time for the party to show their appreciation to the people by going back to those things that made a hero out of the founding father of the party.

Prof Mills and his NDC can make our democracy go gaga and really burnish its dimming lights if they present plans and schemes which will outdistance our gravest needs. We say all these because rescuing the nation from its socio-politico-economic misfortunes takes more than mere words. Sadly enough, we do not see the NDC coming out swinging in favor of these issues. They are opportunistically capitalizing on the discontent in the country without firmly addressing the real issues facing the people. So we dutifully ask: How is the NDC, as a national party, going to address in concrete terms the following pressing national issues:

1. Official corruption aka white collar crimes: Why? Because how can Prof Mills - and I deeply respect and admire him - and any of the NDC honchos convince any sane Ghanaian that they believe in the rule of law and our democracy if they hobnob with individuals who are basically sworn enemies of the holy concepts of probity and accountability?

2. Assets declaration by our public officials including the president and parliamentarians. Can any of the NDC parliamentarians please raise his or her hand to be counted in this matter? Is the NDC going to amend Article 286 of the constitution should they be voted to power again?

3. Crony capitalism = make believe democracy. How can they expect to build a credible political system devoid of suspicion and anger if individuals in government and their cronies become instant millionaires without telling us where they got their wealth or monies while majority of our people wallow in crippling poverty?

4. Our tottering economy - What new and innovative economic ideas do they have to revamp the economy? Or are they just going to tinker with our already bankrupt economic system?

5. Article 128(1) and the decadence in our judicial system - Are they going to follow suit and pack the Supreme Court? What about the constant delays in prosecuting civil and criminal matters before our courts?

6. Our hugely abused health care and educational systems - Are they going to redeem themselves after contributing in no small measure to the present hopeless conditions in these two delivery systems?

7. Tribalism and nepotism - Is the NDC going to cheapen itself by playing the tribal card to score political points?

8. The official stealing called per diem allowance and car loans for our parliamentarians: - Well, are they going to do away with these daylight robberies of the national coffers?

And finally

9. Destructive arrogance among its political elite - can they just be humble?

The NDC as a party has a whole lot to prove and this is the time. Let the conscientious - the Mills and I don?t mean the Obeds - among them rise up to the occasion and deliver us from the hands of the corruptors else they will be consumed like the rest of us on D-DAY! That is a prediction!

We shall be back.

WILLIAM ANTWI (BAFO) OYOO BUSANGA
(NEW YORK, U.S.A.)


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