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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Columnist: Bomfeh Jnr, Kwabena

Kumbungu speaks? who is listening?


The Kumbungu Parliamentary bye-election came to a close on Thursday, May 2, 2013 with the CPP candidate, Amadu Moses Yahaya pulling over thirteen thousand (13,000) votes to win at the polls. The election of Amadu Moses Yahaya has saved the CPP from virtually going extinct atleast in Parliament. Several reasons have been given and are being proffered as having led to the sweet victory for the CPP and many more are those individuals and groups seeking to take credit for Kumbungu reminiscent of what Indira Gandhi once said; *“there are two kinds of people in politics; those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be with the former because there is less competition there.” *

Instead of fighting over who should take the credit, this article seeks to focus on some useful lessons the outcome of the Kumbungu bye election offers to the various players in our political sphere. But who is listening or going to pay heed to them?

*Take it or leave it, the outcome of the bye election was a verdict on the poor performance of the ruling NDC.* As a believer in parliamentary election to be won on the merit of the candidate rather than the party on whose ticket he/she runs, I am not unaware of the fact that all bye elections under the Fourth Republic have always been a verdict on the performance of the incumbent Party. Considering the fact that the NDC has always held this seat, and less than a year before had won the seat with over eighteen thousand (18,000) votes, to trail the winner with about eleven thousand (11,000) votes under the circumstance of a lower voter turnout, *speaks volumes of the lack of faith, confidence and any hope in the manner in which the NDC is governing the nation. Is the NDC listening? *

Also within the NDC is the rumour of cracks which may have accompanied the departure of Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni whose departure created the bye-election. The confusion that has rocked the governing NDC as a result of a careless power play at the seat of government, shift of loyalties in the face the call for attention to the roles played in the beleaguered 2012 presidential election victory. At the root of all this confusion is the struggle over the ideological question within the NDC – whether it is a Rawlingsist Party or claiming association with Nkrumahism. Certainly, all is not well with and within the National Democratic Congress and it does not appear to have the capacity to deal with its confusion anytime soon.

The most important lessons may be for the CPP and PNC more than the NDC or NPP. Kumbungu has proved the sense in combining efforts if not coming together than going separate ways for the CPP and PNC. They are in reality one party split by the unfortunate circumstances of the unnecessary intervention of the PNDC/NDC and covert operation of the NDC never to see them unite through infiltration and sabotage. Atleast Kumbungu has shown the way, and I hope both parties would take the lesson seriously. Their unity of purpose there elevated the visibility of the Party and enhanced their reach within the space of the constituency. They covered more ground and captured lots of votes.

The remarkable fact of history also revealed by Kumbungu is that the CPP’s strongholds have all been taken over or are occupied by the NDC. Almost a half of the people in the NDC today would simply claim their roots to the CPP tradition than the CPP as a Party. Given the right messages and packaging, the CPP can win such persons who mostly were misled into accepting the NDC as part of the CPP tradition. Sound Strategy inbuilt with Tact is the sure way for the CPP in this particular lesson.

Amadu Moses Yahaya, was a sure candidate whose choice by the Party show what a credible and resonating candidate can do to soar up the fortunes of the Party and her Message. The Messenger must be as important as the Message itself. The CPP must begin to target candidates who, in their own right have offered and/or are offering something worthwhile among the locals. There must be a connection between the people and the candidate. A candidate who affects the lives of the people beyond politics is easy to sell among the electorate than someone who is yet to be known among the masses.

Kumbungu also teaches the need to ensure clean, clear, transparent and law abiding polls. The constitutional and statutory violations, malpractices and irregularities which characterised the December 2012 elections were absent in Kumbungu. *Given a free and fair ground where manipulation of any kind is absent, all parties will score the true will and wish of the people. There are some seats that but for those attendant irregularities, malpractices and violations in 2012 would have gone the CPP’s way. Strict adherence of electoral laws and practices is therefore imperative!*

The absence of the NPP in the election has something for both the CPP and NPP. *Ghana traditionally has been divided between the Left Wing, CPP and Right Wing, NPP till the intrusion of the nauseating intermeddler, NDC in the Fourth Republic.* There are seats which for the obvious reason of historical antecedents may never vote for the NPP or vote for the CPP. It is therefore easy for the CPP in this particular case to win such anti-NPP seats from the NDC than the NPP winning itself. Unlike the 1966 coup which benefitted the NPP tradition, the PNDC intrusion negatively affected both CPP and NPP traditions. The NPP may have had some other reason for not contesting Kumbungu, but in future there must be a conscious effort on the part of both parties to work out a mutually beneficial arrangement targeting constituencies with similar historical facts. The NPP must be reminded that, there is no way they can ever win all 275 seats in Parliament.

*The NDC is the only party which really has neither a democratic tradition nor an ideological base that serves as its guiding principles. What many forget is that the NDC was never conceived as a political Party. It was the product of an unguarded governing machine forced by pressure from within and without to return the nation to a Democratic Republic. It’s engulfed in so much internal confusion as to what should be the direction of the Party that its confusion is further compounded with the mistake of entrusting them with the responsibility of which direction to take the country. To sanitize the political space therefore is to restore the clarity of ideological paths; introduce a system of embracing the synthesis of two clear systems; and build best practices for sincere, patriotic dedicated men and women of love for country to make Ghana a better place for all to rise to the fullest of their potentials. *

Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr