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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Columnist: Kotey, Nikoi

Timely (Premature?) Suggestions to the NDC

I do not support any political party in Ghana now; but my sentiments are however with the NDC even though I have impeccable credentials and upbringing in the of Busia-Danquah tradition.

The embryonic democracy in our country needs sustenance. Few things are more important in that regard than the existence of a virile opposition party, for without a political opposition party, the idea of democracy is a mockery

The recent elections results strikingly demonstrate that the NDC is not moribund as the NPP apparatchiks here had wished gleefully or have been orchestrating relentlessly from roof tops. If anything, the performance of the NDC palpably proves that with some essential changes, the party has the potential of grasping political power in the not too distant future. It is on the basis of this potentiality that I offer the following suggestions for the next campaign.

The NDC should decide on the fundamental character of the party. Should the party be perceived only in the image of Rawlings, not necessarily? Like most revolutionaries, Rawlings?s very name is a red flag. There are persons who would vote against anybody that remotely reminds him or her of the Rawlings?s era. Those who hate Rawlings do so virulently, whereas those who love him do so passionately. Rawlings is history; any pivotal role he plays in subsequent campaigns would be backward looking. Election campaigns are about the future.

1) The party should stop campaigning on the past accomplishments else it could go the way of the CPP. As the difficulties of the CPP glaringly exhibits, in every era, the titans that dominate one political system seem incapable of transiting to new era. Our country is developing and the democratic process is deepening. The successful political parties that do not lend themselves to adaptability would ineluctably become the dinosaurs and mastodons of tomorrow. 2) The leaders of NDC should build a party that is more than a quadrennial election machine. Reinventing the wheel every 4 years as is done now puts activists at a disadvantage. 3) The party needs people with energy, enthusiasm and bold to address today?s problems and tomorrow?s hopes. The flag bearer in the recently completed elections was perceived by many to be a puppet. Many considered him to have only ?platform? existence at best. 4) ?Is the NDC dead yet, or fishing?? Change the image of the party as a grouping of non-Akan elements in general and Asantes in particular of the Ghana population. 5) Abandon cookie-cutter campaigns (containing Akan or Asante hegemony). One side does not fit all in politics. It seems from afar that the NDC would like to consider itself as the party that fights for economic, educational and social opportunities for every one whether farmers, blue-color workers, urban and country dwellers. That message must be articulated. 6) The NPP came to power promising Ghanaians the moon. They exaggerated. They misled and deceived. They said things that were outright falsehoods. They have woefully failed. The NDC should not fall in the same trap by out-promising the NPP. The Ghanaian electorates are becoming sophisticated. Gradually they are reaching a stage where they could not be caught by chaff. That is the lesson that the NPP Administration is teaching them. 7) The NPP being a political party of the Busia-Danquah tradition would definitely act according to their undeclared tradition. It is doubtful whether the party?s king makers would nominate the Vice President, a non Akan as the party flag bearer without opening the hidden fissures within the party. The NDC should do well and be prepared to capitalize on that inexorable fault. 8) The economic policy of the NPP is decisively derived from market-oriented philosophy. To their credit, they do not shy away from this tradition. As a result of this, the administration has Thatcherized Ghana-dismantling the social safety net that has served many of the down trodden. This group should be the main target of the NDC.

Many people (including my 80-year old illiterate mother) are already fed up with the NPP. An election is not won only on the electorate being fed up with the governing party as the Tories learned recently in the UK elections. The electorate being fed up is not enough. Voters do not need only negatives reasons for deserting the NPP. They need positive incentives to vote NDC. Therein lays the challenge of the NDC.

The NDC in opposition cannot hope to fight new intellectual battles during an election campaign. It has to initiate and win those years earlier. This is where the Wahala campaigns come in handy. The opposition should rub it in.

The above suggestions should not be construed as my dislike of the NPP or my like of the NDC; it is solely because I love Ghana more. I am itching to witness before my death of a political party regaining power after losing it in a fair elections earlier on.

Author: Nikoi Kotey, 341 Middle Road, Hazlet NJ

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.