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Opinions of Saturday, 29 July 2017

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

NDC: A grouching opposition is never credible

Some of us were old and fortunate enough to have witnessed the despot Rawlings’s PNDC regime (which later metamorphosed into NDC Party), thus we cannot somehow be disappointed about Ghana’s democratic dispensation in spite of the infelicities and extraneous occurrences.

Back then, we witnessed the eccentric and frumpish laws such as the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws which were used excessively by the founder of the NDC Party and former president, Jerry John Rawlings to silence his political opponents.

Truth be told, the founder of the NDC Party, Rawlings, took delight in the laws such as the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws and used them effervescently to silence his opponents and political analysts.

Take, for example, seasoned journalists like Kwaku Baako Jnr and Haruna Atta were imprisoned by the despotic revolutionary Jerry John Rawlings for voicing out their opinions.

Interestingly, it was through the efforts of the then Attorney General in President Kufuor’s NPP government, Nana Akufo-Addo, who worked collaboratively with the forward thinking President Kufuor and repealed the truculent and inhumane Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws in 2001.

“A memorandum on the bill presented to the House by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, stated, "the purpose of the bill is to fulfil the promise of repeal, and thereby demonstrate the Kufuor government's determination to make good its promise to the nation”.

“The memorandum said these laws have come to symbolize authoritarian, anti-democratic impulses within Ghana's body politics which the media have been virtually and vociferously unanimous in demanding their repeal”.

“According to the memorandum, such laws are unworthy of a society seeking to develop on democratic principles on the basis of transparency and accountability in public life” (https://www.modernghana.com/news/.../criminal-libel-law-repealed.html, 30/06/2001).

The repealing of the strikingly outlandish seditious laws, was, as a matter of fact, an unprecedented feat.

Obviously, it paved way for the press freedom we are enjoying at present. Indeed, upon the removal of the dowdy laws , ordinary citizens could express their views without looking behind them.

More importantly, political actors and activists have the illimitable freedom to organise press conferences and demonstrations, sometimes with minimal police resistance.

In the period between 1993 and 2001, despite the advent of democracy, the opposition political parties were toothless and could not organise frequent demonstrations and press conferences.

But due to former President Kufuor and his government’s foresightedness, today, the minority NDC operatives can boundlessly organise press conferences to unfairly attack the same person whose invaluable contributions helped to expunge the libel and seditious laws.

All the same, that epitomises the beauty of democracy. The minority NDC operatives are within their democratic right to whine and speak their piece and criticise the infant NPP administration as they see fit.

In so far as I do not want to accept the widely held assertion that politics is a dirty game, it would not be farfetched to suggest that the political terrain is full of grumbling geezers.

Of course, political manipulators are not limited to Africa, it is a global phenomenon, as a matter of fact.

However, in my view, it is our part of the world (Africa), where political inebriations and insobrieties are so prevalent.

Perhaps, this is so because we have greater number of unlettered folks, many of whom cannot choose between tricksters and morally upstanding politicians.

Make no mistake, the opposition is obliged to put the incumbent government on its toes. But does the opposition NDC have to whine and criticise for criticising sake?

Perhaps, the NDC Party apparatchiks are trying their level best to convince their aggrieved supporters of their consuming desire to recapture power in 2020.

All the same, it is somewhat ironic that the opposition NDC operatives have soon found their voices and squalling and scolding at the roof top about coarse governance and alleged sleazes and corruptions.

To me, it is an illustrative case of let us give a dog a bad name and hang it. Obviously they are trying their level best to bring to the fore the non-existent incompetence, sleazes and corruptions.

Indeed, it beggars belief that despite the unbridled corruptions, the arrogance of power and the irrevocable incompetence by the erstwhile NDC administration which resulted in massive economic collapse, the minority NDC operatives would still have the moral authority to organise press conferences.

But then again, they ought to exercise a great deal of circumspection , limit the extraneous press conferences , consider criticising constructively and put forward alternative policies and programmes.