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Opinions of Saturday, 9 July 2011

Columnist: Acquaye, Nii Odankwa

NDC: New Dawn of Courage - All Eyes Are Watching!!!

By Nii Odankwa Acquaye

It is no secret at all, that all eyes (of all political parties), are on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) due to their long awaited ‘history-making’ congress to elect a flag bearer for the 2012 elections. A lot has been said, tempers have arisen, and people have been threatened and hurt both mentally and physically in the run up to the Congress due to the re-emergence of factions within the party. This is not so unusual, as other parties experience factions as well, although some might not want to call the spade a spade. However, it is the scale of divisions and how these divisions are managed that should be of great concern to the well-meaning populace.

It is true that precedence has been set for almost two decades now, where a sitting president is automatically endorsed by their party to contest the presidential election for a constitutionally approved second term. The NDC has had a lot of criticisms for trying to break with tradition but has anyone thought of why a president’s term is four years and not eight years? Has the NDC really committed a crime? Definitely not; however, they are themselves in the foot as it goes to say that they have no confidence in their leader, the president. It is just like going for a vote of no confidence in a Prime Minister.

Many NDC party members have publicly emphasised their disappointment in the performance of President Mills, a situation which arms the other political parties, especially the main opposition party, New Patriotic Party (NPP) with all sorts of ammunition come the launch of campaigns for the 2012 elections. The disappointment with the current president by his own folks amongst other things is informed by his inability to jail suspected corrupt officials in the previous NPP government and even in the current NDC government. Although the government has tried to reign in the suspected corrupt officials, it has failed to find sufficient evidence to put these suspected corrupt officials behind bars. When the NPP was in power and it asked for evidence on allegations of corruption, the then government became a laughing stock to the opposition. What do we have now, a government that also believes in ample evidence to substantiate allegations. Are politicians across the several political parties learning from all these?

Another reason for the discontent of NDC faithful with the president is his inability to find the killers of the former overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II. How many promises made by politicians during electioneering campaigns are ever fulfilled? Probably not many. The NDC vowed to find the killers of the Ya-Na and upon failing to do so, incurred the wrath of all including their own members, some of whom have publicly declared that they voted for the party because of that promise to find the killers of the Ya-Na. Should our politicians not desist from making such unwise statements? The NPP when in opposition prior to the 2000 elections also claimed to stop the serial murders then plaguing the country, should they come into power. The NDC capitalised on that statement to say the NPP had something to do with the serial murders. Whether the demise of the serial murders post the 2000 elections was the doing of the NPP, we may never know, but it may just be a coincidence. Our politicians seem not to learn from their experiences and those of others and seem to always shoot themselves in the foot.

Considering the way politicians (irrespective of their party affiliation) take the populace for granted, perhaps the current situation of an internal plot to unseat a president should be a wake-up call to all future presidents. The NPP learnt a great lesson (well I hope so) when in the last year of its reign did not check arrogant (information) ministers, awarded medals to undeserving ministers and wasted the task payers money to jail allegedly corrupt NDC persons only to release them on presidential pardon after a few months in jail. The electorate have developed a great taste for punishing governments with the seal of the thumb on election days, but I doubt politicians have noticed that.

In the midst of all the divisions and pains of deceit, we should never forget that the most important thing is the nation’s peace and stability. The NDC itself has accepted a trend of violence and fallouts during and after their congresses and that is exactly what people are expecting now, especially with the current bitter factionalism within the party. Is the NDC willing to prove everyone wrong? Can they have a peaceful congress and emerge with great love amongst the different factions? I hope so, because the whole of Ghana is watching, and their ability to effectively manage a congress will determine if they deserve a second term to manage a whole nation.

I really hope the NDC is able to be a worthy pacesetter in breaking with tradition to keep sitting presidents and their governments on their toes. The NDC is attempting a feat that has not been ventured before; it is a New Dawn of Courage to have the guts to challenge a sitting president within his own party. All eyes are watching to see what becomes of this much awaited congress, whether it will be nationally and democratically informed. Remember, Peace Surpasses any Selfish Individual and/or Political Ambitions!

I take this opportunity to wish the NDC a successful congress, in their continuing attempt at practising democracy.