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Opinions of Monday, 6 June 2011

Columnist: Adinyira, Delali

NDC, Stop This Fonkar And G.A.M.E Game

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AND GO TO THE ROUNDTABLE

By Mr. Delali Adinyira, Afosu-Eastern Region

Hardly does a day pass by without a publication in the media of negative happenings in the NDC. These occurrences are extremely disturbing and threaten the unity of the party hence the need for this write-up.

I have observed, sadly though, that many party faithful and loyalists from all walks of life are getting very worried at these events that have the tendency to divide the rank and file of the party. Sadly, those at the helm of affairs in the party seem not to be concerned or are ignorantly wishing away events. This is evident in their lackadaisical attitude and failure to put in place concrete interventions directed at arresting the situation. The lack of action on the part of the party leadership is leading to severe cracks/divisions in the party.
Some party bigwigs in government are on a media rampage trying to outdo or condemn one another by making unguarded utterances and statements to this effect without asking very serious questions which would help unravel the mystery surrounding current developments in the party as well as criticisms coming from party people and former President Rawlings and find lasting solutions to the issues confronting it. They call this media frenzy activities as positive defiance. I wish to emphatically state that any defiance which breeds enmity, divisions, rancor, acrimony, etc, is not worth the salt of positive defiance. It, therefore, becomes a negative defiance which retards or stagnates progress. Positive defiance is, therefore, actions directed at ensuring the cessation of hostilities, servitude, and puts into gear actions and measures which formulate progress, cohesion, brotherliness, etc which hitherto was amiss or non-existent. So therefore if the actions of those government functionaries and appointees are tearing the party apart and serve as a breeding ground for serious infightings in the party then that defiance is negative and must be stiffly resisted by well-meaning party people with every strength that can be commanded.
If I may ask, do these party bigwigs listen to themselves and weigh the consequences of their actions and utterances? Do they sit down to consider the causes of the accusations and counter-accusations coming from them? One can only believe that they were paid or influenced by enemies of the party who left the NDC to form their own political parties and have now returned to the party to cease the opportunity to foment trouble and pay back Rawlings for openly declaring support for Mills in what has become to be known in political circles as the ‘Swedru Declaration’. Suffice to say that these returnees are back with a motive so we must be alert and watch out for them.
It is very important to thoughtfully consider the open criticisms coming from the Founder of the party and Former President, Jerry John Rawlings and see if there are merits than just openly condemning him and telling him to shut up. Some party bigwigs advance the argument that the NDC during his term of office had its own peculiar challenges and same applies to the Mills-led administration, therefore his criticisms are unfounded and baseless. Is it? If the Mills administration fails to learn from past mistakes of the first NDC then, I am sorry to say that the change we fought for in 2008 was equally unnecessary. For those who forgot, the NDC was voted back to power to correct the mistakes and misdeeds of the past NPP regime. But the Mills-led administration had done nothing within these three years in office to correct these mistakes. What message do we send to the people in 2012 to convince them to renew the mandate? This is a serious cause for alarm as the masses would feel betrayed and this will endanger the chances of the NDC in the 2012 elections.
However, it seems the Mills’ administration is unperturbed and bent on creating more problems for the party than finding solutions to the numerous internal party wrangling. It would be sad to be recorded in the annals of history that it was under the leadership of President Mills as the Leader of the party that the NDC disintegrated. President Mills assumed the office of leader of the party to help solve the problems facing the party, not to create new ones or, at worst, to cause the party to disintegrate. If His Excellency, President John Evans Atta Mills has to live to his attribute as a “man of peace”, then he must ensure peace prevails in his party and not the other way round.
It is worthy to note that just after the NDC assumed the leadership of the country in January, 2009, there emerged the Rawlings, Atta Mills’ factions within the party after the latter’s refusal to listen to the concerns of Former President Rawlings which equally happened to be the concerns of the people at the grassroots. President Mills’ inability to address these growing concerns of the masses has resulted in the creation of divisions and infighting within the party.
One major reason why I think President Mills is unable to address these growing concerns of former President Rawlings and grass-root persons is that, President Mills has surrounded himself with people who are bent on rubbishing and alienating Former President Rawlings because they do not subscribe to the social democratic ideals of the NDC which teaches and practices probity, accountability, and transparency. These people capriciously advise the sitting president against the former in order to advance their selfish motives at paying Former President Rawlings back for the Swedru Declaration, when he handpicked the then Vice President Atta Mills and supported him as his successor. These persons were former close confidants and allies of the then President Rawlings who became peeved and felt that this same man they now hail as God-sent was illegitimate, naïve, and politically immature to seek the high office of the presidency. President Mills has allowed the former loyal friends of Rawlings to be his advisors and therefore Mills has also decide, maybe from their advice, to reject Rawlings’ advice or they have even threatened to leave Mills’ camp if he tries to listen or work with Rawlings.
They, therefore, have devised subtle mechanisms to break the party unity so they can create or join another political party. The subtleness of these people to crush the NDC has informed former First Lady Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings and Dr Spio Garbrah decision to offer themselves to fight for the soul of the party to bring it back to the true ideals it was founded on, by contesting for the flagbearership slot of the party – to bring back the ideals of probity, accountability and transparency since the rank and file of the party are unhappy with the way party issues are being handled. This has also resulted in the formation of several unnecessary groups, key among them are the Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR) and Get Atta Mills Endorsed (GAME). The continuous public exchanges by these groups are not doing the party any good. The open endorsement of these groups, especially by leaders and elders of the party and even Council of State, who should have initiated a ceasefire, must cease now!
The growing unhappiness has resulted in the seizure of toilets and offices, among others, by party faithful at the grassroots whose sacrifice brought the party back to power. As it stands now, the battle for the soul of the NDC has been drawn and the July national congress will decide the fate or otherwise of the party. President Mills may win the July congress but it will be impossible for him to win the general elections without the involvement of former President Rawlings.
These people portray the decision of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings and Spio-Garbrah (who has rescinded his decision) to contest President Mills as a sign of growth of internal democracy within the NDC. This is a ploy calculated at misleading and misinforming the populace in order to divert attention from the true reasons to perpetuate their hidden agenda to control the party, possibly form a new political party, or join another in order to avenge the imposition of the candidature of the then Vice President J. E. A. Mills.
It is high time President Mills as the leader of the party sat down to reflect on the internal party problems and consider the concerns and criticisms of former President Rawlings and grass-root persons in order to save the party the pain and shame of disintegration as it happened in the period leading to the 2000 elections where Goozie Tanor and his people went to form the Reform Party, and in the period after the Koforidua congress where Obed Asamoah and his men equally left the party to form the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP); all these happened because former President Rawlings supported his candidature against the views of these people who thought he was a political novice and new to the NDC. A third split must be avoided this time round that is why it becomes imperative that in the light of brotherliness and for the sake of party unity and cohesiveness President Mills and former President Rawlings must sit down to reason. This is the only way the party could be saved from eminent split and be assured of landslide victory in the 2012 polls. However, if the President thinks he can win the election solely on his achievements without the support and blessings of the former president then he may be seeing things differently from the way independent observers are seeing and may be unreasonably unrealistic. Because Rawlings has endeared himself to Ghanaians with his principles and credentials, and appeals to people of diverse political persuasions therefore it would be politically suicidal to think that the NDC can win any election in this country without the involvement of former President Rawlings whiles he is alive. No wonder the opposition NPP tried to discourage him from joining President Mills in the 2008 elections, knowing very well that he commands a large constituency in and outside the party. President Mills ought to be wary of those who give him the impression that he can win 2012 without Rawlings’ involvement, since no floating voter would vote for a divided party, as the NDC stands now. The 2012 election will certainly be decided by floating voters and the party’s ability to appeal to them would to a large extent brighten its chances. If Rawlings’ sympathizers within the party refuse to vote, as may be the case if he (Rawlings) develops apathy towards 2012, then the NDC is doomed, no matter the achievements of President Mills.
It is the prayer and hope of many party faithful that the July congress becomes a unanimous endorsement of President Mills rather than a contest that would only end up further dividing the party, to the expectation of the opposition NPP. Time is not on our side and the earlier President Mills showed his fatherly character by calling for a family meeting to resolve this problem, the better. The NDC is like a sinking boat that needs urgent attention by a determined and listening captain, else the entire boat sinks with no survivor.
Life in opposition is undesirable that is why all attempts at salvaging the party ought to be made at this particular time, not in 2012 when it would be too late. The elders in the party and the former key members of the party who left and are back, have a critical role to play by calling for a round table forum to comprehensively and openly trash out differences between the various factions within the party. This is not the time to score any points or harbor hatred and bitterness or exhibit retaliatory attitudes. We are one family; together we build, together we succeed.
Therefore I appeal to all party loyalists and sympathizers to join forces in the fight to restore the NDC to its original ideals, bring back hope and pride to every Ghanaian and truly move the country forward in the right direction for national development and prosperity instead of blindly taking sides. Long live the NDC! NDC, the obvious choice!!