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Opinions of Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

NDC: Unity And Tolerance, A Price We Have To Pay For Our Survival

By Kwame Agbodza Fellow Akatamansonians please lend me your eyes for a moment to share these views with. I believe a significant portion of young people in our party don’t feel comfortable about the perceived squabbling in our dear party. Unity and tolerance is always a price worth paying to achieve harmony. We managed to wrestle political power from the NPP by putting forward a united front at the time some said it was impossible for us to win back power because the NPP was entrenched and would do anything to retain power, well; they did all sorts of things, in spite of all the challenges we pulled together as a party and achieved our collective goal. It is therefore sad that one year into our government attrition among rank and file of our party based on a mixture of concerns has reached a crescendo. It appears we are so polarised over issues we could avoid or in a worse scenario be dealt with. We are blessed to have both past and current Presidents in our midst and we must make use of the opportunities we can derive from it. Instead of constantly bickering among ourselves, let us continue to expose the level of damage the NPP has done to our country and the efforts we are making to put things right. We have stabilised the economy and the indicators are looking pretty good indeed, we are making significant investments in agriculture, healthcare, education, crime prevalence is going down, and don’t you think we have a lot to tell Ghanaians? Our party was founded on the virtues of selflessness and hard work. It is therefore no surprise that, we are forging ahead to implement social interventions aimed at making Ghana a better place for us all. As a party, I hope we are not oblivious of the fact that unity and tolerance has always been some of the best weapons in our armoury against our opponents. I remember a speech delivered by our founder the former President Rawlings some time ago when he was addressing a parade of the Security Services and some voluntary organisations at the Independence Square to mark the sixth anniversary of the Fourth Republic. He quipped ''We may have our differences of opinion as individuals and as political and social groupings, but our commitment to the long term national interest must over-ride sectional interests, as a government, it will be wrong for us to claim monopoly of solutions to all our national problems. That is why this government upholds the principle of consultation. Likewise, to be in opposition does not mean you should oppose everything under the sun''. Personally, the former Presidents comments are still relevant today as they were on that faithful day.

It is for these reasons that we need to appreciate the fact that, no individual or group of people within the party can claim to know exactly all that we need to do in the quest to realizing the Batter Ghana agenda. We must all endeavour to eschew greed and selfishness in the interest of unity. We must have the ability to listen to others, make them feel welcomed and part of the better Ghana Agenda. We must have time to consult with the masses through the structures of the party, this is where we can further explain our programs and the steps we ate taking to address their concerns. We must avoid the potential of creating the impression we need the masses for campaigns and dump them until the next election. We the masses must also be realistic in what we expect of our leaders. For instance, we cannot expect our leaders including ministers MCEs, DCE etc. to sit in their offices attending to party matters from 9am to 5pm and still require them to perform creditably in their various capacities; we should not expect them to respond to all our calls 24/7, it is just humanly impossible to do so. The fact that we don’t have instant access to leadership at times should not become a watershed for fomenting dislike for one another on the basis of neglect. The balance must be right. I also believe there must be proper channels where individuals can express their views, comments and suggestions, and these channels must be effective. The president himself has previously encouraged the party leadership to interact more with the part membership. The speech delivered on 7th January 2009 President Mills at the Independence Square as part of his swearing in as the third president of the fourth republic summed up the Presidents desire to ensure unity in our party. Even as the scorching sun beamed upon him after a hectic campaign and electioneering period, he looked calm, focused and sounded like a man hungry to make a difference as a leader. The almost uncontrollable crowds of Ghanaians and foreigners alike struggled to catch a glimpse of the new saviour of our party and motherland. As part of his speech the President remarked "Our politics will not focus on power and privilege; on the contrary, we will not forget the concerns of the Ghanaian people who want to see an improvement in their living conditions. Willingness to put personal advantage aside will therefore be one of the key demands on those who will serve in the Atta Mills government". President Mills, also, reiterated: "I have always said that I will be President for all Ghanaians, whether they voted for me or not, and without consideration for which part of the country they come from. It will be my duty as President to heal wounds and unite our dear nation. I intend to pursue relentlessly, all avenues for entrenching peace and unity in all parts of the country as I am enjoined by the constitution to do. I cannot agree more with the president on his comments. They were timely precise and delivered in the open under the sun so we could all see and hear him clearly. He was setting the agenda for unity, tolerance and responsive governance. How could we ignore all the above noble advices and box ourselves into this quagmire? As a youth member of our party, I sincerely believe that our leaders bear a heavy responsibility for promoting unity, tolerance and positive engagement of our party folks at all levels. For me, President Mills signifies a renewed hope of breaking the vicious cycle dehumanizing poverty by millions of our people especially the youth, under the banner of the Social democratic principle, we can be the generation that turned to tides for the better and place our beloved country on her journey to shared prosperity. This is why we must understand the wailing of these young men and women, they don’t want to be reduced to spectators whiles our dear party appear to be perpetually engrossed in petty quarrels and innuendos due to intolerance and disunity. Our leaders must teach this generation that unity and tolerance cannot be promoted simply by talking.

The cost of disunity, acrimony and intolerance is too heavy to ignore. We must tread carefully in such a way that, show our commitment to our people. It serves no good if all we do is to demonise each other simply because someone has said something we are not comfortable with. Our leaders must emphatically display the unity and tolerance they expect us to practice; indisputably our basic bonds of existence and survival depend on our ability to unit. A Better Ghana Agenda without the necessary cohesion within the party and government will be much difficult to achieve. Intolerance is conquered compassion for one another, just as ignorance is eradicated by knowledge. Let us not forget that we have been given a mandate to deliver a Better Ghana, and we may not be forgiven if we fail to unit and deliver on our promises. I believe we are dong well with the circumstances we find ourselves but we should endeavour to do better.

Let us not forget that, much as our opponents may have their own challenges, they are resourceful enough to exacerbate our challenges by feeding on our perceived disunity and intolerance. As we move ever closer to electing new leaders for our party, I hope the conduct of the campaigns and its aftermath would be carried out in a civil manner. We are Social Democrats; we must avoid the trappings of power and wealth in the midst of millions across the country waiting for their share of the better Ghana. Elect people who are ready to serve not those who can bribe you with money or promises of what they don’t have, it is not in our genes to use money to engineer political results. Let us respect the rules and regulations of our party and also avoid utterances that may inflame unnecessary tensions. We have a greater chance of success if we are united and tolerant, There is no doubt that the government under President Mill have all it takes to deal with the consequences of the depressed state our country was left as a result incompetence and ineptitude perpetuated on us by the NPP under the stewardship of former President Kufour. We can certainly create a better Ghana and that could be our passport to victory in 2012. I am confident that we would all be prepared to pay the little price of unity and tolerance to secure our survival and stable future. I believe we can overcome our differences in the interest of the greater good of majority.

Long Live NDC

Long Live Ghana

God Bless Us All. Kwame Agbodza