You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2017 10 19Article 592255

Opinions of Thursday, 19 October 2017

Columnist: Austin Brako Powers

NDC problem, not biometric register, but commitment

It’s a telling blow that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) cannot boast of genuine members after 25 years in existence. The nettlesome issues raised against the party’s current membership register cast doubts on the party’s influence in the country.

It could be said with some comfort that while the NDC is ageing, it’s not maturing well-enough. This is the major threat to the existence of the party and not its register.

The biometric membership register has been lashed for the party’s harsh defeat in the 2016 general elections. But much as the NDC needs our sympathy for the way things panned out last year, it is important to state that its defeat cannot wholly rest on the party’s register.

It’s true that the register is riddled with errors that no right-thinking party will allow to slide. But chucking the biometric process for a manual one is overly recessive, which NDC members know.

It’s either the party is not being creative or forward-looking. Or maybe both. Else what will motivate a party to spend that amount of money on a biometric registration only to ditch it after identifying some challenges with it?

This latest decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC is purely backward and disingenuous, especially at a time when everything is being automated in the world.

I believe the biometric register can be cleaned without necessarily reverting to the manual registration process.

If there is anything that needs fixing in the NDC, it is the lack of commitment within the party. I see the issue more as a function of the party not being committed to its members than the reverse.

This became clear during the regime of Ex-President John Dramani Mahama. The party’s grassroots members were alienated by government officials who only looked out for their interest.

It was difficult for a party member to get a job under the past administration, despite the glamorous promises by the then President.

Although the past regime had more young ministers, the youth of the party felt left out because those who benefited were either close to a government official or had to bulldoze their way through.

The reality was that while government appointees put on weight, the youth in the party grew leaner day by day.

The signs were on the wall, but the NDC failed to read them because some people lied to Mr Mahama that the party was ever strong at the grassroots.

What happened was that more of the youth decided not to vote as a form of punishment for the government.

The pathetic performance of the NDC in the Volta, Central, Brong Ahafo and Greater Regions in last year’s polls was self-inflicted.

I think the NDC will not need to ditch its biometric register for a manual register if it works on its commitment towards party members.

The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has shown the way with the appointment of grassroots members and the NDC needs to learn fast in opposition.