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Opinions of Thursday, 30 March 2017

Columnist: Africanus Owusu-Ansah

NDC won’t go quietly

National Democratic Congress National Democratic Congress

By: Africanus Owusu-Ansah

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

(Winston Churchill)

LADY DIANA (nee Spencer), like Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of assassinated U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was an icon. Her beauty and charm got her betrothed to Charles, Prince of Wales and the marriage was consummated in a lavish wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral, London on Wednesday, 29th July, 1981.

The marriage was ruffled, after they had got two heirs to the throne and fingers pointed at Mrs Parker Bowles. Diana said: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

Lady Diana, born on 1st July, 1961 was killed in a high speed car accident on 31st August, 1997 at Pont de l’Alma, Paris France, with her lover Dodi Fayed. There was a separation of the marriage with Charles in 1992 and a divorce in 1996.

In November, 1995, Lady Diana was interviewed for BBC by Martin Bashir, at which she talked freely about the infidelities within the royal marriage, her postpartum depression and buliama nervosa, her children, the media, and even the monarchy, expressing doubts about Charles ever becoming King. Diana would not go quietly, nor would Mrs Parker Bowles. Diana opened up “I’ll fight to the end because I believe that I have a role to fulfill. I’m a very strong person….”

NDC, like Diana, would not go quietly. There is internal strife and mutual disquiet over the ignominious defeat of November 7, 2016. Angry supporters are accusing Kofi Adams, Siidi Abubakar and Fred Agbenyo, the NDC campaign team of doing ‘lazy job.’ Some are threatening to beat the party executives, to the point of issuing death threats. The supporters accuse the campaign team of pocketing money meant for campaign. The party offices in various places, including Kumasi, were locked up. The lock-up of the Kumasi office was done by Yakubu Tony Aidoo- to punish the executives who, in his view, had been responsible for the crushing defeat.

Kofi Adams accepted responsibility for the agonizing defeat which he attributed to IT failure, but Afrifa Yamoah Ponkoh would not spare Kofi Adams whom he blamed for incompetence as a campaign team leader. Yamoah Ponkoh yelled: “I laughed it off when I heard Kofi Adams saying he should be blamed for our defeat. He should stop irritating our ears; why should he accept the blame; why did he accept to be the National campaign coordinator when he knew that he was going to fail us?……. it is an unforgivable sin……… Andy Okrah and Kofi Adams need to be hanged for our defeat……. They have no excuse to give.’’

There was hullabaloo when a request was made by the Functional Executive of the NDC at a meeting to seek financial assistance from former appointees of the Mahama administration. At least one ex-Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Ms Shirley Ayittey, is alleged to have sworn not to contribute a dime towards the management of the party unless the National Executives accounted for campaign funds donated to the party. Yaw Boateng Gyan, the former NDC National Organizer had predicted doom for the party if the internal bickering should continue. Allotey Jacobs, the Central Regional Chairman of the NDC, had threatened to throw up a bombshell that could scatter the NDC.

Missiles are now being thrown by a pro-NDC pressure group, the Action Movement of the NDC; this group accuses Mahama and the ‘greedy bastards’ of sending the party into forced opposition. The group further accuses Mahama’s brothers of contributing to the NDC loss. The brothers were accused of collecting all contracts from the Airport, roads. Cocobod, GNPC, ECG, VRA, Ministry of Power and many major contracts. At the Accra Conference Centre on Monday, 27 March, 2017, the Action Movement leader, Kodzo Hamenya Keglo noted that Mahama appointed ‘greedy bastards’ who knew nothing about their work. One other reason for the defeat was the point Mahama made referring to himself as a ‘dead goat’– a statement he made in Botswana to indicate his nonchalance about what was happening to Ghanaians and his fate in the 2016 election.

The former First Lady was not spared in the tirade by the Action Movement. She was accused of getting T-shirts printed in China, instead of Ghana which could have provided jobs or Ghanaians. She had also got ‘mayafi’ (scarves) embossed with her picture—these too produced in China. The group mentioned the appointment of Kwabena Opuni, CEO of Cocobod, the changing of Gbevlo Lartey and replacing him with Yaw Donkor as the security coordinator as contributory to the NDC failure to get Mahama re-elected.

All these goings-on in the NDC have come at a time the party has nominated Dr Kwesi Botchway to lead a 13- member committee to go round the country to give audience to party supporters in a bid to unravel the mystery surrounding their defeat. The Committee, approved by the Council of Elders is to conduct a hearing among the rank and file of supporters with a view to restructuring the party, if need be. The Kwesi Botchwey committee has, according to Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary, 90 days to submit its report to the party. But the committee has not had things easy, to begin with. At various places, including Koforidua, the committee meetings have had rough times, with the members even sometimes being roughed up.

One is tempted to ask: what does the committee seek to find? So the NDC did not see the writing on the wall during the campaign. ‘ Ahomasoo’, ‘ dwee’- arrogance, pride- were their undoing, to say the least. Koku Anyidoho’s braggadocio and insults, Mark Woyongo’s “violence begets violence”, and the ascerbic tongues of Omane Boamah, Okudjeto Ablakwa and Kwakye Ofosu and even Mahama’s own ‘most unkindest cut’– those born before independence ( including ‘old men’ like Nana Addo) and those born thereafter (including ‘young men’ like Mahama) all culminated in the crushing defeat.

Sammy Awuku, the NPP Youth leader has thrown a life-line, and though he would not wish the NDC well, he would not wish them ill either. He thinks the internal wrangling have security implications, and “what can save the NDC is to fast-track the committee going round.”

In October 2015, Mahama was thanking his stars for leading a solidly united party while NPP was foundering and handing him 2016 on a silver platter. “… the NPP has been unbelievably charitable…they have contributed to the success of my re-election in unimaginable ways…..”

Where Mahama was a Goliath, Nana Addo was a David; where Mahama was a Brobdingnagian; Nana Addo was a Lilliputian; where Mahama did intricate syncopations to ‘ Yenntie Obiara’, Nana Addo cried to Heaven and solicitously declared ‘the battle is the Lord’s; where Mahama displayed opulence, Nana Addo was pleading “silver and gold have I none”. And God opened up the heavens and showered his blessings on his chosen one in whom He was well-pleased.

Do you remember the Ananse story; ‘Ananse Yee me; na me nso me yee no?’ Tit for tit and tat for tat, the people proclaim. Do not fault me if I remain taciturn (if not skeptical) about the fate of the Kwesi Botchway Committee. A benign critic would admonish them: “Why don’t you go quietly”?