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Opinions of Monday, 19 April 2010

Columnist: Amankwah, Samuel K.

Needless Factionalism, Bane Of Party Discipline

The main opposition New Patriotic Party is certainly undergoing some serious challenges that could badly affect its determination to recapture power in the 2012 elections.

The party believes the ruling National Democratic Congress government, led by Prof John Evans Atta Mills, has been a failure even though it has a little more than two years to prove its mettle.

To the party that wants the whole world to believe that it did not “lose” the 2008 election, the grounds are being prepared for its return to the corridors of political power in 2012.

What is intriguing is the fact that they are convinced the so-called failures of the Prof Mills-led administration will not translate into automatic victory for the party. “Even though the NDC has failed, they will not allow us to take back power on a silver platter; we have to work for it,” the party’s national chairman reportedly told a group of polling station executives last weekend.

The leadership, the rank and file as well as sympathizers of the party are in consensus in their belief that it is only disunity that could prevent them from staging a successful comeback to power.

That is why the recent indiscreet public statements by some leading members of the party that seek to undermine its unity have remained a major source of worry for all well-meaning members and sympathizers of the party.

Indeed, the concerns and apprehension of the party’s membership were well articulated by Sir John, the General Secretary, when he addressed a capacity building workshop for a group of polling station executives last weekend.

The vocal secretary was so passionate when he drew attention to the fact that the party is not for only the executives, “but for all Ghanaians who voted for it in the 2008 elections, as well as those who are now determined to support it to end the maladministration of the Mills-led National Democratic Congress government in 2012.” (The Patriot, Tuesday, 13 April, 2010).

“The continued public trade of insults that suggests confusion in the party is giving the party’s members and sympathizers sleepless nights,” he reportedly lamented.

Apostle, just like every Ghanaian, in his deep reflection is convinced the NPP is embroiled in confusion and serious internal wrangling that has the potential to tear the party apart.

It will be their own cup of tea if they should behave like the proverbial ostrich and bury their heads in the sand and pretend all is well.

What is happening in the NPP is a source of worry to Apostle. I also expect it to be a source of worry to all well-meaning citizens of Ghana . One may ask, why? Oh yes! It is because the nation always needs a vibrant opposition party to keep the government on its toes, and to provide an alternative government if the masses are convinced there is the need for a change of government from the NDC to another party in 2012.

What has been the major cause of the problems bedeviling the NPP? The answer is simple: NEEDLESS FACTIONALISM! That has, indeed, been the bane of discipline in the party.

The party finds it difficult to enforce its rules with regards to discipline because everybody has been tagged – either you are Alan or Nana. Period! Oh, what about Isaac Osei, Frimpong Boateng, Aliu Mahama, and John Kwame Kodua?

Apostle is not concerned about them – it does not mean I do not have regard for them – because in NPP one is either Alan or Nana. Even those gallant men are categorized in terms of whether they are in the race to shore up or diminish the chances of the two leading contenders.

What is the way forward for the party that is desperately seeking to recapture power? It is strict enforcement of DISCIPLINE! “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you” (Deut. 8:5).

And that is why Sir John won the administration of Apostle at the weekend when he expressed the determination of his administration to crack the whip to instill the fear of God into the rank and file of the party.

He reportedly warned trouble makers in the party, “especially those who go on air to make foul-tasting comments that have the potential to undermine the party’s unity to desist from the practice, or be prepared to leave the party.”

According to Sir John, “even though politics is about numbers, it is also better to get rid of few people who seek to scuttle the collective interest of the party in pursuit of their parochial interest.”

Well said, Sir! Apostle gives you a standing ovation for that. But, the question is: can you have the courage to do it? Can you sack Kennedy Kankam for the wild, unsubstantiated allegations he made against Nana Addo? Can you sack Maxwell Kofi Jumah for his utterances?

With all due respect, Sir, I don’t think you can do it? This is because you are wearing Nana Akufo-Addo’s tag, just as they are also wearing Alan Kyerematen’s tag. Any action you take against the two people, whether in good faith or otherwise, whether it satisfies the collective interest of the party or not, will be interpreted to mean an attack against Alan Kyerematen. And, I don’t think you would want him to “resign” again after the presidential primary is over.

On the other way round, any attempt to discipline the likes of Nyaho Tamakleo and I. C Quaye by the Sir John administration will not only be interpreted to mean an attack against Nana Akufo-Addo, but also a betrayal of trust.

The reason is simple: Sir John won the Secretary position because he allowed his name to be on Nana Akufo-Addo’s list that went to delegates to the Kumasi Conference that elected the current crop of leaders into office.

Here you are! You see the extent of harm needless factionalism can do to a party in terms of the enforcement of discipline. And what good can any individual or group achieve without strict adherence to disciplinary measures.

In conclusion, let me remind the rest of the nation’s political parties, especially the ruling NDC, that it is only a fool who does not fetch water when a neighbours house is on fire and lives under the illusion that it is his neighbour’s headache and not his.

Till we meet again next week, remain blessed and cherish discipline.

APOSTLE’S REFLECTION with Kwabena Amankwah

NEEDLESS FACTIONALISM, BANE OF PARTY DISCIPLINE

The main opposition New Patriotic Party is certainly undergoing some serious challenges that could badly affect its determination to recapture power in the 2012 elections.

The party believes the ruling National Democratic Congress government, led by Prof John Evans Atta Mills, has been a failure even though it has a little more than two years to prove its mettle.

To the party that wants the whole world to believe that it did not “lose” the 2008 election, the grounds are being prepared for its return to the corridors of political power in 2012.

What is intriguing is the fact that they are convinced the so-called failures of the Prof Mills-led administration will not translate into automatic victory for the party. “Even though the NDC has failed, they will not allow us to take back power on a silver platter; we have to work for it,” the party’s national chairman reportedly told a group of polling station executives last weekend.

The leadership, the rank and file as well as sympathizers of the party are in consensus in their belief that it is only disunity that could prevent them from staging a successful comeback to power.

That is why the recent indiscreet public statements by some leading members of the party that seek to undermine its unity have remained a major source of worry for all well-meaning members and sympathizers of the party.

Indeed, the concerns and apprehension of the party’s membership were well articulated by Sir John, the General Secretary, when he addressed a capacity building workshop for a group of polling station executives last weekend.

The vocal secretary was so passionate when he drew attention to the fact that the party is not for only the executives, “but for all Ghanaians who voted for it in the 2008 elections, as well as those who are now determined to support it to end the maladministration of the Mills-led National Democratic Congress government in 2012.” (The Patriot, Tuesday, 13 April, 2010).

“The continued public trade of insults that suggests confusion in the party is giving the party’s members and sympathizers sleepless nights,” he reportedly lamented.

Apostle, just like every Ghanaian, in his deep reflection is convinced the NPP is embroiled in confusion and serious internal wrangling that has the potential to tear the party apart.

It will be their own cup of tea if they should behave like the proverbial ostrich and bury their heads in the sand and pretend all is well.

What is happening in the NPP is a source of worry to Apostle. I also expect it to be a source of worry to all well-meaning citizens of Ghana . One may ask, why? Oh yes! It is because the nation always needs a vibrant opposition party to keep the government on its toes, and to provide an alternative government if the masses are convinced there is the need for a change of government from the NDC to another party in 2012.

What has been the major cause of the problems bedeviling the NPP? The answer is simple: NEEDLESS FACTIONALISM! That has, indeed, been the bane of discipline in the party.

The party finds it difficult to enforce its rules with regards to discipline because everybody has been tagged – either you are Alan or Nana. Period! Oh, what about Isaac Osei, Frimpong Boateng, Aliu Mahama, and John Kwame Kodua?

Apostle is not concerned about them – it does not mean I do not have regard for them – because in NPP one is either Alan or Nana. Even those gallant men are categorized in terms of whether they are in the race to shore up or diminish the chances of the two leading contenders.

What is the way forward for the party that is desperately seeking to recapture power? It is strict enforcement of DISCIPLINE! “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you” (Deut. 8:5).

And that is why Sir John won the administration of Apostle at the weekend when he expressed the determination of his administration to crack the whip to instill the fear of God into the rank and file of the party.

He reportedly warned trouble makers in the party, “especially those who go on air to make foul-tasting comments that have the potential to undermine the party’s unity to desist from the practice, or be prepared to leave the party.”

According to Sir John, “even though politics is about numbers, it is also better to get rid of few people who seek to scuttle the collective interest of the party in pursuit of their parochial interest.”

Well said, Sir! Apostle gives you a standing ovation for that. But, the question is: can you have the courage to do it? Can you sack Kennedy Kankam for the wild, unsubstantiated allegations he made against Nana Addo? Can you sack Maxwell Kofi Jumah for his utterances?

With all due respect, Sir, I don’t think you can do it? This is because you are wearing Nana Akufo-Addo’s tag, just as they are also wearing Alan Kyerematen’s tag. Any action you take against the two people, whether in good faith or otherwise, whether it satisfies the collective interest of the party or not, will be interpreted to mean an attack against Alan Kyerematen. And, I don’t think you would want him to “resign” again after the presidential primary is over.

On the other way round, any attempt to discipline the likes of Nyaho Tamakleo and I. C Quaye by the Sir John administration will not only be interpreted to mean an attack against Nana Akufo-Addo, but also a betrayal of trust.

The reason is simple: Sir John won the Secretary position because he allowed his name to be on Nana Akufo-Addo’s list that went to delegates to the Kumasi Conference that elected the current crop of leaders into office.

Here you are! You see the extent of harm needless factionalism can do to a party in terms of the enforcement of discipline. And what good can any individual or group achieve without strict adherence to disciplinary measures.

In conclusion, let me remind the rest of the nation’s political parties, especially the ruling NDC, that it is only a fool who does not fetch water when a neighbours house is on fire and lives under the illusion that it is his neighbour’s headache and not his.

Till we meet again next week, remain blessed and cherish discipline.