You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2009 01 02Article 155579

Opinions of Friday, 2 January 2009

Columnist: Ato Kwamena Dadzie

Now, Rawlings looks like an angel

Pardon my asking but are there any wise men (and women) left in the ruling New Patriotic Party? Against all good judgment and common sense, the NPP seems so hell bent on clinging to power.

Instead of conceding defeat and allowing the country to start healing from an acrimonious political season they have resorted to the silliest sort of political grandstanding – heightening tensions in the country and almost taking us to the brink of civil strife. The irony of it all is that the NPP’s intransigence and apparent reluctance to give up what it has lost is making an angel of the man President Kufuor once referred to as “Sasabonsam” (the devil).

After the vote in 2000, the whole world was apprehensive, unsure whether or not Jerry Rawlings (“Sasabonsam”) would give up power. Defying his own history, Rawlings handed over to Kufuor without a fuss. Fast-forward to 2008 and the NPP is making such a big deal of their electoral defeat.

When JOY FM called the elections for Atta Mills, they quickly organised a press conference to give us some self-help mumbo-jumbo: “it’s not over until it’s over”. Akufo-Addo organised a press conference in his house insisting that he was going to win the vote in Tain, overturn Mills’ lead and carry the presidency. Now, we know that Tain is not what they are really interested in. They have been banking their hopes on the possibility that the Electoral Commission will heed their pleas and nullify some (if not all) of the results from the Volta Region. Interestingly, for a party which refuses to investigate allegations of corruption “without evidence” – as President Kufuor has been insisting for the past eight years – the NPP tried to make a case for the cancellation of the Volta vote without a single shred of evidence.

As the NDC moved its campaign machine to Tain, the NPP was marshalling its supporters to go on a binge of violence against innocent people. With their supporters vandalising property, the NPP’s campaign manager together with former Interior Minister, Kwamena Bartels, were pursuing the Electoral Commission chairman – ostensibly to present him with evidence to show that there was something wrong with the Volta vote. They went to all the places Dr. Afari Gyan usually hangs out and when they failed to reach him, they decided to go and wait at his doorsteps. Such desperation only reminds me of when a girl I truly loved in my late teens decided to break up with me!

When they didn’t get the EC boss, they decided to go to court – on a public holiday. Only God knows how they managed to convince a judge to hear their case on New Year’s Day. The court proceedings didn’t go their way because the judge told Atta Akyea, the guy who will be taking over the seat Nana Addo relinquished in parliament, to get the hell out of his face to go and do what he knows to be right. You should have seen the sullen faces of the NPP men as they came out of the courtroom.

Despite their bravado and all the talk about fighting till the very end, the NPP didn’t even bother to wage a campaign in Tain. This only goes to confirm that the ruling party is at it wits’ end. They are a desperate and confused.

Now, I get the sense that there are serious cracks within the NPP. There are those who want to cling to power at any cost. I am told President Kufuor want to get this done and over with and he wants Akufo-Addo to throw in the towel.

But there are others who insist – rather foolishly – that “it’s not over until it’s over”. Unfortunately, the lame duck he has become, President Kufuor, has virtually lost all influence within the NPP. Some people within the party even blame him for the party’s electoral defeat and so they don’t take him serious these days.

Very reliable sources have intimated that Kufuor didn’t even know about Atta Akyea’s law suit. That’s why he drove all the way to Tain only to turn around to return to Accra without even stepping out of his car to campaign. He was really pissed off because all of this puts him in a very bad light. It might affect his quest to get a job with the UN or that international NGO he mentioned some time back. And who knows? Chatham House might call him to return the madal the gave him.

Through all of this, it’s hard to tell what’s going on in that bald head of Nana Akufo-Addo. What is clear, though, is that he also thinks that a nullification of the Volta votes will help his cause. He is deluded and he just can’t face the prospect that he has lost, having declared so proudly after winning the party’s nomination that “this election is ours to lose.” Nana needs someone to assure him that conceding is not an act of cowardice.

Someone should tell Nana just to make that concession. Atta Mills – who lost two presidential elections – will give him some very sound and useful words of encouragement about how to cope with defeat. And I hope he listens because the NPP’s ‘patapaa’ is making Jerry Rawlings and the NDC seem like a bunch of angels. In 2004, when the NDC complained about the outcome of the polls, they allowed the results to be declared as they went to court. For the NPP, it’s the other way round – they want to go to court to stop the results from being declared. And to what end?

I think there are hawks within the NPP who are hell-bent on prolonging the days of this government for as long as possible to enable them buy time to clean up any mess that might land them in trouble when Atta Mills assumes office. That’s why they are grabbing at straws. Their very latest strategy is to urge the people of Tain to refrain from voting today – as if that will change anything.

A low voter turnout will favour Mills. If the NPP doesn’t have any ulterior motive they should rather be urging their supporters to go out and vote whiles they pursue the matter of the irregularities in the Volta Region. This way, in the very unlikely event that Tain swings their way, a positive verdict on Volta will further enhance their chances of staying in power. But that’s not what they are about. They just want to frustrate the process and deliberately delay the transition so they can buy time to “clean up”.

But they need to realise that Ghana is bigger than any individual or party. If they don’t give up now and continue with this nonsensical ‘patapaa’ to throw this country into chaos, I will forever curse Kufuor and Akufo-Addo if I am forced to flee this country... and I am wondering, by the way, which country will take me in as a refugee? Damn! The thought never crossed my mind when Rawlings’ term was about to end.

More from Ato Kwamena Dadzie