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Opinions of Thursday, 10 May 2012

Columnist: Adoli, Kofi

On Sarkozy's Defeat And The NPP's Political Fortunes

No sooner had the French election results been declared than the Ghanaian political circles been buzzing with murmurings about Sarkozy's one-term and the first of President Mills. Strange parallels are desperately being drawn already. Even though Sarkozy's leadership style and ideology are completely opposed to that of Mills, the opposition NPP is desperately trying to squeeze non-existent similarities.

It appears that the NPP's hopeless and stiff-necked mission to chip away the immense credibility of the Mills government will not abate anytime soon. On the heels of a disastrous Ferdinand Ayim speech which lost traction just as it was being delivered, we are witnessing another trivia from an opposition which is struggling to put together a reliable and safe alternative. Every foot they attempt to put forward keeps being feeble and confused.

Under ordinary circumstances, these murmurings would be ignored. But the boldness with which the NPP and Dr Bawumia recently misused economic data to mislead the Ghanaian public detaches these murmurings from being the ordinary.

First of all, the relevance of the Sarkozy defeat in particular and the French election lies mainly in the fact that Ghana is bordered by three French-speaking countries, over which the French political elites have considerable influence. The ouster of Sarkozy is therefore a good omen for Ghana and the sub-region for two reasons. First, his brand of politics aims at promoting and protecting the French elite at the expense of the rest, internally and externally. Second, his ideology is rightist and not dissimilar to that of the NPP whose political propositions suggest a rather shallow and fanatic allegiance to that leaning.

Apart from that, the Sarkozy government also believed that some civilisations are more advanced than others. This idea was expressed by a member of his cabinet, Claude Gueant, and is at the root of his brutal diplomacy. The NPP and the Danquah-Busia tradition have naturally aided the Sarkozys of the west to perpetuate their civilisation on Africa, by hook or by crook. So if any parallel are to be drawn from Sarkozy’s defeat, there is no question about where one should be looking.

Sarkozy also presided over a hawkish and imperialist regime which ensured not only the brutal demise of the Gadafi and Gbagbo regimes but the slaughter, rape, assassination and heartless displacement of millions of Africans. The fact that the NPP under former President Kufuor actively advised the west (mostly western capitalist elites) on the establishment AFRICOM on the African continent is enough to make Ghanaians jittery about how far the NPP is prepared to go to acquiesce to the whims and caprices of hawkish western governments, particularly when they bear the same ideological torch.

It is thence right to say that even though Sarkozy's demise should be a positive signal for Ghana, it certainly does not indicate good political fortunes of the NPP. If it shows anything, it is the fact that the NPP and Sarkozy's imperialist and crony capitalism is being shown the door across Europe. And if that ideology is only being shown the door in its home, it easy to say that it will be banished in Ghana.

In his victory speech last night, Francois Hollande has stated clearly that his election was to re-orient Europe. The question is, what is Europe being re-oriented from? It is the rightist crony capitalist market fundamentalism which has delivered not only the credit crunch but a cataclysmic economic crisis across the globe.

Even worse, the European right have engaged in an unpopular and undemocratic process of austerity which is strangulating the middle and lower classes. The good thing is that the electorates have been presented with credible alternatives in the centre-left. It is not surprising that Sarkozy is the 11th casualty of the anti-capitalist and anti-austerity wave sweeping across Europe.

In the face of the economic crisis, Sarkozy and the elites across Europe forced a rightist programme of bitter austerity on the middle and lower classes whiles at the same time protecting and enhancing the wealth of the affluent. The effect is that the people of Greece, the UK and elsewhere have massively rejected that ideology which seeks to protect and promote a few at the expense of the rest.

But that is not the only noteworthy development in France and Europe. The choice being made by the European electorate is unequivocal. The centre-left social democracy presents the strongest and best way of easing the severely strangulated economic lives of the hardworking and underprivileged people. The left has risen to the call by convincingly proposing a better alternative. It is in this regard that President Mills’ position is not only re-affirmed but also enhanced.

In the face of all the facts it is baffling, if not fool-hardy, that the NPP would seek to take a non-existent advantage of the fate suffered by their ideological brother. They just do not have a credible alternative. Indeed, if the NPP truly wants to be taken seriously they must shed the desperation and trivia, and get back to the drawing board.

As far as the development needs of Ghana are concerned, social democracy is the only option. In fact the Mills NDC government is the only option. It is therefore very safe for the NDC to quote Margaret Thatcher's expression TINA, that is, "There Is No Alternative".

Kofi Adoli London