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Opinions of Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Columnist: Kofi Thompson

Only a radical agenda for a new and fairer society will bring the NDC to power again

It is extraordinary that so many of the leading members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) appear to have failed to understand the change in the national mood that led to their party's painful defeat in the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

By December 2016 the vast majority of Ghanaians were determined to turf the NDC out of power and rid themselves of the foolish arrogance of the perfidious Stan Dogbe’s, the forever dissembling Omane Boamah’s and super-cynical Baba Jamals - and find out just how much of hapless taxpayers' cash the most crooked members of the Mahama administration had salted away.

Therefore news that Baba Kamara had inflated the cost of constructing the new official vice-presidential mansion by millions of dollars did not surprise most in Ghana. It was par for the course in their view.

So even if President Mahama - whose impressive legacy Ghanaians will doubtless eventually come to appreciate years hence - had succeeded in turning Ghana into Africa's most prosperous society and one of the wealthiest nations on the surface of the planet Earth, unfortunately, Ghanaians would still have voted his regime out of power.

Millions had become disenchanted with the Mahama administration, simply because they believed the regime's opponents who persistently claimed that members of the NDC government were incompetent and corrupt. In other words propaganda and fake news more or less delivered power to the NPP.

Perhaps in the end it might even be proven that President Mahama was not personally corrupt as was widely believed.

Alas, the strategic mistake President Mahama and his inner circle made, was to fail to heed the advice of those of us who suggested that he, his wife and brothers Ibrahim and Edward and their spouses should publicly publish their assets if they had nothing to hide.

Given the fact that traditionally Ghanaian voters become disenchanted with governments after 8 continuous years in power, regardless, we knew that by publicly publishing his assets and those of his wife Lordina, and asking his brothers Edward and Ibrahim and their wives to do same too, it would enable President Mahama to occupy the high moral ground in our nation's politics and insulate himself from the ruthless, negative attacks of his political opponents.

The next NDC presidential candidate to be elected president of the Republic of Ghana, will most probably be a Rawlings, a female member of Parliament, and far younger than all the NDC's potential presidential candidates currently being spoken of in sections of the 'rented-media' as "presidential candidates" in 2020.

The NDC cannot possibly hope to return to power again if it does not adopt radical grassroots-level, people-centered policies.

It must abandon its love affair with the wealthy and powerful buccaneering-tycoons who prospered so mightily during their days in power - and provided the party with large amounts of cash regularly: in exchange for massive government contracts.

If it fails to do so this blog makes bold to predict that the NDC will stay in the political wilderness for decades to come.

To be successful again in the next presidential election, the NDC must promise to change the 1992 Constitution to reserve half of the total number of seats in Parliament for female MPs. Ditto reserve half the membership of the president's cabinet for female ministers – and reserve half of the total top echelon public-sector positions to qualified females.

It must also promise to ensure that legislation is passed to transfer all land currently held by Chiefs in trust for their people, to local people in every village, town or metropolitan area, countrywide – so that every landless family in Ghana has at least enough land to build homes on and farm on: whichever of the two asset-types is deemed appropriate for each individual landless family in our homeland Ghana.

And it must commit to using all the oil and gas revenues from oilfields off our nation's shores to provide free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, as well as free healthcare for all Ghanaians. Better that than watch helplessly on as powerful crooks divvy up those revenues by stealth.

Today, many of our nation's younger generations are millennia and digital natives. The internet is vital for their psychological well-being.

The new NDC must therefore promise the enactment of legislation to make access to a minimum package of reasonable monthly free wireless broadband internet access and voice calls a fundamental human right for all Ghanaians - in exchange for the publicly-owned resource, which the radio frequencies that enable telcos in Ghana to make such massive profits, represent.

Above all, the NDC must field a truly honest and principled servant-leader-type to fight for those radical policies in presidential election campaigns when the most appropriate time comes to enable the party to do so.

The corrupt old opaque machine-politics of the NPP/NDC duopoly that has dominated our nation's politics since the 4th Republic came into being, can no longer serve the NDC of Jerry Rawlings. Let them leave that old-style My-party-my-tribe-right-or-wrong kind of cynical politics to the NPP.

Finally, it is vital for all its registered members to understand clearly that only a radical agenda and an honest servant-leader type will bring a totally new NDC to power again, going forward into the future. Ghanaian society needs to be transformed in radical fashion - and turn our country into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia. Cool. And simple. Really.

By: Kofi Thompson