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Opinions of Saturday, 17 January 2009

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

Political Free Market Strategy to Permanently Encircle NPP

The fundamental problem this write-up addresses is that unlike Ewe or Ga nationalism or any other nationalism in Ghana, Akan nationalism – the Ashanti-Akyem Twi UP Matemeho brand - because of the size of the Akan population is a definite security threat to Ghana’s national unity. The possible future return of NPP into political office will risk destroying the ethnic unity of Ghana and lead to a destructive terminal civil war. This is a risk Ghana cannot afford. In this article we propose a national plan for containing it, minimising it and if possible eliminating it.

The NPP is so deeply synonymous with Ashanti nationalism that Bokor, Michael J. K. in the article “The NPP Still “Doesn’t Get It” of 2009-01-16 on Ghanaweb, has noted how it was born in the heart of Ashantiland - Kumasi. Michael said: “The condemnation of the NPP as Akan-based will continue to stick until something drastic happens to give it the kind of national character capable of changing public perceptions. It may, however, take long in coming. Take, for instance, the ongoing vilification of the Volta Region and add to it the embers of Victor Owusu’s infamous “Ewes-are-inward-looking-people” statement of 1969 and you will realize that the NPP will have a hard time turning the scale in its favour in that Region. The more these functionaries continue to stoke the fire of hatred, the more they push away the electorate in that part of Ghana from their cause. They have also extended this finger-pointing to those in the northern parts of Ghana...the party’s functionaries are bad-mouthing every they suspect of being an opponent.” Kofi Amenyo also put it this way in his Ghanaweb article of 2009-01-12 “Can the NPP ever elect a non-Twi speaker as flag-bearer?”: “The answer, as at now, is an emphatic NO! As one forumer put it the other day, it is like asking a pig to fly. He could have said asking an elephant to fly. The historical evidence and the seemingly democratic way the party elects its leader will combine to ensure that a non-Twi speaker is never elected. The NPP are the true heirs of the Busia-Danquah tradition. This tradition, from its inception, has been a thoroughly Twi project. The dominant characteristic of the tradition should not be seen in its ideological disposition (oh, that is just a smokescreen) but in the tribal background of those who effectively control it. The tradition was formed by Ashanti and Akyem Twi speakers whose primary commitment, even if they didn’t state it openly, was to themselves and the tribal traditions from which they came.”

Our PCL analysis below shows clearly that the way forward is for pro-Nkrumaists in NPP, NDC, CPP and PNC as well as progressive Ashantis to organise an Nkrumaist Conference in Accra by October 2009 at the Accra International Conference Centre financed by the NDC Party in its own self-interest. This Conference must discuss the future of Nkrumaism with the strategic intention of uniting the strategic vision of the Kwame Nkrumah Blood and Political Family. A representative Working Party must proceed from this 2009 Nkrumaist Conference mandated to urge all Nkrumaists in all political parties including NPP in Ghana to work for permanently excluding ethnicity in Ghanaian politics by encircling the electoral base of the NPP. There is no need for any party including the NPP to dissolve or be destroyed. What is important is a common democratic agenda with which all parties are working: Ghana’s self-determination, progressive development and national unity. The proposed strategic aim is to creatively put a permanent programmatic economic wedge between the Twi NPP Elites and the NPP electorate in both Ashanti and Eastern Regions in Ghana in order to enable the latter vote for Ghana’s self-determination, progressive development and national unity. All of us have a chance to do this and failure to do so may be fatal to let slip. We note here sensitively that Nkrumaists are all over the place and come in all shades – progressive (P), conservative (C) and liberal (L) – hence genuine pro-Nkrumaism.

I am proposing this as a long-term democratic political free market strategy to permanently encircle NPP in order to progressively develop Ghana, unite Ghana and enable Ghanaian Majority self-determination of all ethnic groups. The Progressive-Conservative-Liberal (PCL) Analysis:

The NDC is a liberal party with roots in the national alliance of liberals. But those who formed it have comprised liberals, conservatives and progressives. Young progressives left the NDC to form the reform movement. The much older conservatives too left to form DFP.

The NDC since its formation and participation in the political free market have implemented a liberal free market economic policy which has now been globally discredited. But the free market itself was discredited in Ghana in the 1980s when PAMSCAD was developed to ameliorate the deleterious effects of SAP. But NPP continued to implement the same but improved set of policies but with a different strategy in mind.

Whereas the NDC strategy was to create a rich liberal minority with accompanying trickle-down popular policies in education, employment, housing and water; the strategy of the NPP was to solely create a privileged conservative few property-owners. But a Washington Consensus free market policy which was terminated in 2000 by the World Bank cannot provide education, employment, housing and water for the majority of Ghanaians. Historical evidence bears this out.

Both the above liberal and conservative strategies have been rejected in turn by the electorate in both 2000 and 2008 for making the same free-market choices. The Ghanaian Majority is still suffering a ‘socially painful financial crisis’ – to use Ishac Diwan’s infamous phrase - which both mandated parties NDC (1992-200) and NPP (2000-2008) have failed to solve. By 2000, we may recall, the NDC had come to the announced conclusion that wealth-creation was the way forward; not poverty alleviation.

If the national Majority Poverty overlaid by ethnic politics of the NPP-NDC type is not solved soon Ghana is heading for a bloody ethnic-inspired cataclysmic social crisis of liberal-conservative accountability that will engulf all Ghanaians both civil, military and police. Ghana has been in a socially painful crisis before without a civil war; but a future inter-ethnic civil war is certain. Signs of these are already surfacing with the open call by some misguided conservative intellectuals for instance for the extermination of Ewes.

Both NDC and NPP have roots in ethnicity. The NDC’s roots are said to be in the ethnicity of Ewes. The NPP’s roots are said to be in the ethnicity of Asantes.

Both parties are erroneously seen as Ewe or Asante parties. But that is a political perception; we all know for instance that Ewes in NPP are married to Ashantis and Akyems and vice versa with respect to NDC. But the concrete root for this political perception is the mirrored violence in both Volta and Ashanti regions against election-observers; political perception, this evidence can be used to argue, has the power to wreck material havoc. The 2008 elections thus brought a clear ethnic division in Ghana with only Ashanti and Eastern Regions voting for NPP with amazingly at least 99% turnout in some constituencies in the Run-off. All other regions in Ghana voted for NDC. Thus it can be said that the NDC has managed to unite Ghana to a large extent from South to North. But NDC has achieved no such feat.

The problem for NDC is that this seeming national unity is a temporary resolution in their favour for macro-stability and macro-security. Their winning the election 2012 is by no means guaranteed at all. To guarantee an election victory 2012 and beyond requires an encircling strategy against NPP as a national “call to duty”, to use Boakye-Djan’s book title. And because NDC is politically perceived as an Ewe party to be precise, it cannot, and can never, maintain national unity behind the party because Asantes will never vote for an Ewe party and Ewes will also never vote for an Ashanti party. Thus the only way in which NDC can divest itself of the Ewe perception is if its future is perceived to lie in a strong and rejuvenated CPP which is the only intrinsic national party by nature that is not seen as linked to any particular ethnicity. Thus far from calling for the dissolution of CPP, the corporate unification of CPP and NDC and contemptuous and arrogant predictions of CPP’s impossible eternal demise, it is in the interest of NDC to resourcefully underwrite the CPP’s political free market penetration and diversification by any means necessary; not destroy or seek to destroy it as alleged at the beginning of the 4th Republic. Any attempt to undermine the CPP today because the NDC is in power is short-sighted and unstrategic. The political independence of CPP must be encouraged and vigorously supported by NDC and progressive members of NPP because it is in the enlightened interest of both. Over the next few years the NDC’s policies will be identified with particular ethnic groups leading the party say Fantes, Ewes or Sissalas. Ethnicity will certainly thus be used as a basis for an NPP comeback. But ethnicity must be minimised or rooted out of Ghanaian politics if the national unity of all ethnic groups must be maintained. And such national unity of all ethnic groups is a vital strategic security goal. And this is why no foreign military base must be situated on Ghanaian and African soil as the strategic goal of Global Capitalism is to permanently subject the political policy of African states to foreign capitalist interests using ethnicity. Capitalism which knows no law beyond its own interests, will seek to maintain it with the politics of ethnicity, money, personalities, religion, war and genocide. We recall the NLM experience in the struggle for independence.

By resourcefully underwriting the survival of the CPP, the NDC party would have also ensured its own continued but non-permanent enjoyment of political power and perhaps its own survival after the coming national crisis if they do not act.

Liberals, Conservatives and Progressives will permanently occupy the political landscape. CPP will never die, will not disappear and remains vital as long as a just and free society remains the strategic goal of Ghana as evidenced in the constitution of Ghana.

Note on Kwami Agbodza: Kwami Agbodza is a member of CPP. He believes that NDC predictions of CPP demise are premature and not in its own interest: and Nkrumaism is an international phenomenon. He also believes that the NDC JJ Brand is a temporary political free market advantage. He notes that Jerry John Rawlings was never happy with the abrogation of the Progressive Alliance before CPP name could legally be used. Finally, he believes that liberal-conservative domination of politics is also a temporary relation of forces and that progressive politics that represents the human majority cannot be intellectually and spiritually defeated in Ghana.