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Opinions of Saturday, 5 January 2013

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Ten Key Challenges Facing NPP -Part II

Ten Key Challenges Facing NPP: Change or Wither on the Vine !!!

Continued from part 1...................

6) Change the Longevity Culture :

John McCain lost to George Bush in the Republican primaries as such earned the right, unspoken or unwritten, to run as the presidential candidate in the next election. Mitt Romney lost to McCain so he earned the right to run in the next election. This kind of waiting for my turn gerontocracy, because I have been a loyal party soldier, seem to have engulfed the NPP. Who can forget how Nana Addo pleaded passionately with the NPP, especially the Asante wing in particular, that it was his turn to run? He pointed out that he was loyal when Kufour (Asante) run. Now it was his turn so the Asantes better not fool around or the Akyems will break away and dim the party's chances. We know of Paa Willie and the UNC in the past right? When will this Asante/Akyeme rigmarole end? Are other tribes invited? Here, Nana Addo is seen appealing for consideration based on longevity and tribe. For how long will Nana Addo run till the Akyem score is settled?

Contrast this longevity musical chairs with the Democratic party where Barrack Obama came from nowhere or out of line and won the elections. Of course there is no line in the Democratic party. This kind of holding a place for a candidate even though times have changed or the candidate's brand may have waned is bad political business. The NDC, for all its faults, rallied around John Mahama and allegedly won for now.

In NPP context, John Mahama the current president, represents Aliu Mahama. What happened to Aliu Mahama when Kufour could no longer run constitutionally? He was dumped like a hot potato by Kufour. How can a man work with you for 8years and then not get your support if he is running? Who is better positioned to run on Kufour's alleged stellar record than his own vice? Yet Kufour hailed him as a good man when he died? Good enough to be his vice but not good enough to be NPP flag bearer was Kufour's blunt message when he rallied around Alan Cash. Oh Kufour the tribalist! The ugly truth is that folks from the north are seen as second best by the NPP and some others. Look at the insults and references to John Mahama as "Tani" and tell me if NPP folks have respect for people from the North. This kind of discrimination by the NPP and others must stop. Now we know the truth, with the election of John Mahama, that our brothers and sisters from the North are not second best. They are just as good as anyone from any part of Ghana.

7) Develop a ground game:
The NPP, because it is not a national party and also seen as a phony shell house of Asante/Akyem political aspirations, does not have a foothold in all parts of the country. This is surely not good news if the party wants to be seen as national and representative of the entire country. Having a ground game can be pivotal in winning elections. Obama had 3000 offices across the US as opposed to Romney's estimated 300-400 offices. If you are a national party, you must have a ground game to cover the whole nation. When Gov Dean of the Democratic Party in the USA talked about the 50 state strategy, most laughed at him. Today, we can report with a smile that this strategy is what saw Obama elected and surely reelected. Can the NPP boast of having a formidable ground game that engages the whole country? Surely not by winning only two regions out of ten. The NPP must develop a ten region strategy if it wants to convincingly win elections. Spread your wings NPP!! NPP's increased voter gain in the Volta Region is clear proof of what a solid ground game could do. Ground game in this context means real not phony engagement of each region and its districts.

8) Change the corrupt delegate system to primaries
The system of having delegates elect the flag bearer has enabled a virulent culture of corruption within the party. Corruption at the party level no wonder bleeds into the nation's business. Charity surely begins at home. Clean the party process and create a high probability of less corruption at the national level. Delegates await tons of cash to vote for the highest bidder. How can a system like this help a young dynamic leader without cash to give? Funny how the NPP expect Ghanaians to vote on the issues but its very party system is not based on issues but instead a corrupt system. No wonder some otherwise dynamic candidates fall flat on their face in such a corrupt system. In place of the delegate system, must be, primaries throughout all ten regions. These primaries will allow voters to meet and greet candidates firsthand. It will also allow voters to assess the platforms of the candidates and engage them in developing issues that would otherwise be left. Issue based politics starts from the people (base/ground). Voters must directly elect their flag bearer instead of this indirect system of delegates. Adopt a primary system that engages the entire base of the party.

9) Continue Working Hard Even in Opposition.
I believe a serious party ready for power is one that performs well in opposition. There is serious work to be done in-between national elections. Indeed, real governance occurs in-between elections and not at elections. I think it is a big mistake for opposition parties to go on a hiatus or assume the role of road block kingpins while in opposition. This is exactly what the Republican Party in the USA has become. It is commonly referred to as the party of "No". Unfortunately, the NPP has assumed the "NO" role in Ghana. I cannot name one project or legislation that Nana Addo helped carve in the last four years. Nana Addo has been a member of cabinet/parliament for the past eight years right? Name one legislation that he has authored or co-authored? Saying no to everything the NDC does or proposes in not the same as responsible governance. Exposing the Woyome scandal is not enough work for the opposition. Opposition should be made of sterner stuff.

The role of the opposition is a sacred one. The opposition is supposed to be the watch dog of the people. The opposition is supposed to work with the ruling government to develop viable projects for the people. In my humble view, the opposition is a government in training. Being in opposition is a privilege that must not be abused or used to stymie progress. If the NPP is serious about taking over power, it must, in opposition, show Ghanaians what it can do if given power. If to the contrary, the opposition becomes a party that threatens safety by inciting tribal mayhem, it loses credibility. If the opposition is seen as a party that is no different or better than the ruling party, it loses credibility. Running around with threats of violence and insults is not the role for the opposition. The opposition must always strive to do better than the ruling party. Come on NPP, don't stoop to NDC's level.

10) Attack the Issue of Corruption and Incompetence Relentlessly
I know some may giggle and wonder why I should advise the NPP to attack the culture of corruption and incompetence. Surely the NPP is the epitome of corruption. We all saw what Kufour and his henchmen did when given the trust of government. But what do we see with the NDC? They are just as corrupt as the NPP. In essence, corruption is a national disease. The problem is that, the lack of morality and law enforcement in Ghana is gravely affecting our desire to escape third world status. Every hope and aspiration we have in Ghana, is dented by corruption and incompetence. We have laws on the books but no one enforces them.

The NPP could endear itself to the people of Ghana if it seriously adopts a biting zero tolerance for corruption and incompetence policy. We've seen the NPP adopt this mantra under Kufour. However, we all know it was a charade. There was no funding or political will to dent corruption under Kufour's watch. So maybe, it is time to get it back on the party's agenda and this time mean it. Imagine NPP championing corruption in Ghana. It will be elected and reelected. It can be done and the effort must start now. I have not seen a single Ghanaian who will not like to see corruption dented and removed from our government and society. Go for it NPP. Attacking corruption will automatically dent incompetence. Viva Ghana!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Affectionately dubbed the double edge sword--Fearless)

I don't give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell---Harry Truman