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Opinions of Friday, 27 May 2011

Columnist: Ansah, Prince Owusu

The Infightings Within The NDC

The Infightings Within The Ndc: A Cause For National Concern

I noticed with great concern the resent wrangling in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the likely implications this may have on national unity, stability and development.
Whilst some argue that the NDC is an independent political entity hence must be left alone to sort out its internal political issues, others are anxiously waiting to cash in on this looming crisis.
Even though on the surface one may assume that it is a ‘family affair’ and for that matter should be handled internally. With the guidance of history, conscious of the future and the position of the 1992 constitution on party pluralism I think otherwise.

History; domestic or international, political or religious, social or corporate has taught us that internal organizational/institutional crisis and disunity has inimical consequence on the larger society. The problems of the 1990 to 1994 quad of the Senior National soccer team the Black Stars; events that led to the assassination of John Kennedy of the USA; events that lead to the formation of the Shia’ t Islamic Sect etc and the resultant effect on their respective societies and times, are but a few examples

With specific reference to politics in Ghana, examples from which we can draw useful lessons abound. For instance the internal crisis within the UGCC and the consequent formation of the CPP, its aftermath and the consequence on the forward march of the Nation; the internal party disquiet which eventually culminated in the successful overthrow of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, an event which many both locally and internationally claimed represented a huge setback of Ghana’s economic and social emancipation, with others claiming that the harm it did to Ghana is worse than the harm caused by both the slavery trade and colonialism put together; similar Party dissensions led to the formation of Gussie Tandoh’s NRP and the subsequent defeat of the NDC in the 2000 election; the alleged apathy of President Kufuor and its significance in the electoral performance of the NPP in the 2008 general elections.
We can and have always referred to these events as healthy Party/democratic evolution, growth and development. If that assertion is anything to go by, should anyone be at all worried?
In my candid opinion there is every cause to be worried, because this comes at a huge cost both potential and real, to the state; an avoidable cost for that matter which unfortunately is oblivious to many of us. The cost to the State lies in the fact that polices that would have otherwise inured to the benefit of the larger society are truncated or sacrificed all in the name of some internally generated Party disunity, acrimony and rancour. Some time past individuals unduly capitalised on these internal resentment to stage coup d’états, thankfully those days seems to be distant from us but opposing political parties taking advantage of occurrences is still here with us.
Unlike in advanced democratic countries where parties tend to attract the people through the formulation of attractive policies and programmes, in developing democracies such as ours, political parties seem to rely more on party unity and cohesion, and the maximization of party members and supporters for electoral victory and governance.
It is common knowledge how internal party dissension contributed immensely to the exit of the CPP led government in 1966, the PNP led government in 1979, the NDC led government in 2000, and the NPP led government 2008. These Parties at their respective times were shown the exit not solely on the basis of performance but on other consideration in the process denying the respective governments the opportunity to fully implement their policies and programmes hence denying the Ghanaian the opportunity to fully assess those programmes as well benefit from them.
This is very regrettable and should not be allowed to happen to this current government, let us endeavour to above any other interest, assess the current government and of course any subsequent on the what they set themselves to do, as that is the only way we can move forward as a people.
The 1992 constitution as it stands now does not provide for early elections, so irrespective of a ruling Party’s problems whether internally or externally would have to serve its full term, that is why I find it obligatory and patriotic for us all to help ruling political Parties in leadership crises midway into their tenure resolve such crisis: otherwise what may seem a Party’s internal problem would have done irreparable damage to the nation by the time we go to the poll. Especially so when we in Ghana are yet to have the sorts of Thabo Mbaki who would be courageous enough to call it a day when the internal political tide is against their sail
Democracy we all have come to accept as a political way of life and the surest means to sustainable peace, growth, coexistence and overall development. The current democratic process is built on the pillars of Multi-Party System among others. The extent to which we succeed in harnessing the full benefits of this process does not lie only on going to polls in every four years to elect leaders but also and significantly on vibrant political parties that can at all times offer viable alternatives provide positive criticism and serve as a watch dog on serving governments. Without this we risk the danger of content ourselves with democratic dictatorship. That is why we as a people must not allow any disintegration or weakening of any of our major political parties. This is not to suggest nor discount the possibility that any political Party in particular is collapsing or can collapse, but to draw the Nation’s attention to the price thereof, should it happen.
However, the recent happenings in the our major four political parties; NDC, PNC, CPP and NPP once again expose some fragility of our political parties and give one the cause to speculate those possibilities. Indeed the NDC and NPP have one point or the other successful survived the scare of disintegration but of course the scars are still all around us. The NDC is yet again at the cross road, perhaps the toughest challenge in its existence, it is hoped that the Party will successfully surmount this hurdle anything short of that will be problematic for all of us.
The case of the CPP is still fresh in our political memory; the Party which once upon a time was a very strong, vibrant, influential and dominant party, today is at its knees we hear reports of the party being subsumed gradually into the NDC and NPP, today the CPP is crying foul of media neglect and discrimination. Ghana cannot afford to have any of the current dominant parties going that path.
In the specific case of the recent brouhaha in the NDC we hear some party faithfuls claim it is just an exhibition of internal party democracy, be it as it may, to the extent that this distorts the attention and focus of the Presidency on National matters calls for public concern. Furthermore, as we advocate for internal party democracy we also caution against the harm this may cause to National development. Too much internal party democratization can ‘overly’ dilute the power of a party’s inner leadership and make it difficult for that party to keep its electoral promises. Also, internal democratic procedures if not properly managed may raise possibilities for party splits and crises, possibly harming democratic stability.
This is not to suggest that Parties should gag their followers or be autocratic but it is to emphasise the need to properly manage internal political disputes such that they don’t cloud or confound pertinent national issues. Verily, some amount of conflict and discernment is vital for institutional/political party’s growth but to the extent that this becomes virulent, cacophonous and unproductive, and threatens the serenity of the political, social and economic atmosphere leaves much to be desired.

Going forward strongly recommend that:
The NDC should rather focus on resolving its internal problems rather that going for an early election as the outcome of the election whichever way it goes may worsen the plight of the NDC and the Nation may be the ultimate loser.
President Mill as the leader of the NDC should take urgent steps to unite the rank and file of the party before any election to elect a flag bearer as the outcome of such an election, more than anything else may leave some unpleasant consequences on his person, leadership and the Nation at large.
The Presidency must acknowledge the fact that it did not ascend to power through an independent candidature but rode on the back of a political party as such the principle of fair and equitable representation, inclusivity, and participation by all the key interest groups of the party must be the watch word. Let His Excellency be reminded that his tenure will be judged on two fronts; National context and Party context, and one is as good or bad as the other. This is a stark reality.
The Presidency’s ardent internal critics; the Rawlingses should consider the fact that the ‘political’ Prof Mills was their creation and what they saw in him over a decade ago is still in him today. They should give him some space to execute his mandate, constructive criticism is good and welcome but vile, destructive and repugnant attacks must be condemn irrespective of their source. President Rawlings has paid his due to mother Ghana in his nineteen year term, President Mills must be allowed to do what he can in his four year mandate. It should also me made clear to the young ministers who are undermining the influence of the Rawlingses should have a second thought.
NDC followers irrespective of their status or ‘camps’ should be wary of their comments and utterances in their desperate quest to destroy the other half, they may be destroying their own selves in the process. It must be stated that DR Ekwow Spio- Garbah’s recent picking of the nomination form to contest for the NDC Flagbearership advertised by the Party probably due to flurry of calls on him to contest could increase the doom of the party in 2012 regardless of who wins . Regardless of what some persons in the government consider him to be, He has the ability to deliver. Those who think they cannot work with Spio, because he is probably their enemies should know that, you must not be friends with someone before you can work with. The president and the party executives must as a matter of urgency find a way of eloping him into the government to cease these continued cracks in the party.
What seemed earlier to be ‘friendly fire’ is now becoming very hostile and ‘political own goals’ form the NDC are becoming one too many for redemption. One fact that cannot be ignored is that the Rawlingses as it stands now cannot win any national election without the Mills camp and vice versa so therefore the posture of the feuding parties within the NDC must be more reconciliatory than anything else unless the Party does not intend to contest and win the 2012 elections.
Well meaning statesmen should intervene, considering the potential danger this internal wrangles may pose to national unity, stability and development. The wise counsel and guidance of the NDC party elders if any is more crucial now than ever before.
The other political Parties should learn useful lessons from the NDC turmoil and close up their ranks. One risk having a branch of a tree or stake falling on his head when he dares to collect fruits in a windy storm.

By:

Dr Prince owusu ansah
USA- Maryland
Political science Lecturer