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Opinions of Sunday, 17 July 2011

Columnist: Ablorh, Raymond

The Men at the Exit and Entrance of NDC

ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Ghana is undergoing some
political evolution with very interesting happenings in recent times. Just
before and after the party’s congress in Sunyani recently, it became
obvious old ‘friends’ are becoming ‘enemies’ and old ‘enemies’ are
becoming ‘friends’ in the party, as Prof Mills virtually part ways with
his political parents. As the new friends walk in and the
new enemies advance towards the exit of the party, any political analyst
would wonder how these movements would impact on the electoral fortunes
of the party in the 2012 General Elections and beyond. The
Rawlingses haven’t announced their departure yet; but, whether they
stay or not, one couldn't imagine how they could campaign for President
Mills in the 2012 General Elections. Even if they do campaign at all,
they wouldn’t be able to do it as active as they did in 2008. But,
as they continue to be in opposition in their own party’s
administration; with their belief that the Mills administration has
developed a sleeping habit with the former NPP administration to cover
up corrupt practices in both regimes; one could clearly tell that the
Rawlingses may seek the party’s exit sooner or later. Should they go, what would
that mean to the electoral fortunes of the NDC party? It
is obvious that the Rawlingses aren’t as popular in both their party
and in Ghana as a whole as they were before the 2008 elections. But, not
even a political infant would underestimate their popularity. Within
their party, some would think they aren’t been fair to president Mills;
but, some of those at the grassroots would side with the Rawlingses
that the President doesn’t make them feel that their (the grassroots')
party is in government. This is, perhaps, because of how
previous governments had run this country. Party members, whether
competent or not, had always found themselves working in public offices,
and, benefiting from government opportunities which, they otherwise
don’t merit. This has become part of our political life,
hence, when a party comes into office, its members think they must take
control of everything. When the NPP came into office in
2001 we all saw what happened as party members run everywhere sacking
NDC members from public offices and taking over government properties;
and we saw what NDC ‘foot soldiers’ did; are they even done with us yet? Over
here, party supporters don’t support a party because they want to
benefit from the effective implementation of the party’s policies for
the good of all. No! Not, at all. Hence, if you don’t give them the
opportunity to amass wealth indiscriminately, or give them positions in
government, it means you’re a failure. This attitude of
‘our party is in government’, hence it is our time to ‘chop’; and, the
gap which grows subsequently after the election between the grassroot
party member and the government official who once ate with them in the
same bowl is what breed disappointment and frustration at the grassroot
level. In the case of President Mills, he is caught
between a promise of being ‘a father for all’ and his role and function
of being a party leader in government. Thus, he is so careful in
responding to the needs of his party, especially so, when the leading
opposition party is making conspicuous effort to label him a hypocrite. This
is where the Rawlingses could remind the grassroot supporters of the
better days in the past and set some of them against the party leaders
and the men in government. Thus, one of the major factors which threw
the ex-first lady into the defeater’s arena at the just ended NDC
Congress was that those who could dance to her political beat were the
grassroot members who had no vote. Should they go out of
the NDC today, they would obviously go out with some of the grassroot
members, especially, those in the Volta Region, Northern Region and the
Zongo Communities. But, not long after their departure they would melt
into political oblivion as they wouldn’t be able to take a large number
enough to have a solid political party to challenge the NDC and NPP.
Moreover, the men who helped them to organise the whole Ghana behind
them aren't in their camp anymore. It is, however,
important to note that just as some people voted for NDC because of
Jerry Rawlings; so others voted against the party because of him. One
couldn’t easily tell the exact numbers which voted for or against the
NDC because of the Rawlingses. But, what is easily
predictable here is that those who didn’t vote for the NDC just because
of the Rawlings; and, those who think President Mills is a good leader
but he’s in the wrong party because of their past might vote for NDC
this time. One cannot also blind himself or herself to the
fact that those people who perhaps didn’t vote for President Mills in
2008 because they thought his former boss would control him in office
are likely to rethink their positions as the President has proved that
he could be his own man as he promised. What about those people who want a president
who would pay more attention to the entire country than to his party? Furthermore,
unless one could say that those who voted for NDC because of the
Rawlings are far more than the about 40,000 votes the NDC’s candidate
got over the NPP’s candidate’s votes; or, those who voted against the
NDC but for the Rawlings are far less than the difference in the number
of votes between President Mills and Nana Akufo Addo, the Rawlingses
departure wouldn’t cripple the NDC completely as much as some might
think. Nevertheless, it is obvious their departure could
create a huge crack at the grassroot level in the Volta Region, the
electoral world bank of the NDC, as I’ve already indicated, and that is
where the main threat to NDC’s victory would be felt since the party
wouldn’t get the traditional support it has enjoyed since 1992. If
what happened to Nana Addo in Ashanti Region in the first round of the
2008 presidential election happens to Prof. Mills in the Volta Region,
all other things being equal, NDC would find it extremely difficult to
walk to victory.Especially so, when the Ashanti Region
practically showed signs of electoral repentance towards Nana Addo in
the second run of Election 2008 and has pledged full support for him in
election 2012. Certainly, in the short run, the Rawlingses
departure would heavily affect the electoral fortunes of the NDC; but,
in the long run, the NDC would grow beyond an individual's interest and
influence and become a strong mass party thereby saving itself from the
woes of the CPP in future. Meanwhile, cunningly, the
Rawlingses could inactively stay in the party, pray and wait for the NDC
to practically join them in opposition then make efforts from the
grassroot to reclaim power in the party. Now, what about the Dr. Obed Asamoah,
Gossie Tandoh, etc, re-entering the party and what are they coming with? Well,
Former President Rawlings handpicked Professor Mills without consulting
other leaders of his party, according to Dr. Obed Asamoah, so they
opposed their boss vehemently since to them Prof Mills had made
insignificant contribution towards the party’s development and they
didn’t think he had enough experience to run the country. However,
apart from their efforts to protect their own political interest at the
time, what perhaps they didn’t tell us was that, like members of the
NPP, they suspected the ex-president wanted somebody he could control
from outside. They knew he didn’t like the idea of leaving
the presidency; and, Rawlings didn’t trust them either. So, Rawlings
fought everybody who opposed his choice and managed to consolidate his
position. After they left the party; Gossie and his reform
members before the 2000 General Elections; and, later Dr. Asamoah and
his DFP members ( after a good beating they got in Koforidua in 2005);
they realized they couldn’t find a political home outside NDC; and so
with the humiliating defeat of the Rawlingses at the Sunyani Congress,
they now think they could enjoy some freedom of expression in the party
they helped built. The smart old man, in particular, knows
he couldn’t be trusted in the NPP fraternity and doesn't see the CPP
coming into government anytime soon; moreover, it’s obvious his DFP
wouldn’t be able to survive, especially, when Frances Essiem, for
instance, is busily enjoying marriage with the NPP, and Dr. Kwesi
Botchwey has eagerly accepted an impressive petro-chemical post from
President Mils. If you were him what would you do? He is
just re-entering the NDC to save himself from political death before his
actual death. Apart from his own vote, one couldn’t tell how the old
politician, who should be resting by now in statesmanship, is going to
bring votes to the NDC. The more energetic and relatively
young ones coming with Dr. Asamoah, on the other hand, could perhaps be
of some help than him. Moreover, they could associate with the new brand
of NDC, unlike Dr. Asamoah. Their message is simply this:
if they knew Prof. Mills could perform the way he’s doing now they
wouldn’t have opposed him at all. Isn't this a good message to warrant
their acceptance? Moreover, this game is all about numbers, eventhough
some numbers could be dangerously deceptive. Whatever
happens, the NDC would lose and gain some votes; but, where the
electoral pendulum would swing to, one can’t easily tell because of
human behaviour. Raymond AblorhWriter’s Email: