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Opinions of Saturday, 15 December 2012

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi

The NPP And The “Morning After Pill”: I am Sick of It!

Ladies who are not prepared for pregnancy usually have their family planning tablets with them at all times but some of them who are quick to impress their man tend to forget what they would usually do as a matter of course: that is taking their anti-pregnancy medication. In their haste to go out to do ‘the thing’ with their new man, some women forget their routine and would go ahead to enjoy the warmth of their man’s bed. Then come the next day when the euphoria is gone, they suddenly remember they missed their anti-pregnancy tablet the day before they did ‘the thing’ and so they start looking for the “morning after” pill to mitigate the risk of any unplanned pregnancy. The similarity between the scenario above and that of my party, the NPP is not difficult to see.
‘Truth’, like a bitter pill, is very difficult to swallow and it takes the extremely bold to face up to it. I know the truth hurts and so many of the members of the party would disagree with me but that is the beauty of democracy. It is about the diversity of opinions. The above illustration unfortunately, is the attitude the NPP is developing and I am sick of it! I am a proud card-wielding member of the party and I will defend it to the hilt with even the last drop of my blood if it comes to it. It is a tradition I believe in and so shall it be until the day I am committed to eternal rest. However, a little introspection will do us no harm. Let us be real and deal with our short-comings for once. My stomach has continued to churn since our ‘defeat’ at the polls but wasn’t it of our own making? It is as if we started to look for reasons to lose even before the elections have started. It is one thing not knowing the cause (s) of our defeat. But if we have known of these tricks since 1992 and are still being cheated with same, then we are being plain stupid. Readers may recall the NPP wrote “The Stolen Verdict” in 1992 after the late Prof Adu Boahen had been defeated by then Candidate Rawlings. We could have been forgiven then because the country was then coming out of a long period of dictatorship. That undertaking (The Stolen Verdict) was an honourable one since it brought in the open, possible irregularities and shortcomings in the electoral system. One would have thought that the NPP learnt a lesson or two from that experience but certainly not!
What is even more annoying was the party’s claim in 2008 that NDC again cheated its way to power. I felt particularly frustrated and stupefied by that line of thinking. I believe I speak for many supporters and sympathisers of the party. It was a case of a landlord being evicted from his or her own property by the tenant! We could be excused for writing “The Stolen Verdict” in 1992 elections when we were in opposition party but to have been cheated again in 2008 when we were the party in government was a bit laughable! I wrote an article about that titled “The Defeat of NPP: My Clinical Diagnosis”, in which I pointed out some of the inherent problems which contributed to the party losing rather than being cheated. In fact, the good people of Ghana would not countenance any such allegations from us anymore! The electorates would rather get fed-up with our cry-baby antics; if they weren’t already. The English have an idiomatic expression that goes like this: “Once bitten, twice shy”. This simply means that someone who has been hurt or who has had something go wrong will be far more careful the next time. However, could the NPP be said to have been far more careful in 2008 and 2012? Obviously not! We would not be having these allegations of cheating again otherwise. There is no such thing as a perfect electoral system anywhere in the world and so if the NDC do cheat in some areas, what prevented the NPP from doing same? If we are incapable of making it difficult or impossible for the NDC to cheat, then we should also cheat to even up the score. It is as simple as that! Methinks the protestations we made in 2008 and also after this year’s general elections especially after having written “The Stolen Verdict” in 1992 are needless.
We have to give credit to the NDC for their determination to ‘win’ an election at all cost. It does not matter whether it is only 6 polling stations in Akwatia, a bye-election in Chireponi or general elections; you can trust the NDC to attack it with the potency of an HIV virus! I think we in the NPP have taken the loyalty of our followers and sympathisers for granted for far too long. They queue in the rain, sun and through the night and yet when they had voted, we are unable to make their votes count. Some of them were physically assaulted; all in the name of the party and yet those whose responsibility it is to look after these precious votes, lose sight of this key responsibility until it is too late. We disappointed them in 2008 and have done it again in 2012 and that is unacceptable. When we lose an election the way we did in 2008 and this year; many of our sympathisers are unable to eat and many others end in up losing their lives. Others sustain various degrees of injuries whereas the big guns in the party cruise around in their “Land Cruisers” as if nothing has happened! It is the average person who voted for the party who are mostly affected when we lose an election the way we did. When the masses had put their hope in the NPP and we keep disappointing them for lack of due diligence, then I am afraid we have a long way to go. Rather than sit down to plan to counter the tricks of NDC, we were running around on various media houses talking about the alleged plot of the NDC to rig the elections without strategising to nullify their plans; as if talking about the alleged plans were all that was needed to bring sanity into our electoral system. The party have disappointed Nana Addo for not putting mechanisms in place to nullify the NDC’s plans to rig. I still believe Nana Addo is the best leader Ghana never had and posterity would judge him honourably and favourably. How the NPP contrived to make it this difficult for such a man to win an election is a topic for another day. He played his part by touring the length and breath of the country for a period of 2 years after being elected the flag-bearer in 2010. There was more than enough time for the party to have put efficient mechanisms in place to reduce the risk of the NDC rigging to the barest minimum. We have only ourselves to blame.
It appears the party is happy writing an epitaph after every election we do not win though we had laid bare the apparent plans of our main protagonists to rig and yet were frozen into a state of inertia and did nothing. We literally stood still like mannequins in shop windows and watched as the NDC raped the electoral process. Such horrendous passivity is becoming malignant and the earlier it is uprooted from the leadership of the party, the better our chances would be, come 2016. The NDC is an ‘election-winning’ (or it is election rigging) machine though it is difficult to admit. They are not a governing party as it is obvious they have no clue how to govern. They just set out to ‘win’ (rig) an election and I doff my heart off to them on that. They are efficient when it comes to elections. To them, any elections are no-holds-barred contest and they go to any length to ‘win’ (rig) it. For good or bad, I do not think anybody can blame them for being that ruthless. Political parties thrive on winning elections and executing their campaign promises. That is the ultimate goal of any political party. I think we in the NPP lack that ruthless streak to execute elections. It is about time we put down our suits and ties and go into elections like our very existence depended on it. Granted that there are no perfect electoral systems anywhere in the world; it is even worse in our side of the world and that is the more reason why we should not have left anything to chance.
I remain a proud and an incorrigible member of the party but if I had my way, I would have asked the party not to go to court. We have to call our supporters off the streets. We should not lose sight of the fact that anybody at all could put on the NPP party ‘T’ Shirt to cause havoc and mayhem on the streets just to give the party a bad name. We have to apologise to our followers, sympathisers and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in particular; for letting them down so spectacularly. For the sake of peace and tranquillity in the country, we have to move on and learn our bitter lessons in humility. There is nothing wrong in going to court but the damage to the party would be far reaching and near impossible to repair should the courts throw out our case. These are my own effusions and not binding on the party but I would have wished it got a little consideration. Honestly though, I am sick and tired of this “morning after” pill we keep pushing down the throats of the electorates: writing a catalogue of rigging methodologies employed by the NDC after elections. It has become one too many and it is obviously not the way forward as we seem not to be learning anything from what we have been writing. The time has come for pragmatism and proclivity to overhaul the docile passivity we keep displaying during elections. Truth hurts but we must face it. It is the only way we can come up with solutions to our problems, after all; the “morning after” pill does not taste nice: just ask the women!
Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei