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Opinions of Monday, 17 May 2010

Columnist: Annoh-Manso, Jerome

The Seat of Government under Potential NDC Youth “Coup d’état”

Ghanaians in December, 2008 went to the polls and voted for change. Although the final results indicated a closely fought contest, several Ghanaians, however are of the opinion that figures were massaged in arriving at that final results.

Be that as it may, change has come. Whether for better or for worse, that remains to be seen in December, 2012 when we all get back to polls to exercise our only and unique power and franchise. December 2012 is barely two (2) years away.

My observations so far, as a Ghanaian, indicate that some events within the country send erroneous representation of the nation Ghana. Precisely, the actions of the so-called foot soldiers of the ruling NDC is getting out of control. From toilet seizure to lorry park management, from one toll booth control to the other, from demonstrations against DCEs and MCEs to demonstrations against Ministers of State and other government officials.

In all these unwarranted and meaningless agitations, government has succumbed to the whim and caprices of these unruly individuals under the guise of being a listening government. Government then turns around and tell the discerning and wildly awaken Ghanaian population that government’s decision and action to sack these officials did not arise from the agitations of the NDC youth but in all these cases, the decisions were taken days earlier ahead of the agitations. They make us believe and take them as coincidences. But, if these occurrences are truly coincidences, then they are disastrous coincidences indeed.

Well, as some government officials perceive the population and for that matter the electorate as obedient servants who will listen and believe any cock and bull story, these officials MUST NOTE that it is they the officials who are rather SERVANTS of the population and electorate.

Clearly, in my opinion, this clamour and agitation by some of these irresponsible NDC youth is masterminded by some key and irresponsible officials of the party who incite these youth for their selfish ends. The earlier government stops yielding to these unmeritorious demands of these few disruptive youth and faceless officials of the NDC, the better it will be for the President, the Presidency and the country as a whole.

Now, Government should attempt answering the following question:

Can anyone imagine what will happen when the same NDC youth groups scattered all over the country, come together and mass up to the Castle and demand that the President relinquished his seat as President? At that point will the President vacate his seat because he is presiding over a listening government?

Believe me, such an initiative by their youth can attract national support and will amount to a declaration of vote of no confidence in the Presidency and government. Obviously, the opposition will take 100% advantage of such a wonderful opportunity. Do not rule out the activities of opportunistic and subversive groups who are quick to take advantage of every least prospect. When that happens, no amount of party spins and propaganda can recover or reverse the dwindled image of the party. Only God knows how things will turn out from there.

Implications of the NDC youth’s unruly behaviour

1. It sends a very strong signal that the Presidency and government is weak and easily yields to the slightest pressure. This is extremely unpleasant for good governance, as all manner of people can take undue advantage of it, as exemplified by such bodies as TOR workers, our dear traders at NOVOTEL etc. who instead of dealing directly with their immediate and direct chain of command, demand the intervention of the Castle because of the mantra, ‘the President is a listening President’. It is a recipe for destabilisation of our growing democracy.

2. It works perfectly into the hands of other gullible idle youth and criminals to take full advantage of. This is a recipe for social disorder.

3. It began from one region and has spread quickly to several other regions. In this era of ubiquitous communication links and networks, government should not underestimate their ability to network into a formidable force of destruction. When this occurs, the resultant effect could be catastrophic

4. The perception of NDC being a violent party is becoming a reality day by day. Once it builds up in the mind of all obedient and law abiding citizens, it will be difficult to change it. Also, most of the nation’s youth who never tasted and experienced the NDC rule because they were very young and therefore did not believe the opposition’s description of the party as a violent party, are now adults and will accept it as true and as a reality. This has a tendency of losing the party votes in 2012.

5. When the NDC youth destroy the image of the party now, which product will they package and put forward for sale to the electorate in 2012? It will be interesting in 2012.

6. The predominance of these NDC youth disturbance in Northern Ghana, a region that is already volatile with severe security problems, is rather extremely worrying. It could aggravate an already tense environment.

7. In all these NDC youth misbehaviour, the Police Service has been toothless and irrelevant. Indeed, some of their officials did not mince words when they said it was a Political Party matter and so was beyond their control and jurisdiction. These are serious statements to have come from the Police Service. Initially, I found these statements as unfortunate and irresponsible. Upon deeper reflection, however, I realised they were being truthful and frank. My respect goes for them. Clearly, their efforts may have been frustrated. But an ineffective Police Force sends a wrong signal to the general population and the international community, including prospective investors.

Conclusion

1. The NDC youth should rethink their actions and stop these boisterous behaviour and attitude. 2. Government should empower the Police Service to act in order to protect the image of the service as well as the Government and the NDC Party’s itself. 3. The Police Service themselves should take the professional initiative and act in order to elicit public respect, trust and confidence. 4. Government should as a matter of urgency risk assess and manage the situation, nib it in the bud now rather than later. 5. People who steal a ball of Kenkey worth only about four (4) Ghana Pesewas for their hunger are charged, prosecuted and in some cases jailed. These make very interesting headlines of major newspapers. Why is it that unruly and distractive individuals who vandalise public and private property worth thousands of Ghana Cedis, and in some cases cause irreparable harm human lives are not heard or seen prosecuted? It sends damaging signals about the governance.

Government should note that governance is not a customer service endeavour where we usually say “the customer is always right” ostensibly to get their money at all cost. In politics, doing so could lead to the creation of severe disaffection and confusion. Floating voters and some opposition elements who may have voted for you based on your perceived humility and tenacity can have a change of mind about your competence. Truthfully, this is already happening.

Mr President, just as you occasionally pull surprises at various offices and establishments, please send a strong and stern warning to the nation and specifically to the NDC youth. Once that is done, no government or party official should attempt clarifying your order. Mr. President, with all due respect, please take action now in order to forestall any potential NDC youth “coup d’etat”. The country cannot withstand it.

Thanks

From: Jerome Annoh-Manso (annohmanso@yahoo.com)