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Opinions of Saturday, 17 January 2009

Columnist: Afreh, Manu Bernard

The Showdown In The NDC

To say the contest was unnerving and heart-stopping is stating the obvious. There has been an official declaration of results. The supporters of the victorious team are transported with joy; cymbals clash against clarinets; the streets resonate with party songs. But to redeem the occasion from becoming a carnival of philistines, the big guns, albeit young guys, in the party, who toiled and sacrificed a lot to the success decide to celebrate in style and panache at a theatre. The programme was billed to honour deserving ‘labourers’. No sooner had the celebrants found their designated seats than the entertainers swung into action: doing what they knew best. With people nodding heads in appreciation of the music, it was clear that the good sensation was seeping into their minds. Then the shocker came! Some uninvited, party political gurus and acquaintances had besieged the stage! The baton fell off the hand of the conductor; it was a symphony cut short! And to the utmost disbelief of spectators, they are to perish the thought of getting honoured, and, in their own interest, are to kowtow to the invaders like house geckoes. In the twinkle of an eye, the elation written on the faces of the rightful awardees was suddenly turned into unspeakable depression.

The foregoing is no fiction; it aptly describes events unfolding in the new NDC. In just a matter of days that the party took reins of government, some of their political retirees, whose acts of self-exhumations must have kept political morticians guessing, have resurfaced at the presidential villa seeking to reap what they did not plant. With the lame excuse that they are armed with experience, they refuse to accept that at a time when their services were needed, they had slinked into political wilderness. And as if to massage their fast waning egos, the old guards, in their estimations, believe the rib cages of the Ablakwa Okudzetos and Ofosu Ampofos are too weak to stand up to the seemingly, insurmountable problems of our nation. In all due respect, the scramble for positions, especially from the end of the old guards is, to put mildly, an eyesore. I do not know why the political retirees would not relapse into hibernation and allow the young ones drink from their well of experience. Why do we seem to forget the fact that no child in the real world runs before crawling? How then do they convince me that it is a NEW NDC when the ‘old brooms are still sweeping the corridors’? In essence, the future of the party lies in the hands of the youths.

The idea of rebranding and retooling the NDC, I believe, was to further imbibe the values of democracy, not gerontocracy. Pray, the nation is fast approaching her 52nd year and we cannot afford to just rotate clockwise and anti-clockwise at this unenviable point of ours. The world is rapidly changing, and we need smart, perceptive managers to position our country to benefit from the rapid processes of globalisation, and rescue us from the jaws of grinding poverty. As I surveyed the political landscape, all of my deductions point conclusively to the fact that, the new blood like the Fiifi Kweeteys, Iddrisu Harunas and not the Kwabena Duffours, best fit the bill.

Fact is: Ever since the old guards entered into the ‘equation’, the young politicians have felt like endangered species. While some hiss in disgust, others mumble their protests. And if we were to stand truth on its feet, this is a classic tale of ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’. It goes without saying that not all the old guards deserted the party after losing in the 2004 elections. Take, for instance, Dr. Tony Aidoo. You either love or hate him- but there is no ignoring him. In spite of his brittle temperament, his contributions and mode of championing the cause of the party has being wonderful. Mr. Totobi Quakyi, despite nursing a minor injury, also contributes greatly to the strengthening of the party. How then could I forget good old Ama Beniywa-Doe? To her opponents, she is that gadfly who continues to pick holes in their arguments. She loves the party so much that, when someone decided to attack her ideologies, she got angry and socked him in the mouth- this was what earned her the nickname ‘Ama Chavez’. There are a few more whose contributions were invaluable. These are surely not times to mince words. Please, if I may ask: Alhaji Mumuni, where did you travel to after losing the running mate bid to Mahama? I hope you are not tell the world that your contribution lie in the few times you mounted the rostrum?

There is something about doing justice to our consciences. To take something you did not toil for is not smartness. In any culture at all, it would be considered cheating. That is why a student who uses foul means to pass an examination becomes emotionally wrecked afterward. The logic that only hoary-headed people best perform a task belongs to the medieval ages. It is a new dawn and we must allow the young ones enjoy the fruits of their labour. The matrix of modern politics even shows that, the young politicians are, in a masterful manner, able to face challenges and adapt to the newfangled intrigues and manoeuvrings.

I have often debated with friends on whether the nation actually needs leaders or managers. Well, I belong to the second school of thought. Here, I am talking about managers in the political sense. Managers, for all I have observed, are the rare breed of thinkers and doers. It is unfortunate that our nation, nay, continent have these people in short supply. While the acid test of a good manager would be one who gives the nation a foretaste of her potential or controls, directs and put judicious use to state resources to increase standard of living, a good leader could well be one oozing charisma or ready not only to stare in the face of a tiger, but also to spit into it. In this sense, practically everybody with a healthy mind has the potential to play a leadership role. Not so for managers. Then, I could not agree more with Scott Berkun: '… I think there are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a friend, a neighbor makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets blaring, activity.’ Thankfully, our nation is not a war zone to be in dire of a leader to take daring moves. Blessed with all the ingredients of greatness(more so with the discovery of oil), I believe we need a manager in our country.

We are aware of what some of these old guards did while in the service of steering affairs; they led the people alright, but failed in the arena of management. I need not restate their names, but I believe the NDC abound with young ones who can provide the glue for the crevices in our national edifice. In the build up to the last elections, one could not but marvel at the first-class arguments advanced by the young guys in the NDC. Someone might ask why I am rooting for the youths. Here is the proof: They are the ones who are able to win over the hearts of floating voters; able to fraternize with the grassroots and tackle their problems; easily able to adapt to the changing trends in politics; able to churn out innovative ideas to take the nation to imaginative heights.

The bitter truth, which would be too hard to shy away from, is that, the inputs of the youths are the lifeblood of the party. Relegating them to the background and, patting them with the falsehood that their time would come (when?), amounts to a disdain for their intelligence. Remove them and the party comes crashing through the void. The destiny is in their hands! Afreh Manu Bernard