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Opinions of Friday, 8 March 2013

Columnist: GhanabaJnr

The battle for political survival in Ghana

Ghana is of the countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa, situated in the middle of the equator either by divine or perfect Architectural design of the Planet earth, is indeed a beacon of light for the entire region of Africa in terms of Politicl,Religious,Ethnic,Cultural,Social tolerance. Unlike many of these countries where, politics, religion, culture and many societal derivatives have torn them apart breaking the very umbilical cord from their ancestral regime to their current state. We in Ghana are very fortunate to have triumphed halfway since the era of Mansa Musa and the Sundiata’s to the coming of the Gans’ from Ile-Ife in Nigeria and the amalgamation of the Trans Ghana-Togo Land to the migration of the Ashantes’ from the North Pole and many historical evidence of our unique diversities.
This is not to say, we have not encountered odd times, such as the fighting of ownership right from the British and its allied colonies in the early 1900s by our forth fathers, where many groups were formed by the Nationalist of this country. We all know how others were bought in and later defected to form a new group by some ill thought reasons, which set the tone for political space and prestige in this country.
I do not want to sound a Historian, by reminding you of some past events, but for the purposes of this piece to be informed, stair passion, in the manner in which the 21st Century Politics is run and managed.
Again, I want to limit this piece to the early 1990s and the Forth Republican Constitution of 1992 and the Fierce Rivalry between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) being the most viable, visible and voluminous Political Party in the country.

It is always said that, the doctor will diagnose a patient and prescribe medicine only if the patient admit being ill or sick and visit any health facility. But if you are sick and you pretend not to be, no one comes in your aid. It is just proper for people to be conscious of how others feeling are, in a group or any society.
The NDC have been in Power twelve and half years heading to sixteen years without prejudice to the 2012 elections petition in the highest court of the land and the NPP has had only eight years of Political Power since the 1992 Republican Constitution.
This is without the PNDC eleven (11) years and the PFP two and half (2.5) years from 1969-1972 led by Dr.K.A Busia.
In all PNDC/NDC have had twenty-three and counting more years of Political Power and PFP/NPP has had ten and half (10.5) years in Power. As for their achievement and track record I leave it for your own judgments.
As a citizen of Ghana, I just want to put issues yet to be raised into critical scrutiny, how these two political parties have managed all factors that make them a political party since 1992, and its prospects in the coming years.
The NPP without prejudice to NDC, have some comparative advantage in terms of Weight of followers due to their connection back dated to UGCC era, but for the NDC due to its formation and some obvious illegality have suffered serious backbone in terms of Weight of followers. With this, I do not want to mention the clusters of their followers; I believe is obvious to all in this country comparing NPP and NDC followers. The issue really for me is not the past or current composition but what are these parties doing to either consolidate their respective comparative advantages or moving into new frontiers of followings? We all know that, political parties do not sell “Tie and Die Cloth or Pito or Koobi” but what they sell is Ideas, which need to give them the Will of the people to administer the country.
Let me take the NDC; the NDC has grown in depth and width since 1992 by way of their holdings and has taken conscious effort in dealing with the obvious deficit they have. I think it is a plus for them to do that, after all it is a political party, that only mandate is to win Political Power just as any in the country.
These is my few reasons I have identify by which NDC continue to do well. It looks obvious as an outsider to think they are not united, but, it will shock you to note how vociferous NDC supporter can defend and campaign for the party wherever he or she is, any day any time. Every NDC supporter feel part of the party, have the sense that, he or she will get at least a bag of rice every quarter or a box of matches and a gallon of kerosene or even sure of the child been placed in NADMO,Police,Military,Nursing Training,Imigration,Fire, and the current NYEP,Scholaships etc.
Whether it is wrong or right, no political party can win power without these principal otherwise called “Foot Soldiers”, and therefore needs to be herd, compensated, satisfied and sort them as long as the party is in power and even in an opposition yet to be in. They also use a modern means of communication, by the use of Bottom Up and Top Down Communication Channels. Every Cadre in NDC is significantly important in the scheme of affairs in the NDC. This gives the party strength at the base; you find it extremely difficult to change the mind of “Mr. Nobody in NDC than that of “Mr. Somebody in other parties including NPP.

Lastly, NDC has a plan for the next 30 years, to fill the gap; the NDC has gone down to the Virgin Voter, by attracting them with juicy packages such as placement in the universities, NTCs’ and scholarships. Since human minds is not static and is in continuum according to my small I had in Psychology, this action by the NDC will give them first mover advantage holdings of the 21 century political space.
The Youth today see NDC as a party of Hope, a party of the youth. This is evidenced by the votes NDC have banked since 2000 till date, with incremental figures of 44% - 47% in 2008 first round.
With this one can say, the NDC core is between 40-45% and NPP too have some 40-48% as a core.
But, NDC is moving with the lighting speed to close the gap and are moving to these new frontiers of about 8-10%.

Now the NPP; same cannot be said by the NPP in the aforementioned strength of the NDC. But, the party looks more attractive in all shade and shape. It stands tall in terms of its Ideologies, its uniqueness and worked with established democratic weapons to attain two political powers 1969 and 2000 in this country. Its people are just marvelous, in all facets of life, you may like it or hate it. But in all this, the party continues to shrink in terms of size since 1992, but people whether deliberately or feel pompous to admit it, so as to find the right antidote to it, is making the problem widening by the day
. It is sad to say this, that, the party is inept in terms political organization and appeal for new entrants. A party that has five (5) persons each as executives at the base (in all the 26,200 Polling Stations) looks so ineffective and disjointed anytime its operation is call to a text
These Pooling Station Executives do not feel inked in the scheme of event in the party, let alone ordinary supporter. There is no sense of belonging, so that information flow can be coordinated in a liked manner for each party operative given off their best, do not seem working. Even the Constituency Chairman or Secretary of the party have to wait until hears something on Radio before acting.
The supporters are left out and are unsure of what to benefit should the fellow go the full length to campaign hence depleted structure at the base.
Unfortunately, the party has substituted real human persuasive and organizational abilities to the use of Radio, hence untidy struggle for radio recognition by some privileged few. One can easily say, the party is freelance party hopping from one radio to the other to prosecute its agenda, leaving the base so bare to be captured with ease by their rivals.
Unlike religion, where one is sure of two things after death, same cannot be said by political parties, so that people sit in their armed chair to conjecture and extrapolate that, the party is liked by majority without any serious scientific bases.
In so far as human wants continue to be insatiable, they will therefore dance to new rhythms that have their basic interest at hand. These enable many party loyalists to succumb to any pressure, but, not some fanciful traditions that do not put food on the table. We all know, poverty is the key determinants why people burry their conscience in Ghana.
If care is not taken, NPP will lose its base and continue to perform poorly in already poor performing areas in this country.
This is simple, NPP wins almost all Urban, Municipal, Metropolitan cities whiles NDC wins almost all Rural, Villages, and Cottages.
Now, whereas NDC is pushing hard to place their party as a party of choice by Virgin Voters in our second Cycle Schools and the Tertiary to close the gap, The NPP is doing little to touch base with unfriendly political turf of the NDC. This is so dangerous for the NPP, and needs immediate attention to make it appealing before 2016; else 60-70% of all Graduates in the country will switch to NDC without second thought. After all, each one wants to gain status and be herd and build their inordinate ambitions.
If, you cared for one person, you earned the person’s unabated loyalty, so if NDC since 1992,have sent say,500 persons outside to further education, and each one comes from a family do you think, that fellow will acquiesce for any other party’s interest ever? At least 80% will keep their loyalty and this is evident by the early Cuban fleet by the then Chairman Rawlings.
NPP should, remove the traditional lenses and face the real issues confronting it, before it becomes too late to ameroriate. Nobody is static in mind, therefore are susceptible to societal movement.
Bottom line political organization is a serious mind game, it involves definite time, energy, and massive resources either human or material (cash) and not the easy way of the Radio.
The NDC have shown over the years that, they are a serious political party who are poised to make meaning to only reason why parties are formed and that is to win political power through the aforementioned factors raised in this piece whilst their arch rivals NPP do virtual extrapolation in the offices, by totally neglecting the base.
Until, the NPP comes to terms with the reality on the ground and given total respect to the very molecules of the party at the grassroots and stop using the very powerful structure they have on the ground as a machinery for primaries for the Parliamentary and Presidential Candidates, they will always be left behind the race, because political space and dominance is a survival for the swift not the loud and the strong.
I cannot for instance, be convinced why NPP have five executives at the very point votes are cast, numbering over 100,000 and yet, will run office for four years without initiating any cultivating move to the next house where they stay? This is a serious political organizational inept.
Because, seriously, no political party can win elections by ad hoc measures without all rounds, four years deep thinking, strategizing, branding, and influencing every nook and crony of the country?
The NPP is by far the solid political party in its form,stature,nature,ideals,color,and all that make any product buyable to a customer,but,its style of politics can easily buried it in the coming years not far from now, if not ameroriated ?
I was chanced by a comment made by someone whom I know hold a position as an Electoral Area Coordinator in NPP saying-“Na Party na y3b3 we” to wit, are we going to eat party?
This should tell all parties that the peoples’ interest will wane cold if nothing is done about their interest, especially, to the NPP who are the most handicapped in terms of this problem.
In all these, it should rather be the interest of Ghana, and that who can really serve the nation best, but, for the nature of our economy, people are so vulnerable and just fall for anything.
It is in this light, that all must be seen showing interest in the way a manner politics is done in this country, to avert a total collapse of the very problem the 1992 Constitution envisage happening, thereby curbed it by some relevant articles in the constitution for Multi Political Party Formation, else NDC will eat all parties and gradually turned this country into a One Party State.
I therefore, call on all Civil Societies, Preachers of Democracy, the Media, and Citizens to come strongly on this; else the country will sink and may not survive the next thirty (30) years to come.
We need to continue to show our diversity in style as we have done over the years predating Gold Coast era.
Can we begin to lay down how citizens can benefit from the purse of the state, no matter which political party is in power, to avert the ugly Struggle for Survival by the political party systems we have at the moment? I do not think, an American citizen will just vote for a political party because he/she is given some personal assurances should that party wins, but vote by deliverables to the nation? I believe it is so because, there are relatively fair systems in place for all citizenry no matter which political ideology one belongs to, this, to me must be the way forward for Ghana my beloved country.
We must be seen working for the system to respond to the needs of the shareholders of the state than just been at work so that the shareholder will feel we are working.
You and you out there! “Don’t live for society but live to support society”
May Jehovah God be with us, as we strive to make our nation prosperous for all!
Long live Mother Ghana! Long live all!!!

March, 2013