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Opinions of Friday, 22 May 2015

Columnist: Nyamekye, Kwabena

The decline and fall of the New Patriotic Party

The turmoil in the NPP is sad. The death of its Upper East Region chairman is tragic. For me however, all of this tells me that the NPP is in terminal decline. Look at our sad and sorry state from the peak of our glory in 2004 when we held on to power having thrashed the NDC. Accusations are being thrown around at anyone believed to have not supported the current flag bearer. The Bantama MP, Henry Kokofu is accused of being in the NDC. Our Chairman and General Secretary have faced the same allegations. We are in the grip of persons who vowed to bring us down if their candidate was not elected flag bearer – No Nana No Vote! Before the delegates Congress in Tamale the aspiring chairman is subjected to vilification from a computer in our secretariat. Tema West is divided today just like Bekwai was divided in 2008. This is due to the direct intervention of forces in the higher echelons of the party. The Greater Accra regional chairman countermands an order from headquarters. For those of us who have forgotten this candidate-directed division was the cause of the loss of our parliamentary majority in 2008.

The Ashanti region, the jewel in our crown is leaking votes as the cultural symbol of the region, the person dear to the hearts of many of our voters, is attacked by us just because he was acting diplomatically at a function he organized at Manhyia. Our most successful leader, J.A. Kufuor was the target of hooting by thugs from Nima. We all know whose power base that is in our party yet we have chosen to look the other way. As the presidential candidate goes through Germany and other parts of Europe, the voters in Wenchi where he lost miserably in 2012, look on in amusement. Some members of the party are marginalized because they dared to back different candidates in previous flag bearer contests. Go and ask Prof Mills why he lost in 2000 and he will tell you that the small faction that was not happy with him being imposed on the NDC and which was marginalized because it complained is most probably the main reason for that defeat.

Great organizations do not collapse overnight. What usually happens is internal cracks are not dealt with; bad leadership that makes bad decisions and that repels the public worsens the divisions. Then a better alternative appears and supporters begin to drift to that alternative. NDC is not a wonderful organization but they are held together by the fruits of power. They have learned their lesson – do not build a party around one person and make sure problems are dealt with internally. They are yet to hoot at President Mahama and no one hooted at President Mills. Arrogance abounds and this reflects in the leadership. No problem, we will win is the cry. Doesn’t matter our divisions, doesn’t matter public perception of our candidate, the NDC is so bad we will win easily. If perception and division did not matter then Mills will have won the 2000 election.

After our defeat in 2016 is when the Party will be finally destroyed. This is because the losers will set fire to us in a scorched earth policy. If their man can’t win power then no one will. This was what they did in 1979 and this will be the case in 2017 as history repeats itself. Sheer spite for an alternative candidate and the attempt to plant their man as flag bearer despite losing three times as running mate will ensure our fragmentation. The party will then shrink further as the NDC eats into our heartlands. Come the 2020 election the NDC will have groomed a candidate to thrash our man once again. My bet is the militant members of the NPP will probably find a new set of suspects to blame and this will increase the division and rancour in our ranks, further widening the gap and making it impossible to reconcile.

My heart says it is not too late to rescue the party from defeat but my head says otherwise. Too much damage has been done from within and there seems to be no sign of reconciliation.

Kwabena Nyamekye