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Opinions of Monday, 12 June 2006

Columnist: Abdallah, Abdul Rahman

The decline of the Nkrumaist faction .....

... in Ghanaian Politics: The fault of wranglers and wreckers.

Mr. Mike Eghan was on air calling on the national executive of the CPP to resign because, according to him, they have failed the party. However, it is not Mr. Eghan's call for the resignition of the CPP leadership that prompted this article, but his reference to the NDC as died political party that disgust and push me into writing. This kinds of statements from the CPP sounds like a terminal cancer patient on a hospital bed passing a death sentence on a healthy and vibrant persons working the street of Accra. This is how this writer percieves the CPP and its ranting. The NDC, notwithstatnding all its problems and the attempts by the current government, and supported by some element within the CPP, to demonise and despite, including paying bribes to NDC officials and parliamentarian to resign from party and protray it wick, the NDC has shown that it is a formidable political entity. In the 2004 elections the NDC earned 47% support of Ghanaians, it elected 94 member of parliament, and in the recent by-elections it won and retained all it seats. The NDC has also shown that it only viable alternative party capable of winning elections and forming a government apart from the rulling NPP. This is contrary to the projections of Mr Egha, Kwaku Baaku and their likes who postulated long before that the NDC could not stand losing power and that the party will disintegrate after it loses, and their CPP will take advantage of the NDC fall outs. Its been almost 6 years since the NDC left office, and we are yet to see any major crack in its support base, and we are also yet to see any advantage the CPP had taken thereoff. If anything all, the NDC improved its performance from the election, contrary the CPP had been losing grounds and will continue to lose grounds until the party gets its acts right. In this piece we seek to examine the problems of the CPP or the Nkrumaist group (as they choose to call themselves) as well as offer them some kind strategic solutions, if they do care heed.

It is the considered opinion of this writer that allowing, Mr Egha, Kwaku Baaku and their likes to lead the debate over CPP revitalization is like asking a carpenter to diagnose and perform a heart surgery. They have no clue the problems confronting their party, hence will make wrong diagnosis, as they have always made, and come out with very wrong conclusions. These group of people have their own hidden agenda that more often conflict with the agenda of the CPP. It is now common knowledge that Mr. Kwaku for instance, cares more and thinks more of the rulling NPP than he did the CPP. He has a vested interest in the continual stay in office of the NPP than he has for the CPP. In fact Kwaku Baaku was no record to have insulted a CPP presidential candidate and demean it National Executive. If I were a member of the CPP, I would called for the removal of the kinds of Kwaku Baaku and Egha from the party because these individuals represent the wranglers and wreckers of the CPP and the Nkrumaist Family in Ghanaian politics. In the case of Kwaku Baaku, his hyppocracy when it comes to the current government is beyond compare. This is an individual who described the Prevention Detention Act of 1964 as one of the dark sides of the Nkrumah era, yet he is very hesitant to recognise or mention the role certain members of the current government played in the CIA instigated overthrow of Nkramah. He claims to be a CPP member yet he attacks every decision of the CPP executive, to the extend of threating to strip them naked if they dare sanction him for wrong-doing.

Over the years some false professed Nkrumaist such as Kwaku Baaku and CPP/PNC members of parliament have become vertually the spokes persons and appendages of the NPP. Mr Baaku is always quick to defend every government decision, sometimes very wrong ones. This writer is very certain readers will remember the defense put by Mr Baaku in the CNTC and IFC money laundering scam and his claims that he was in possession of documents proving the loans to be genuine. It turned out that those loans were dubious and a calculated attempt by certain officials within the rulling party to make money at the expense of the state. Mr Baaku and some elements within the CPP are of the view that critizing this government will go along way to make NDC popular, and hense thwart their misguided hypothesis that the more the NDC stay out of office the more popular the CPP. Yet they fail to recognise that the CPP has nothing to gain from the fortunes or misfortunes of the NDC. The dwinding support for the so-called Nkrumaist lie within the nature of their parties. The earlier these parties involve a strategy to isolate these members of their party, espercially Kwaku Baaku and their members of parliament, the better it would be for the party. Suffice it to say that these individuals have no interest in their party and have more to gain from the parties current state.

To understand and appreciate the genesis of the problems bedeviling the CPP, it important to trace how the Nkrumaist family stated the current democratic era in 1992. Unlike the UP tradition, the Nkrumaist family started this era very divided. When in 1992 the band on political activities was lifted, 4 parties registered in the name of the tradition.

They include National Independent Party (NIP), People's National Convention (PNC), People's Heritage Party (PHP), and National Convention Party (NCP). With the exception of the NCP that formed the Progress Alliance with the NDC, all the others contested the 1992 elections with seperate candidates of their own, each of which projecting himself as the true Nkrumaist group. By doing this, the Nkrumaist family not only presented a divided front, but confused voters who might otherwise had voted for an Nkrumaist party (including my own family who ended up voting for the NDC). Even though the chances of winning the 1992 election is slim, at least the Nkrumaist, like their UP counterpart, could have created a voting constituency of their own that they could relied on in subsequent elections. They however failed to do so and by so doing created their current dilemma.

The problem confronting the CPP has never been a lack of leadership. In 1992 very capable individuals joined the cause of the Nkrumaist family. Some runned on Nkrumaist tickets in elections. Notable among are Mr. Kwabina Darku, a renowned Ghanaian businessman, well known in the business community, General Eskin, a distiguished General in the Ghana Armed Forces, and of cause Dr. Hilla Limann, a former President of the Republic, and many prominient Ghanaians. Why the Nkrumaist family did not translate their rich membership in to political fortunes is one of the question that kept buggling the mind of this writer. Part of the reason is complecency and lack of innitiave on the part of the group at the started of the current era. Because of previous their successes in Ghanaian politics, many of them thought that by merely running on the ticket of an Nkrumaist party they are granteed electoral victory. They failed to recognise that current political dynamics are very different from the Nkrumah days and even 1979 when they last won election in the country. A large part of the current voting population did not experience or see the Nkrumah days. Even for those who experience it, the Nkrumaist group are so fragmented that it was difficult to identify with the group that truely represent the aspiration of Osagyfo. Also, unlike the 1979 elections when power was handed over to them on the silver plata by a more sympathetic AFRC, in 1992 they were confronted by a military government that metamorphoused itself into a civil government, thus making the playing field completely different from other democratic periods.
Making electoral gains in the current dispensation goes beyond just running as an Nkrumaist. It also involves providing and selling the vission of the party to the electorates, and identifying with the problems of the people as well as providing very viable alternatives to the status quo. You do not do these by merely supporting the ruling on every issue as the current CPP and PNC members of parliament, resulted to doing, hoping that by doing so, the ruling party provide them with concessionary seats, or what I will call "free seat". This writer have been following their parliamentary voting pattern since 2000, it is very amasing that 100% of times the CPP/PNC parliamentary group voted along with ruling party. Somes on very controvercial and diabolic issues such as the decision not to declare vacant the seat of the disgraced and dishorourable member of parliament for Nkronza North, Eric Amoateng. and the decision to confirm the nomination of Dr. Richard Anane, the "lidinal wizard", who sneaked in the panties of an American HIV/Aids campaigner without the use of protection. More often the Nkrumaist member of the legislature are more vehement in defending government policies than NPP officials themselves. They have vertually become what I will call the "enbedded members of the NPP". Because of their constant pro-government positions in parliament, sometimes, contrary to their own party's position, they have rendered the Nkrumaist ineffective and voiceless in the Ghanaian political scene.
The activities of these members of parliament is directly affecting the Nkrumaist. Since the Nkrumaist decided to support the NPP, their vote have been declining steadly. In 1992 the combine percentage of votes of the Nkrumaist was over 7% of the total votes cast. In the 1996 elections, CPP went in to alliance with the NPP, but the PNC contested and it had a little over 2% of the total vote cast. In the 2000 presidencial, the combine votes of the Nkumaist group was 6.3% and in 2004 their combine votes was 3%. Between the 2000 and the 2004 elections, the Nkrumaist group's percentage of votes cast have declined by more than half. If we factor in the 1992 result, they have lost more than 4% of votes. If Kwaku Baaku's strategy, which entailed undermining the NDC for the CPP to rise is working, the Nkumaist would have seen a significant increase in their votes in the 2004 election. However, as I have stated earlier, that is a recipy for disaster. The more the parties support the ruling government, the more it is seen as part of the government, and the less its ability to build a voting constituency.
Whiles it will be unfair to say that Nkumaist should kick against any government policy or legislation, it is preposterous to become the government rubber stamp as a political group seeking political power to lead the country. Supporting the NPP at all times is a lose and lose situation for the Nkramaist group both within parliament and outside it.
If government policies became popular, the voting public will not look at their party because they are not in power. In this case the NPP gains and CPP loses. If government policies became unpopular, they lose again, as voters will lump them with the NPP as failures. Between 2000 and 2004 when the NPP was so popular, the popularity of the Nkrumaist faction fell as election 2004 indicated, even though certain elements within the CPP were always on air defending the positions of the government. when the honey of the NPP ended, the NDC started winning by-election after election, the CPP had single-digid votes because they were perceived as a part of the problem and not the solution to it. This bring us to the final part of this paper. What should the Nkrumaist do to regain their past glory.

Towards Revitalizing the Nkrumaist.

The solution to Nkrumaist problem is simple if not shere commonsense. The first step towards achieving the likes of their glorious past is to unite and present to Ghanaians a common platform. By uniting and ending the current confusion and fragmentation within their ranks, voters will begin to see them as a group. It is the considered opinion of this writer that PNC joins the CPP as the later bear the founding name of the party. Secondly, the Nkrumaist should come with a clear policy position that distingush them from the other players in the political scene. Thirdly, they should follow through this policies by linking their support in parlaiment to their policy position. Furthermore, the party should ask all it members serving in the government to resign or be dismiss from the party. This idea will meet some resistance on the part of their parliamentarians and party members, as happened in the past, nevertheless I will urge the leadership of the CPP to persue this agenda even if it demands taking those MP to court. This is because no politician can serve two masters at the same time and you are either an Nkrumaist or you not. The argument that the relationship between the CPP and NPP is a strategic alliance is flawed. In every alliance there are terms and conditions that parties in the alliance can invoke in times of disagreement. In alliances parties have a determinate share of the booty. In the case of CPP-NPP so-called strategic alliance there are no terms because the alliance was not formally entered. The CPP have no rights or responsibilities in the alliance as it did not contribute to election of the NPP to power. The relationship between the two parties is a master-servant one, with the NPP serving as the master that gives the CPP certain appointments with the aim of receiving its unfliching support both in and outside parliament.
Finally, the Nkrumaist should discard the oldheld notion that it is the NDC's fault that their party failed abysmally in the past and begin to take personal responsibilities for their organisational errors and take steps to ractify them. The parties should go at all length to tame elements like Kwaku Baaku from leading the party's agenda. Mr Kwaku Baaku has a vested interest in the continual stay in office of the NPP. He shown that he is more NPP than he is CPP. Also, the Nkumaist should endevour to select very credible and articulate candidate to lead their party in elections. Candidates are very important since they represent the face of the party during elections. It is the consideration of this writer that the dismal performance of the CPP in the last election was partly because of the candidate it choose to lead it election campaign. The parties should take also very pragmatic steps to win back former members of the party who, mostly out of frastration, deserted the Nkrumaist such as Alhaji Asoma Banda, Mr Bala Falle and several others to rejoin their cause.

Abdul Rahman
Ontario, Canada.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.