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Opinions of Sunday, 19 February 2012

Columnist: Bawa, Abdul Razak

Why Does The Npp Gleefully Choose Idiots As Presidential Candidates?

This question naturally begs a bigger question: how can a third world country with a low Gross Domestic Product (GDP), high illiteracy rate, infrastructural deficit, high graduate unemployment, possibly allow onto its national stage men and women of such transparently inferior intellect?

The easy answer is that this has always been a long pathetic history of anti-intellectual paranoia since the days of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), with notable names such as Dr. Joseph Boakye Dankwah, to the days of the United Party (UP), which was led by Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, and the recent history of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), led first by Professor Adu Boahene, then to John Agyekum Kufuor, who by accident of history became the President between 2001-2008, and presently Nana ‘naughty by nature’ Akufo-Addo.

Dr. Dankwah was elitist and practiced segregation in his approach to the common man, where class became the yardstick for determining whether one belonged or not. Politics was the preserve of the rich and the privileged. It was the arrival of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who introduced the popular and grass-root participation into our national politics, which eventually won us independence. Then entered Dr. Abrefa Busia, another educationist and who was out of touch with reality. His reign was short-lived because simple matters that had to be dealt with became shrouded in mystical conjecture, as well as the corruption that engulfed the country.

Victor Owusu, like those before him, simply could not understand the pulse of the people, because they could not identify with them and time without number sat down and allowed people then considered political neophytes to come from no-where and win the hearts of the people. Again, Dr Hilla Liman came from no-where to sweep victory under his feet.

The fourth Republican Constitution came into force in 1992; multi-party democracy was introduced and political parties were formed to contest the elections in 1992. The NPP was given birth to and a Presidential candidate in the Person of Prof. ‘insulting’ Adu Boahene was elected. That was perhaps the genesis of politics of insults that we are witnessing now.

A historian who ought to know the implications of insults in politics was rather neck-deep and was always first to throw the salvo and descending into the gutters. Of course, like those before him, he lost abysmally to Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, who knew next to nothing about politics but because he could feel and appreciate the pain of the people.

After Prof. Adu Boahene came the John ‘gentle giant’ Agyekum Kufuor, who was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and full of pretences. Like a white man, he came bearing gifts and Ghanaians gave him and the NPP the opportunity. It was eight years of disappointment, despair and hopelessness.

When Kufuor was exiting, he thought Alan Kyeremanteng was better placed to succeed him, but characteristically of the party (NPP), they settled for the naughty by nature, Nana Akufo-Addo.

My assessment and conclusion is that ex-President Kufuor was perhaps the wisest and smartest choice the NPP has ever chosen as a leader, but a mistake for Ghana.

Nana Addo may be likable and sometimes hard to disagree with, but he had no competing vision. He is simply empty.

As with everything in life that gets better with time, a child is born today, learns to crawl, learns to walk and eventually runs, a significance show of maturity. However, the NPP unfortunately is stack in its sordid and uninspiring past, doing things the old way and not improving.

If not, how can a political party in opposition desirous of coming back to power, elect a dead and uninspiring personality, who thinks that you can win today’s war with yesterday’s strategy- ‘politics of patapaa’

Ironically, when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of independent Ghana, called for positive action and self government now, his (Nana Addo’s) predecessors were shouting independence in the shortest possible time- you see, always afraid of responsibility.

When Ghanaians expected them (leadership of the UGCC) to show leadership and a modicum of bravery, they chickened out. 54 years down the line, when exceptional personalities showed class and leadership and have sacrificed their lives for us to have independence and eventually multi-party democracy, the NPP want a bite of the highest office.

Nana Addo cannot, and will not, be a good President, not because he was not born a leader, but while learning the ropes, he forgot that there is a certain posture, attitude that comes with time. A time to think and a time to speak and a time to account for our actions.

At first blush, one thinks this embrace of incompetence has something to do with the unique idea that anyone from any background can become President, a delusion Nana Addo had lived with since he was a child. Whether it was self delusion or something his parents had told him, nobody knows and nobody can tell, except that he walks around believing he was born to rule.

However, reason suggests that when a young man growing up decides, like Nana Addo, that he was born to succeed, you don’t throw caution to the win and engage in the smoking of illicit drugs, like marijuana. The moment that happens, he or she losses every right to ascend the highest office of the land.

As a student of history, I have asked myself time and again why the NPP does not put the interest of the generality of Ghanaians before they embark on any journey to elect representatives both at the leadership of the party i.e. party executives and their presidential candidates.

In the history of that tradition, John Kufuor was the only person to have had the opportunity of serving two four-year terms as head of state. Unfortunately, however, like his forebears, he on purpose decided to surround himself with leeches who helped themselves to the bounties belonging to the people.

Mr. Kufuor entrenched his greed, and sought immortality; posterity would not forgive him, the man who believes everything is about money and that the more wealth he amasses, the more relevant he becomes in the political discourse of the world.

What he forgot was that when mention is made of Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Winston Churchill of Great Britain, Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton of United States, Dalai Lama, all these personalities are remembered, respected and worshiped not because of how much of the people’s money they stole or how deep their pockets were, but rather how their policies, programmes, temperaments, lifestyles, and reign impacted positively on the lives of their people. Important political figures do not write their own history and sit in judgment of their own actions; they are accountable to their citizens and later to historians for their actions.

Ex-President Kufuor decided to decorate himself and his cronies with a national disgrace called honour and parted themselves on the back for a job well-done. Yet the debt he left behind is more than all the combination of debts Presidents and Heads of State we have had since independence.

I must hasten to add that I am not against borrowing, if only the money is used for the purpose for which it was intended.

When the party (NPP) held their congress in 2007 to elect a presidential candidate to lead them for the 2008 elections, I thought reason would prevail and that for the first time a matured and sensible choice would be made. After all, they had 17 candidates to elect from, they rather characteristically settled for a dunce in the person of Nana Addo as the Presidential candidate. The opportunity came again in 2010, to elect a presidential candidate; yet again they disappointed us by electing the know-nothing, who has a misconception that because he can lead a demonstration, then he can handle a most demanding job of running a country.

Among fine gentlemen like Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten and Isaac Osei, NPP disappointingly settled once again for Nana Addo.

It is said that a piece of advice does not change a man except trials or temptation, so when Nana Addo is finally retired in 2012, may be, just may be the NPP would lick their wounds in regret and hope that as they prepare for 2016, they would abandon the ship of foolhardiness and embrace wisdom in choosing someone to lead the party.