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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Columnist: Nyamekye, Kwabena

Will the NPP collapse if Nana Addo loses again in November 2016?

Kwabena Nyamekye

A lot of fear-mongering is circulating about the fate of the New Patriotic Party in the event (increasingly likely) of the defeat of Akufo Addo in November this year. That defeat is staring us in the face is based on the lack of any enthusiasm in Ghana to replace the failing NDC with the divisive Akufo Addo led NPP. No matter how bad Ghana is, the first thing that people look for in a government is security and safety. When a government cannot carry out that basic function then it loses legitimacy in the eyes of the people. What is tragic is that Akufo Addo is demonstrating threatening behavior before he is elected president with his war on our party structures and this is what is so repulsive for people in Ghana. Mahama’s language and posturing is not threatening; Akufo Addo after disposing of Afoko and others (and with Kwadwo Mpiani in his sights) sounds and behaves like a man who is full of fire and brimstone. With this alone in my view, the odds still favour President Mahama.

But the issue then is what happens after he goes down to another defeat. His supporters allege NPP will collapse as his defeat will not be down to his being unelectable – his defeat will be the result of the sinister conspiracies of the Agenda 2020 clique. Of course this is nonsense but I guess when you are desperate you see plots against you everywhere. Thus if the 2020 demons destroy Nana Addo,, his supporters will destroy the great NPP. On the surface they have a point. In recent times the NPP has moved from a political party to a cult with Nana Addo as the cult hero. The Great Dear Leader of the Danquah-Busia tradition can do no wrong. He is always right. He is the Great Shepherd, the Guide, the Fount of Wisdom in the NPP.

But how then will this destruction take place after loss number 3. What happens? Do we sell off party headquarters distribute the money to all paid up members and be done with the NPP? Do our MPs give up their seats wailing about the skullduggery of the (non-existent) 2020 faction? Do we stop appearing on Oman FM having no party position to articulate? Do we dissolve all local branches of the NPP? Or do we tell Nana Addo off you go and we can now get on with sorting ourselves out after the damage you have caused? You have burned our swing regions, reduced our majority in our strongholds, blown up our parliamentary majority, ripped our constitution to shreds, and made a peaceful party look like a battlefield in Syria. With all this we are still standing so if you lose again the question one will ask is ”what else is new”? Moreover we suffered and survived the one-party state, the mass arrests under the PDA, the coup of 1972, the divisive split you enthusiastically supported in 1979, the tyranny of the PNDC era, the loss by Adu Boahen and the loss by Kufuor in 1996. So what is wonderful about Nana Addo, what is so magical, so mystical that after a third defeat we will fracture into many pieces unable to re-build ourselves?

The Republican Party in the US was founded in 1854 and within 10 years its great leader Abraham Lincoln was assassinated yet the party remained firm. The Democratic Party saw its young charismatic president John F Kennedy cut down in a hail of lead in 1963 yet it remained firm like a rock. Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was assassinated but her Congress Party was never wiped out. Her son Rajiv Ghandi was also assassinated and yet the Congress Party remains. Even the CPP survived the 1966 coup and came back in 1979 as the PNP. Its current poor state is on account of so many of its members opportunistically switching the NDC in 1992 – the political wing of the military junta that overthrew it. If the members had not done so (funnily celebrating their own overthrow on 31st December each year) the CPP will most probably still be a political force.

Joseph Boakye Danquah, Obetsebi Lamptey, George Pa Grant and others built a political party around ideas and institutions and not around persons. This is why the Danquah-Busia tradition is the most durable in Ghana’s politics and one of the most durable in Africa. The NDC has taken a leaf out of our book by neutralizing the power of its founder and so this is why it has moved from a fan club to a political organization. Thus even though we seem to have strayed a bit from this system with the adulation of one man, another defeat will most probably snap us back to our senses. We will thus rebuild the party, re-organize and move forward with our agenda of winning state power and taking Ghana from glory to more glory