The bane of the political environment today is the twin ills of party delegate-activity and vigilante excesses.
While party delegate activity has tended to largely afflict the ruling New Patriotic Party, the opposition party’s worry is essentially that of hoodlum activity which tends to manifest during congresses – the first manifestation being 1998 when former NDC national chairman and longest-serving Foreign Minister Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah and national women’s organizer of the NDC Frances Assiam were brutalized with official complicity.
The NPP’s headache, since the second term of John Agyekum Kufuor, was the saga of newcomers invading the turf to scramble for positions from active, selfless party foot soldiers, who had struggled and sacrificed there to clinch a difficult victory under difficult circumstances.
Significantly, the 2000 victory was prosecuted largely by these men and women who put personal comfort aside to battle the intimidating NDC cadres, who had support from state security agencies to attempt a political hijack at a time their popularity was waning.
So, most of the constituencies which were particularly indigenous – like Dadekotopon and Odododiodioo – had to lean on grass root people, including assemblymen and ordinary citizens, to defeat the NDC.
That they worked extra hard to achieve that feat is an undeniable fact; however, that they were, later, to trip the same MPs was equally a bitter truth. That, combined with the invasion of the party by more decent people who wanted to be part of the huge victory and latch on their qualifications and cash to kick out MPs, added to the woes of a party which despite its competence and achievement in office, suffered the canker of internal sabre-rattling that became a nagging challenge even for savvy party administrators like the ace Jake Obetsebi Lamptey.
That’s aside of MMDCEs fighting against each other for political recognition, if that resulted in the party losing the seat as we saw amplified in the last elections.
Little wonder that, in the last national primaries that were held under the Kufuor administration, delegates forgot about Ghana and the NPP and chose to look in the direction of money. So when the flag bearer congress that saw an odd eight contenders expressing interest took off, the stage was set for boys and girls who hadn’t in their lifetime seen such millions of cedis, deciding to gamble with the life of the party, instead of the over-riding agenda of keeping the party in power for the sake of party and Ghana.
So intriguing was the saga that giants like Jake and Sir John, who deserved another term “to do more” was removed in tsunami fashion – with the agenda more about accessing positions for personal glorification than truly delivering sacrificial service to keep the party in power.
Added to that was the anger of constituents who felt their MPs were only interested in the annual gratuity rites of Parliament when their cocoa roads pledges were not forthcoming and schools under trees were increasing with the hiking prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the community.
As we would realize, galamsey which attracted school dropouts and unemployed youth would be a critical issue in the 2020 elections to the point of attrition in constituencies that were traditionally NPP – from the Eastern and Western regions into the Ashanti region.
Intra-party violence is typically an NDC canker. As I’ve indicated, it began with the acts of brutality meted out to Obed and Frances. Since then, NDC congresses, despite its ‘competence’ in picking candidates from the top against its ‘power to the people’ philosophy’, had been hit with violence, particularly, in 2012, 2016, and 2020 primaries.
This was evident – from the Zongos to the urban areas; the northern regions and the Volta Region.
The situation became worse when the party was whipped into okaying John Mahama at the NDC’s national flag bearer congress, after branches, constituencies and regions had, under the whip of national chair Sam Ofosu Ampofo and Asiedu Nketia, put all the power and the glory at the feet of John Mahama, with the contestants grinning inside, without letting it out in the open.
That a meeting led by NDC national executives in 2018 imploded, with the guns blazing in one Kumasi suburb and with the NDC General Secretary fleeing, was sufficient evidence to the NDC that violence within or without cannot be sustainable – unless the NDC can guarantee that angry galamsey workers and ignorant Zongo Boys will forever be NDC.
That is why it will be in the interest of the NDC, particularly to discourage Mahama’s Boys from their excesses and that is also why the NPP should re-write their constitution to emphasize commitment and competence as requirements in choosing parliamentary candidates and constituency officers.
By: KOFI KYEREBONE, The Thunder Gh News