When two elephants fight, our fathers say, it is the grass that suffers. It is indeed the grass they trample on that suffers – it is that hope some section of the populace are waiting for with baited breath that shatters – their dreams truncated abruptly in the darkness of the night hovering over shimmering light that awaits the birth of a new day – a fresh hope. In the midst of this fierce fight, the future seems bleak for these people – the grassroots.
I would not pretend to know it all but one thing I am very sure about is that the strongest and largest opposition party in Ghana in recent times, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is On Self Destruction Mission. This assertion would be variously denied by those who detest the truth but to quote my good brother, Manasseh Azure Awuni, who wrote in one of his articles that “the disease that would kill the elephant first of all plugs sticks into its ears.” This proverb if I should call it so befits the New Patriotic Party. The canker that would lead the NPP on its knee has already stuffed its ears with logs of timber thereby making it hard to hear words of wisdom from its sympathizers in the country and across the globe at large.
The NPP is living in a world of delusion. The party which is perceived to be for the elite and intellectuals in our country, thinks it is so formidable a party that it can never collapse. The holy book admonishes that “he who thinks he is standing should be careful not to fall.” If it is the perception of the NPP that they are and would continue to be a formidable force to reckon with in the 2016 general elections despite the conspicuous exhibition of self-destructive traits, then they should have a rethought. Moreover, the future of NPP is dependent on the coming 2016 general elections – if they win, the party would be more united than ever whereas the party would face entrenched challenges of disunity should they lose.
If the New Patriotic Party fraternity does not believe my hypothesis, they should not look beyond their frail opponent, the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the first partisan organization to win political power in the history of the country. Is it not pathetic to see such a party now crawling while other parties like the NPP are galloping? Time indeed changes. Who in the 1950s and 60s dreamt that this would be the fate and future of CPP today? I know some would vociferously argue that CPP at the time revolved around Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and that he took his party to the grave. But NPP is not any single person’s party so such fate cannot befall it. Whoever has such perception might be living in a fool’s paradise and I would tell you why very soon.
It is said that “when the frog in front falls into a pit, others following take precaution”, and “he who wants to know how his wife would look like in her old age should have a look at his mother-in-law.” In this regard, if the NPP has never thought of the possibilities of its complete collapse, it should take a clue from the formerly great parties like the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and the Peoples National Party now Peoples National Convention (PNC).
In the case of CPP, despite the great achievements it chalked during its reign, some blunders which could have been easily avoided led to its fall. The blunders committed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah that led to his overthrow include his quest to make the state a one party state, and the introduction of the Prevention Detention Act (PDA). At the time Nkrumah and his allies were busily committing such blunders, I am pretty sure they were also On Self Destruction Mission, but they did not get anyone to forewarn them. The NPP may not exhibit such traits but their flaw is more self-destructive than Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP.
The NPP over the months has filled the headline stories in the media more than even the ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC). They continuously feature in almost every news item of the various media for bad reasons with their root cause being internal bickering. The internal bickering in part stems from their so called factions – Nana versus Alan factions. This perceived factionalism between the two major contenders started in 2007 but it was not resolved till now, up to the point where it has become the power house for hooliganism in the party.
Is it not amazing that the two camps from one family are suspicious of each other thereby making them bitter enemies? How can a house divided among itself stand? The disorderliness which bred notoriety coupled with contemptuous demeanours openly exhibited by the youth left one convinced that there may not be any council of elders worth their salt in the party to speak to ebb the raging tide. A precious life had to be lost to wake these elders from their slumber to come to the realization that if care is not taken, the party would be like the crocodiles that eat their own eggs – very soon there would be none left.
As if the party is cursed to linger in anarchy and hooliganism, the waking up of the council of elders could not help matters. This might be one of the reasons that forced their women organizer to openly come out that the party might be suffering from curses and demonic machinations from their main opponent, the National Democratic Congress.
Though the party keeps preaching virtue, they continue practicing vice. From their pronouncements, it can be clearly deciphered that this is a party which thirsts for unity in diversity but their demeanour only breed divisiveness. As if their woes are not enough for them and rubbing salt into their already blistering wound, there is this perceived Agenda 2020 which has been bandied around for months now. It is believed by some “god fathers” and majority of the party membership that the faceless advocates of the Agenda 2020 are working assiduously against the interest of their flagbearer, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo to become the president of the country come 2016.
To the so called faceless advocates of Agenda 2020, they have read the signs on the wall to see that Nana Addo would bring his political career and his aspirations of becoming a president to an end should he lose December 2016 general elections, thereby paving way for their selfish interest to thrive in 2020. I personally do not believe the so-called Agenda 2020 being bandied around but if it is true that some people in the party have such a mindset, then it is a mere wishful thought because in the unlikely event that Nana Addo should lose the 2016 election, NPP would be damaged beyond repair so that there would be no NPP as we see it today for anyone to aspire to become its flagbearer.
Results from the NPP’s 2014 presidential primaries election indicate that like Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and his CPP, NPP is now Nana Addo and Nana Addo is NPP though the party is not his. For this reason, like that mighty tree that goes down together with its roots, should Nana Addo go down, he would go down with the entire party.
Another canker that might sink NPP like the giant Titanic is their perceived “book long” attitude. With this attitude, most of them think they are very knowledgeable and more important than others in the party thereby expecting their pronouncements to serve as principles on which the party rides. Though the party goes by the name “New Patriotic Party”, most of its front liners are never patriotic enough to be loyal, love the party unreservedly, and above all put the interest of the party first – they are only in the party to serve their parochial interest. These people in their quest to catch the eyes of prospective delegates in subsequent elections have resorted to the use of the media to justify their relevance in the party instead of going down to the grounds to do grassroots’ work like their main opponent, the NDC commenced doing long ago.
This “know it all” attitude is the main cause for the various court injunctions the party suffered in their primaries to elect their leaders. This menace is one of the self-destructive mechanisms the NPP has employed.
If the expression, “had I known”, is used by any person or group of persons today as much as by the NPP, then that person or group of persons might have just arrived from a different planet. To the best of my knowledge, no political party or organization has ever regretted their actions more than the decision of the NPP in electing Mr. Paul Afoko and Mr. Kwabena Agyapong to be the national chairman and general secretary respectively. There are of course reasons why they ejected the former national chairman, Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and former general secretary, lawyer Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (alias Sir John) for the current crop of executives. Surprisingly, the party seems to have forgotten that there is a price to pay for every action or decision one takes; thus, whatever challenges the party is facing now is the ultimate price they are paying for the choice they made.
There may be various reasons for their choice of Mr. Paul Afoko and Mr. Kwabena Agyapong to the highest office in the party but to save time and make this article curt, I am going to adduce just two from the lot – these two as well bother on the unity the party is seeking for. As I have already raised, the party is characterized by deep rooted factionalism and they wanted to get rid of it in preparation to recapture power in election 2016. It was obvious before their presidential primaries that Nana Addo would be re-elected as the flagbearer of the party since he had the numbers solidly behind him so the party decided to vote for executives known to be close allies of Alan Kyeremanteng to occupy the highest office in the party to eliminate the factions. From the lot, Mr. Paul Afoko and Mr. Kwabena Agyapong are known to be allies of Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng so the party decided on these two in order to make Alan not left out from the party.
The second reason for the choice of Paul Afoko specifically is the long outstanding perception and criticism the party has suffered over the years to be ethnocentric from various quarters, especially their main opponent, the National Democratic Congress. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) which takes its name after Northern Peoples Party (NPP) has been variously accused of being an Akan party simply because it derives its major support base from the Akans and also right from its inception, almost all the leaders the party had seen hail from the Akan land.
The perceived ethnocentric nature of NPP as posited mainly by the NDC got to its apex when their flagbearer addressing the NPP Eastern regional executives asked them to be bold and stand firm not to be cheated on in the 2012 general elections because Akans who have wrongly been perceived as cowards are very much brave. The secret recording that was circulated afterwards anonymously, had Nana Addo saying, “Yen Akan fo)” which translates “we the Akans”. This infamous “Yen Akan fo)” statement gave credence to the tribal cards NDC played with in the 2012 elections leading to their victory.
The party in emancipating itself from the dark shackles of ethnocentrism as the non-Akans are made to believe, the party decided to vote for Mr. Paul Afoko who is of Northern descent. With Mr. Paul Afoko being the national chairman of the party and Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia, also of northern descent and running mate to Nana Addo, the party could be less criticized for being a political party for the Akans.
However, the woes of the party deepened right after the two gentlemen took office. The party which for a very long time had been always defending themselves to come out of the murky political quagmire their main opponent pushed them into realized after coming out of the quagmire that it is more pleasant being there than coming out so with one accord, they are busily pushing themselves back into it. While the two main national executives cannot solely be blamed for the deepened cracks in the party, it is also worth acknowledging that they play a pivotal role in it. Their actions right after assuming office leave much to be desired. Most of the decisions they made right after being given the mandate to steer the affairs of the party seem not to synchronize with the interest of the members thereby giving credence to the perception that the two are the main invisible hands behind the Agenda 2020.
Many believe the Chief Executive Officer of the party has taken the party as his personal firm thereby taking decisions without consulting other executives and the council of elders of the party. On his part, he has variously defended his stance as the right path to take to ensure success for the party. Many are they that have the perception that he is a mole in the NPP working for the interest of their main opponent, the NDC.
I am not a prophet of doom but the NPP would still wallow in opposition after 2016 elections if the deep rooted suspicions and suspicious behaviours exhibited by executives at all levels are not immediately curbed. Our fathers say that “two rams cannot drink from the same bucket else they would lock horns”. Sometimes one would have to be a fool to get the wise working for them. Hooliganism, chaos, notoriety, misunderstanding, struggle for power, supremacy and prominence are like rain, it does not fall on one roof. These vices can be found in all political parties but what makes one a strong and unified party as opposed to the other is how the leadership take steps to bring the situation under control before they even spring up. The NPP seems to lack this quality.
If the NPP think they are beyond settling their disputes amicably in camera and would resort to the media to settle their scores, I wish them well but they would have themselves to be blamed on 7th January, 2017 because as they keep washing their dirty linen in public they are giving ammunitions to their opponents to use against them. Finally, the gospel had been preached to world, he who has ears, let him listen.