Ebo Quansah in Koforidua .
I understand that the official reason being offered by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the failure of any officer of the party to show up in Koforidua to read the solidarity message of the Umbrella Family at the New Patriotic Party’s delegates conference at the weekend, was that all big shots of the political edifice Jerry John Rawlings built from the ashes of his so-called revolution, were commiserating with the bereaved family at the one-week commemoration of the unfortunate demise of former Vice-President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
The former Vice-President’s death is a serious blow to national development. But I do not share the sentiments of the NDC – that no one was available to travel to Koforidua to undertake that democratic governance assignment. For me, the NDC deliberately decided not to send anybody to Koforidua because of the removal of their darling lady, Charlotte Osei, from the Electoral Commission Chair.
Already a number of activists of the party are said to be queuing up in front of the Supreme Court building in Accra to seek her reinstatement in court. I do not think I would even scratch my hair should all leading members of the NDC choose to sleep in court over this matter.
My understanding too is that the NDC caucus in Parliament is planning to boycott proceedings when Mrs. Charlotte Osei’s replacement is brought to the House for vetting. Things are knocking things. Once upon a regime, Parliament was populated by representatives of the NDC and its surrogate parties, the National Convention Party (NCP), led by deceased Kow Nkensen Arkaah and the EGLE Party.
For four solid years on the return of Constitutional rule in January 1993, Parliament was a mere rubber-stamp entity, pushing the wishes of Jerry John Rawlings into laws of the land. The absence of the NDC in the voting process would not be a nice idea to those who think democracy should only matter when the NPP is in power. But I bet my bottom cedi that the absence of the NDC from Parliament would never derail the process.
Sometimes, I get sick at the posture of NDC officials in the execution of the constitutional mandate of the Akufo-Addo regime. Many of us cannot forget the banana republic created by Jerry John Rawlings under the guise of a revolution. For more than a decade, this country was run as if it was conquered territory. Anybody who attempted to stand up for the right of the people of this country, was openly eliminated.
The abduction and murder of the three judges and an army officer on June 30, 1982, for instance, was a well planned and calculated move, with the support of those making ugly noises today, to put fear into Ghanaians so that the Provisional National Defence Council would prevail at all costs.
Without mincing words, the absence of an NDC representative at the NPP conference did not take away anything from the beauty of the gathering in the New Juabeng South Municipality at the week-end. All shades of opinion within the Elephant Family made positive impacts at the gathering. For me, two speeches stood out among the lot. Former President John Agyekum Kufuor hammered on the need for unity.
He reminded the rank and file to be guided by the need to be each other’s keeper, as well as the vanguard for delivering on good governance and prosperity for the nation. “But how can we, as a party, do this if we are not united, purposeful and single-minded in the discharge of this unique responsibility?” he quizzed.
He cautioned the new executive to be careful with its dealings now that they have power, because “power can trick you. As an old uncle and elder, I have come only to remind our leadership, and all of us within the party, that we are only one and a half years into power.” He told the gathering that the party’s quest to transform the country means that the NPP ought to be in power for quite a while, and that only proper conduct by its members could translate into the long haul that NPP members wish to be in government.
I was also impressed by the concession speech delivered by the four-time loser, Stephen Ntim, whose quest for the chairmanship position was shot down for the fourth consecutive time. He polled 2,515 votes to place second. Mr. Freddie Blay, the First Vice-Chairman, who contested to be affirmed National Chairman of the NPP, polled 3,021 votes. The third person in the jigsaw, Dr. Richard Amoako Baah, former head of the Political Science Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, was credited with 18 votes. Naturally, Mr. Ntim was disappointed at failing to lead the Elephant Family for the fourth time. But once he recovered from the initials shock, he threw his hat into the ring with those clamouring for unity of purpose.
“It’s rather unfortunate that I have to lose for the fourth time in my attempt to serve the party at the capacity of National Chairman. However, once again, it is victory for the New Patriotic Party, because we have succeeded in electing our new crop of leaders to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years.
“As usual, my loyalty to the NPP is not shaken by what has happened,” and told his colleagues to count on him all the time.
A highly elated Freddie Blay said it was the intention of the NPP to remain in power for the next 60 years. Speaking on the theme ‘Building a Stronger Party,’ Mr. Blay, whose middle name Wosemawu (in Fanti means they say I am dead), said that would mean a lot of work from the rank and file. “It was obvious that those of us going round at this time observed that there are a lot of wrangling and few issues on the ground which constitute pain in the hearts of many of our members who are gathered here.”
While trumpeting the many successes chalked by the Akufo-Addo administration, the Chairman acknowledged that there was the need to unite all factions to rally behind the government to deliver on its mandate.
It is good that the new Chairman acknowledges the problems confronting his new executive in uniting the party. On Saturday, I walked with a number of discontent candidates to the conference floor.
Many were spitting fire and brimstone. The inference was that while the government was trying hard to deliver on its mandate, many foot soldiers and some officers of the party have been completely ignored.
Many even spoke of a Tsunami in the voting pattern. Some were openly talking of a rebellion against authority. I will like to believe that it was the President’s speech, calling for unity of purpose to deal hefty blow to the enemy, that finally swayed the vote in Mr. Blay’s favour.
It was obvious people like John Boadu, Sammi Awuku, Abankwa at the lower rungs had no problem. It was the position of Mr. Blay that was really in for contention. In the end, the President got the team he clamoured for. But that should not translate into business as usual.
There is a lot to do to calm nerves. One of them is getting officials of the party and government to respect the laws of the land. The misuse of sirens by party big-shots on the road is a source of discontent to many road users. The police are clear on those who qualify to use sirens on the road. They do not include party big shots and government appointees in V8 vehicles.
Lest I forget, the New Juaben North and South municipalities do not appear to have served their municipalities well. Koforidua is unkempt. There is too much weed about. Rubbish collection is not a priority either. It all adds up to the monumental problems facing this administration in cleaning up Ghana.
By the way; do you remember that school kid who once said he would like to become a delegate when he grows up? Saturday was a big day for delegates. Those who cast their votes in Koforidua are still smiling all the way to the bank.
Hang on dear reader, what is that I am hearing? Is it true that Ibrahim Mahama with his Engineering and Planners is the most enterprising industrial giant in Africa? Adabraka! Are the organisers putting the former President’s brother head and shoulders above Dankote, for instance? Next time you use the Koforidua-Bunso road, you will have a fair idea about the kind of bunkum this new award really is.
The bitumen surface is beginning to give way barely one year after completion. Maybe, it is the way the road is deteriorating faster than usual that has contributed to the award. Africa must unite.
I shall return!