Opinion

NPP’s Membership Drive in Muslim Commumities and Nasara

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In 2005 or thereabout, under H.E. J.A. Kufuor, the late Alhaji Hussein Maiga’s proposal to form Nasara, which was to be the Zongo wing of the New Patriotic Party, was accepted. Alhaji Maiga and Muslim patriots like Haija Meimuna Yakubu, Alhaji Rufai, Alhaji Bismi and Alhaji Sadat were brains behind this wing, which was to recruit and cultivate support of the residents of the Zongo communities into the membership of the NPP; be the mouthpiece of the Zongo communities and to help promote policies that will enhance the welfare of Zongo residents and create a nationwide force within the Party to cater for the activities and interest of residents of the Zongo communities.

What might have given blessing to the formation of this important wing was the desire to reverse the poor fortunes of the Party in typical Muslims communities.

By definition, Zongo means travellers’ camp, caravan resting place or stop-over in Hausa and was used by the Colonialists to define the areas which Muslims lived.

Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, the NPP had never gained any good score in any of the Zongos, despite the fact that it is the only party in Ghana which has continually put up a Muslim running mate and twice in a roll, presented a Muslim as vice president. Yet this has not impressed the average Muslim who would prefer to vote for the National Democratic Congress, any time.

The only time the NDC put up a Muslim running mate was in 2004, when Alhaji Mumuni partnered John Evans Atta Mills who was then flag bearer.

Whatever has made the Muslims to give cold shoulder to the NPP is highly incomprehensible because in 1958, when the Avoidance of Discrimination Act came into effect, six parties merged to form the United Party (UP). They were the Northern People’s Party, led by Dombo; National Liberation Movement, led by Busia; Togoland Congress, led by S.G. Anto; Anlo Youth Organization, led by Modesto Apaloo; Muslim Association Party and Ga Shifimokpee.

The fact is that the New Patriotic Party is a direct descendant of the United Party and yet its fortunes in the North and among Muslims and in Muslim communities is nothing to write home about.

The recognition given Muslims in the Party to me is not going far enough to entice majority of Muslims in this country to turn to NPP. So, in my opinion, no number of Muslim offices opened in the Party can bring the Muslim brethren back to the UP Tradition. Even though the NDC has not open up Muslim offices to manage affairs of Muslims in that party, even though no Muslim has stepped into the office of the Vice President under an NDC government and not even as Speaker of Parliament, the majority of Muslims have seen the NDC as their own.

Now, as the NPP has open avenues for Muslims to operate and manage their own within the Party, it is about time that Christians are also given that privilege, giving the fact that Christians, with 71% of the population, are the majority in this country.

To me the reason that the Muslim population is not growing in the NPP is the fact most Muslims do not see any progress in life, should they join the Party. In fact, they do not see any change in the lives of Muslims who belong to the NPP and live among them. This is where the problem lies.

There is this beautiful kooko seller I often buy the porridge from in the Teshie Ledzokuku area. She is a die-hard NPP activist and gave almost all her capital to help campaign for the Party in 2016 and 2020, yet to date, no Party officer has visited her and ask about her business. With a grant of GH¢1,000.00 to boost up her capital, she will feel blessed and very grateful all through the years. She is however wallowing in poverty when the Party she fought for is in power.

During campaign, Party officials, local, regional and national, descend upon these vulnerable communitiesand meet with Party faithful there, give them peanuts and ask them to roll the campaign on, with the promise that all shall be well when the Party wins the elections. The Party wins and the only acknowledgement is to organise a victory rally at the polling station area and mention the few who used more than five times what they might have been giving from the Party to make that victory in the constituency possible. From there until the next election campaign, no one will come to visit. Even if the president comes on a thank-you tour in the constituency, these poor Muslims would be seated far from him and will never even be mentioned.

Their NDC friends would be given contracts and jobs under an NPP regime while they will be placed poles apart as if they do not belong to the Party. With this attitude, how can the Party be attracted to non NPP persons?Unfortunately, this happens to most of the poor and vulnerable in the Party, where goodies from the presidency is denied those who toiled to make victory possible for the Party.

Back to this idea of increasing Muslim representation in the Party hierarchy. In chapter four of the Proposal for the Amendment to the Party’s (NPP) Constitution, Alhaji Aziz Haruna Futa, the National Nasara Coordinator tabled his proposal and called for the change of the name from Nasara coordinator to Nasara organizer and this position be found in all sectors of the Party’s administration, from polling station to the National offices. He claimed that with Nasara, the fortunes of NPP had changed positively in the Zongos and Settler communities, something to be debated.

That Alhaji Futa did not mention about the need to economically empower NPP’s members in the Zongos, baffles me. The only way to increase the Muslim membership in NPP is to resource and economically empower the Party faithful there.

Some people are arguing that people of other faith live in the Zongos and so there is the possibility that a Nasara organizer can even be a Christian. That may be a reasonable point, possible on paper, but certainly impossible in reality. In Catholic Church the qualification of who can be Pope is simply, ‘any male baptized Catholic,’ that is all. However, in practice even an ordinary priest or even a bishop will not be elected in the Conclave that sits to elect a pope, not to talk about a lay male member of the Church. It will therefore be near to impossibility to have a non-Muslim as Nasara organizer in a polling station area.

If the idea to boost up the number of Nasara coordinators/organizers from 300 to over 40,000 is make sure an aspirant in the presidential primaries gets undue advantage, then it must be noted that this can divide the Party. Moreso, those Nasara organizers will sooner than later get to know that they were only used for an agenda and dumped or neglected. The consequences will be dire for the Party because the main purpose of setting up Nasara is being abused here. How can there be a Nasara organizer in areas where there are no Muslims? And why is it that no Christian faith office is opened in the NPP? For the Party to thrive, there must equal opportunities for all.

And I wish to repeat my call, that the NPP must drop this Danquah/Busia/Dombo Tradition tag which could foment conflicts  and adhere to the UP Traditiontag.

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