NPP’s Last Lap Of Internal Elections Towards 2012
The New Patriotic Party (NPP), the minority party in Parliament, has since it lost power in 2008, gone back to the drawing table, reflected on its past, reviewed what went wrong in the past with the view to recapture power in 2012. Following that, the party has conducted a series of internal elections as part of its efforts to reorganize its structures and prepare itself for 2012. As part of the restructuring, the electoral college at the polling station levels were increased from only the chairman of the polling station voting to elect a candidate for the Parliamentary elections, to all the five polling station executives voting in that process. In addition, Electoral Area Co-coordinators who hitherto did not exist have been brought into the party structure. Constituency elections were organized to elect officers to run the affairs of the party at the constituency levels, followed by regional elections to elect regional officers and finally the election of national officers to manage the party for a four-year period. The climax of the string of elections as part of the party’s reflection, review and recapture agenda was the election of a Presidential candidate by over 100,000 delegates nationwide, very unprecedented in Africa. The unique part of these elections is the relative peace with which they were organized. The party will early this year organize the last lap of internal elections towards the year 2012 general elections; that is the Parliamentary elections throughout the 230 constituencies in the country. If this last internal election goes on successfully, the NPP would have chalked a historic feat in internal democratic practices in Africa. The truth of the matter is that Parliamentary primaries, unlike Presidential primaries, attract a lot of contestants than the latter. It is very heartwarming to note that the leadership of the NPP has made it clear that no candidate, whether a sitting Member of Parliament or not, would be protected by the party through an attempt to encourage an ‘unopposed’ kind of thing, unless only one candidate files for the primaries by the close of nomination. It is pertinent to note that some clandestine moves in the past to protect some individual sitting MPs or incoming candidates had cost the party very valuable seats. The defeat of the NPP in the last general elections was as a result of the loss of a number of seats to the NDC. There are also other seats in the NPP strongholds which fell to independent candidates because the incumbents, who were obviously very unpopular with the general electorate, managed to win the primaries. In some instances, those who won the primaries were also not the favourites of the general electorate and therefore were rejected by the electorate, and in the process, the NPP lost power. When it is time for primaries, it is natural and normal for party members to be divided on which of the candidates should be presented for the general elections, but the positions taken by individuals and groups of individuals must at all times put the overall interest of the party’s quest to win political power on top of any individual positions. Even when some MPs have lost touch with the general electorate in their constituencies, some have used the excuse of ‘experience’ to justify the imposition of unpopular candidates on the electorate. This line of argument should be thrown out of the window this time around because the only people with Parliamentary experience on the NPPs side in the 1997 Parliament were the late C.O Nyanor and Hon. J.H Mensah, and yet many of the new MPs performed extraordinarily well. Hon. ‘Napo’ Tawia Akyia and Dan Botwe for example are first timers in the House and yet are performing fantastically while some ‘Mugabes’ cannot be heard, so that argument must not be used by anybody to impose unpopular candidates on the party if our quest to win power in 2012 is to be achieved. The NPP should remember that the party was not formed to ensure that some individuals remain MPs for life, even if that means the party goes into opposition. The party was formed with the prime objective of winning political power and using that power to run the nation in as efficient a manner which will ensure increased standard of living for majority of the people of Ghana. Under our present dispensation, and until the trend changes, any party which will capture power must first secure a majority of the seats in Parliament and that will offer the Presidential candidate the Presidency. People who love the NPP and wish to see the party in power should listen to the voices of the electorate in their constituencies rather than the personal desire to remain the candidates in the face of glaring unpopularity in their constituencies. Without giving specific references in this write up, it is an undisputable fact that in the Western region for example, if the leadership of the party had listened to the then constituency executives and complaints from ordinary voters, we would not have painfully lost the three seats which we gave away on a silver platter to the NDC. The Victor Owusus of our tradition sacrificed their freedoms and comforts and lives for the party and the nation without holding public office for that long. Dr. J.B. Danquah suffered humiliation and pain and died a dehumanizing death all in the name of the great tradition that has been bequeathed to us, but never tasted public office. Uncle da Rocha also gave the most part of his life and time to the Danquah-Busia Dombo tradition with open mind and heart and got virtually nothing out of that except his own profession and work. It is amazing that today some people want to annex certain positions the party has offered them as if those positions are their bona fide property that should not be relinquished to any other member of the party even when there is an undisputable fact that they no longer remain the toast of the general electorate in their constituencies. Is it that besides being an MP, there is nothing more those people can do with their lives? Or their expectation of the enticing but controversial end-of-service-benefits and the 4x4 vehicles at the end of every four years available to them? One MP from the Western region is reported to have told a group that as for him, if he won by even just one vote, he will go to Parliament. He thinks about himself and not the party and its teeming followers and Ghanaians in general. There are some MPs whose electoral fortunes have dwindled since they first went to Parliament in 1997, and reached it apex in 2008. The records are there for those who want to know. Has the party done any studies to find out why, and what that bodes for the next elections should the same people be presented? Politics is an art, but it is science as well which requires studies into why certain things happen, the causes and the effects. I think the NPP is so defective in that area or that it is over protective of individuals to the detriment of the general good of the party. Another thing we need to take a serious look at is the tendency to run the primaries on Nana Addo-Alan Kyerematen platforms. Any one who supported Nana Addo during the Presidential primaries is no better NPP person than those who followed Alan Kyerematen. They are all NPP people and the party should see each potential candidate an NPP person judged on his or her own merit rather than belonging to any camp. There is only one camp and that is the NPP. For the sake of the majority of Ghanaians suffering under the yoke of Egya Atta’s incompetence, for the sake of abating the suffering of the people of this country, those who can win the primaries because they have the resources to run it but lose at the general elections, please give way voluntarily. Out of the lips of the old man strongly clutching onto a pipe, comes some wise sayings. As for me, perhaps some people may say I am a boozeman so I should ‘go wey you’, aaah, for me: Mahogany bitters is my guide I shall not feel bitterness It consoles me in my time of need And comforts me in my moments of despair It restoreth my happiness Though I walk in the valley of Egya Atta’s incompetence I shall fear no akatamansonian and boomelites It just doesn’t prepare a table before me But it is always with me at the table Surely my appetite will depend on In all the days of my life, ameeennnn oooooooooo.
Source: Kwesi Biney
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