Ghana: Some things that hurt the NPP’s image

By IndepthAfrica
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Oct 19th, 2012
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By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

I am really skeptical about Ghanaian politicians, especially those who say too many conflicting or alarming things in one breath just for the sake of winning public goodwill.

The controversy generated by Akufo-Addo’s promise of free senior high school education and free health care for children under 18 years still rages. Although some (including chiefs and NPP hirelings parading as journalists) have tacitly accepted that promise of free SHS education as the solution to Ghana’s hydra-headed problems and are all over the place placarding it as the NPP’s flagship policy, some of us have quickly dismissed it as a mere political gimmick and remained dogged in our opposition to it.

We dispute the claims and self-serving arguments being bandied about by the NPP followers in support of the string of Akufo-Addo-generated promises. And we won’t change our stance.

As if the spree of promise-making for political currency isn’t disturbing enough for the NPP to desist from, more unguarded pronouncements continue to come from that camp to reinforce our disdain for its brand of politics.

Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the party’s General Secretary, has just torn into the NPP’s public image. Known for his loose-talk and juvenile political utterances, Owusu Afriyie is fast emerging as the most guilty of those watering down the force of the NPP’s campaign for political power.

Anything that comes from him raises eyebrows and erodes respect for the NPP, to say the least. Is this man really fit to be given the responsibility of a General-Secretary of this party made up of “intellectuals” constantly boasting of having the acumen to solve Ghana’s problems?

Here is one clear instance out of the many that portrays him as political immature and forbidding.

Owusu Afriyie has accused President Mahama of ‘bribing’ the Electoral Commission (EC) to disqualify the breakaway National Democratic Party from the December polls (Ghanaweb, October 19, 2012).

His justification? “Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings was ready for the polls but due to the pressure from president Mahama, she was unfairly disqualified.”

My immediate reaction to this allegation was to dismiss it as a figment of a fevered imagination, coming from the politician who shouldn’t have been invested with the authority to speak on behalf of such a formidable political camp. But upon further analysis, I regarded the allegation as part of the grand scheme of vilification that oils the NPP’s political machine. Sad. Too sad!!

Were he able to provide concrete evidence to back his allegation, I would have nothing to complain about; but he didn’t. He sought refuge in dangerous speculation and calculated political mischief to make that allegation when he spoke on Multi TV’s political talk show, Badwam, on Friday.

To worsen the matter, he seriously impugned the integrity of the Electoral Commission and created a nasty impression that its decision was influenced by the government. How are we expected to have confidence and trust in the EC if characters of this sort take the first step to discredit it? But of course, that’s part of the NPP’s grand agenda to erode public confidence in the EC in readiness for disputing (and even implementing the “All-die-be-die” mayhem) if the NPP loses the December elections.

He is reported to have “asserted that if it was a mere anomaly with the nomination forms, Nana Konadu should have been allowed to correct them because in 2008 Edward Mahama of the PNC was given ample time when his forms were inaccurate.”

Here is his attempt to rationalize issues:” I recalled in 2008, the EC upon the final day of filing knew that PNC’s Edward Mahama was not ready but gave him more time but why not that of Konadu? Is it because president Mahama bribed the EC?”

Indeed, I am saddened by this pronouncement from this NPP big wig. Is he saying that “a mere anomaly” in the filing of the nomination form should be glossed over or that the deadline be extended to favor Nana Konadu just because she is poised to upset the NDC at the polls?

I am not surprised at all that there is nothing being done to eradicate corruption from our society. On the basis of this viewpoint, one wonders how our leaders think. A mere anomaly not to be considered by the EC?

Why do we have rules and regulations to guide human conduct, especially in public office holding? What does Owusu Afriyie regard as a “mere anomaly” in Nana Konadu’s nomination entry? If glossed over, anomalies give undue advantage to people and distort the line of probity.

Owusu Affriyie has also accused the EC of being biased, and asked the commission to revise its decision to enable her contest the December polls.

By insisting on the right thing being done—and by being resolute and disciplined enough to enforce its own rules—shouldn’t the EC rather be commended for performing its duties above reproach? Or, was he expecting the EC to bend such rules to favour particular candidates and political parties just because the NPP sees them as capable of destabilizing the NDC to its advantage?

Is that what Owusu Afriyie and his NPP followers are gunning for? Or are they being motivated by their expectation that Nana Konadu and her NDP’s participation in the Presidential elections will harm only the interests of their arch rival, the NDC? Or that by this disqualification, their much anticipated collapse of the NDC front is impossible?

I can read deeper meanings into this recourse to childish but harmful politicking by Owusu Affriyie and his NPP front. Now, we know why they are desperate and making all kinds of promises just to fool the electorate.

From another angle, Owusu Afriyie’s juvenile nature showed glaringly. He “believed there were some hidden reasons behind the disqualification of NDP other than the issue of filling forms.” He believed so without evidence?

Though he was unable to prove the allegations, Owusu Affriyie insisted that “he is reliably informed that President Mahama masterminded Konadu’s disqualification from the race.” Reliably informed but no evidence to support the allegation?

Let’s see how he rationalized the matter. To him, President Mahama had a hand in the NDP’s disqualification because Nana Konadu “poses a threat to the electoral fortunes of the NDC in the December polls.”

How did he know that prospective voters who might root for Nana Konadu would be only sympathizers of the NDC? Or that none would vote against the NPP?

To worsen his credibility problem, here is what he added: “Konadu was serious to contest the elections but because John Mahama called Afari not to accept her forms, she was denied. I know that was the issue not only that the forms were inaccurate. John Mahama knows that Konadu will disturb him so he called Afari Gyan to deny her. It is very bad for our democracy,” he gushed out.

The worst of all is his accusation of the EC as becoming undemocratic “because someone who has shown commitment of seriousness like Konadu cannot be disqualified on a mere anomaly in a nomination forms.”

Since when has the level of a candidate’s seriousness to contest an election become a requirement or justification for automatic inclusion?

His calling on the EC to reconsider its decision to enable Nana Konadu contest polls is the most nonsensical appeal that I have heard in many years.

To top it up, he revealed a hidden motivation for making such pronouncements: “If the NDC is afraid, we are not afraid. If the NDC thinks they have worked hard as they claimed on a daily basis, why should they mastermind the disqualification of a candidate?”

The NDC masterminded the disqualification of Nana Konadu? And how about the other disqualified candidates and political parties? Why aren’t their fate considered as worth anybody’s bother? Why single out Nana Konadu’s case for this puerile politicking? Surely, the NPP is desperate!!

May we never leave our destiny in the hands of people like Owusu Afriyie who think this way and act as such. We can’t solve our problems of underdevelopment with them at the helm of affairs.

In effect, may God deliver us from the hands of such power-hungry charlatans; and may He help us all if this is how our leaders approach national issues!

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