The National Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Dr Josiah Aryeh has challenged the media to get the country out of the duo-politics of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“In this country the broad focus in the media has been on the two major political parties. People are talking of polarisation. Either it is the ‘Party of God’ or the ‘Party of Hell’, the media has a responsibility to get the nation out of this box,” he advised.
In an interview with Daily Graphic, the NDP national chairman said that the NDP was getting its act together to ensure good governance in the country.
“So far as we have national problems, the NDP has a fundamental role to play in seeking solutions to issues of good governance and rapid national development,” Dr Aryeh pointed out.
He said the nation was faced with a number of socio-pathological problems, including crimes, sanitation, energy and unemployment.
2016 NDP Manifesto
He disclosed that the NDP was updating its manifesto for the 2016 elections, saying “we will be introducing innovations in our governance systems.” For instance, Dr Aryeh pointed out that the NDP would be advocating a periodic development plan for every district.
Under the plan, he said, each district would have a four-year time-measured development plan. “It is time the country promulgated a Roads Act and put in place the spot fine for problems of wrongful parking and road indiscipline. He also mentioned a Beaches Act as crucial to get the country’s beaches clean.
“If we do it right, we will not only generate revenue for other development projects but generate employment for the teeming unemployed youth,” he stated.
In the view of Dr Aryeh, the nation could solve her numerous problems through legislation, saying “why legislation and vision are not working in Ghana is simply a question of enforcement.”
Dr Aryeh said the NDP had a whole lot of ideas which would show up in its 2016 manifesto.
Lessons of 2012 polls
Recounting the lessons of the 2012 general election, Dr Aryeh said the NDP participated in that exercise partially “because of what happened to our presidential candidate”.
He told the Daily Graphic that the party’s attempt to get flying in that elections was aborted by the Electoral Commission.
He said though the party had a number of issues with the manner in which the 2012 elections were organised, going forward, there was the need for electoral reforms with focus on greater transparency.
He said political parties and politicians must stop fighting one another and concentrate on how to put bread and butter on the table of every Ghanaian.
“When politicians are constantly seen busily fighting one another, the electorate only end up losing trust in us and the political system,” he stated. As a party, Dr Aryeh said, the NDP would work to remain the cardinal standard bearer of democratic values, saying, “We have seasoned politicians who are all propagating the ideas of the NDP to stretch membership.’’
NDP not inactive
On what the party was doing in between elections, the NDP’s National Chairman admitted that the party could not sustain the momentum as in peak campaign periods.
“We are doing what needs to be done so that we will roll up our sleeve during peak campaigns,” he asserted.
We are creating viable structures and working with the 31st December Women’s Movement.
The question is how we create synergy and build rapport and relationship between officer holders and supporters.
On the key challenges facing the NDP, Dr Aryeh said as the relatively youngest political party, it had teething problems.
He said there were challenges of raising funds for political activities and to put the political machine in place but added that the party had been innovative by approaching like-minded persons to help it to overcome the problems.
He said it was the key objective of the NDP to fight every election from constituency, regional and national levels, as well as create a voice for the NDP.
Knowing the sheer scale of the task, Dr Aryeh told the Daily Graphic “We are, however, starting with an objective reality.”
“We got to make sure that the party stretched its membership at the branch, constituency, regional and national levels,” he stated, and also as well as addressed issues of human challenges, including low motivation.
The NDP has to also address problems of misinformation and disinformation.
Why I left NDC
It was a constructive case that compelled me to join the NDP, Dr Aryeh explained to the Daily Graphic. I did not leave the NDC, rather it was the NDC that suspended me to allow it to go into a particular issue in 2005, he recalled.
According to Dr Aryeh, the NDC never brought that particular issue to a closure and no final report was issued on the matter.
But unfortunately, Dr Aryeh states, “You then hear from the NDC cabal that “I was dismissed.”
“Technically, I am still a member of the NDC because I have been suspended and until closure of my case is done, it will be wrong for anybody to say that I have been dismissed from the NDC,” he argued.
The NDC, according to Dr Aryeh, did not treat him fairly, saying, “ I am a self-educated person and served the NDC in various capacities without any remuneration. As a lawyer, I defended a lot of NDC “gurus” and it never crossed my mind to ask for pay. My biggest regret is that nobody stated the contrary when I was suspended by the party.”
When a party was a self-perpetuated cabal and simple issues that must be brought to closure was difficult, then I feel sorry for that party, he stated.
“We want to move on and join a party where stress is put on democratic values and fair mindedness”, he told the Daily Graphic.
Degradation of politics
He argued for state funding of political party activities.
In his view, when money bags fund political parties they always have a stake in how that party is organised leading to what he calls “degradation of politics.”
He said the nation needed to revisit the issue of the state funding political party activities, which are more fundamental.
He said the basic issue was to restrain politics from getting into the hands of money bags because it promoted corruption, leading to issues of judgment debt.
We must look at the issue of state funding of political parties dispassionately and in a non-partisan manner. We must also focus on things that will help parties to deliver and not just give the cash, which will be misapplied.