Posted: Friday 30th May 2014 at 6:00 am

NPP, You Did Not Invent Democracy!

The NPP risks snatching, once again, defeat from the strong jaws of victory. It must be the most frustrating thing for the majority of struggling Ghanaians’ yearning for a change.

Most members and sympathizers of the opposition New Patriotic Party are not happy about the current development in the party, ahead of the presidential nomination. And this time around, they say they are tired of hearing comments like, “This is normal in the NPP,” “it’s all part of democracy,” and others.

Sometimes the NPP behaves as if it invented democracy. The party’s literalist understanding of democracy has caused it defeats in both presidential and parliamentary elections where a negotiated settlement and discipline in the face of obvious realities would have better guaranteed it success for the ultimate prize of democracy: to win power and do something good with it for people and country.

At last week’s National Executive Committee we know there were many experienced politicians, who ought to know better and yet they were passionately contest. Indeed, if it was apathy united behind the need to win power, it would not even be taking up a needless, counterproductive contest which the whole world knows would lead to only one possible outcome.

Yet, you have people who should know better even fighting against the demands of the party’s constitution to give a six month notice for the congress to elect the next presidential candidate. The party constitution says that when it is in opposition, the next presidential flag bearer should be elected not later than 24 months before the next general elections and that not later than six months’ notice must be given. This means latest December 6, 2014, counting backwards to June 6, 2014.

With District Assembly elections due in the last quarter of 2014, the NPP must be looking at getting the flagbearership question out of the way and ending the year focusing on this mock election.

The new national executive risk losing their legitimacy if they heed to any move from any quarters to frustrate the will of the overwhelming majority. The party has no business putting off the congress to elect the flag bearer a day later than the constitution allows.

The reason is simple. There are people whose ultimate aim is to frustrate the obvious, to do as much as humanly and constitutionally impossible to stop the popular choice from becoming the popular choice. It is political insanity, pure and simple, disguised as, democracy.

Those who say that every candidate has faced competition must remember that this same party was able to make arrangements in 2004 for no aspirant to challenge president Kufuor. So what is new about those calling for a similar arrangement this time?

Our view is that spending money, time; energy, logistics and insults to contest to choose the next flag bearer will be needless and only take away from the party’s chances of forging together towards 2016. This is because all other candidates would do their desperate worst to make the person who would obviously win look unattractive. Indeed, per our calculations, the best that all those candidates can do is to take away20% from the over 140,000 delegates, with the obvious choice of getting all the rest. But, the damage that their combined desperate act could cause the party may be far higher in percentages, a costly flirtation with perfunctory democracy. Is this the mark of a party hungry for power?

Indeed, we at the New Statesman are on the side of the party’s National Organizer, John Boadu, when he says the party should not behave like the proverbial ostrich that buries its head in the sand and ignores reality.

If there must be a contest then it must swift and short, with strict guidelines on the ethics of internal contest. At the time the timetable for the presidential nomination had not been given, some of the would-be presidential aspirants had already started spirited campaign for the much coveted position and doing so in ways that are bound to affect the needed cohesion. We believe they cannot be faulted for starting early. And, the party must respond by speeding up the process, in accordance with the constitution.

We would not be surprised should the ruling party also get in the act by stoking the NPP fire with wood and cash, to make Mahama’s ever-dimming chances appear a little brighter. Already, its friendly papers are happier publishing lies and propaganda about supposed splits within the NPP than informing the public about the ‘good works’ of the Mahama government. With every little coming out of the presidency, in terms of performance, the NDC has very little choice but to cause problems within the NPP or stoke the self-inflicting ones. And, so long as there are many no-chancres with ambition in the NPP, the NDC game plan is perfectly on course.

The ambitious ones in the NPP should take a cue from the Tamale conference. The decision to give the chairman and general secretary positions to the two worthy winners was not a message that the party needed “one more change” at the ‘nonsense’ at the top. They wanted a united front behind the popular candidate. They were no longer interested in hearing claims of some people being left out because of their perceived allegiances. It was a vote to deny people excuses.

If NPP allows 2016 to go by, no single so-called camp could then be falsely blamed. We are all in this together, goes the message from the Tamale delegates. That message cannot go amiss on the upper echelons of the party. No party should allow the obsession and power thirst of a small elitist bunch to undermine and overthrow the aspirations of the whole and derail the destiny of an entire nation. No!

The NPP must grow up! On current form, the jury is still out on the maturity of a party withering in opposition when it has so much to offer a nation desperate for leadership. Yes, ‘One More Change for Power’. But, that change is sitting at the Flagstaff House now.

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