What next, after NDC congress?


The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is basking in glory, receiving huge applause for holding a successful delegates congress, which has

been described as peaceful, orderly and transparent, following the high level of comportment shown by both contestants and their supporters.

The just-ended Eighth National Delegates Congress of the NDC held in Tamale confirms the emerging phenomenon in Ghana that democratic governance, culture and practices are get-ting firmly rooted and that the choice of political leadership determined through competitive contest by way of democratic elections need not generate any acrimony, violence and chaos.

The success of the NDC delegates conference, though not an end in itself, is a clear indication that the party is making significant strides in its internal democracy and has grown or is growing beyond personalities and factionalism.

No one can deny the fact that since 1992, when the NDC was formed, the party has seen many reforms and gone through many experiences and fortunes, some of which are very bitter to recount whilst others are worthy of emulation.

Dr Kwabena Adjei, the Chairman of the party, and Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, General Secretary, must be lauded for retaining their respective positions with such emphatic victories. Their overwhelming endorsement to continue their work is a reward for dedication, loyalty and effectiveness.

The outcome of the three-day event, on the theme “Fulfilling the Better Ghana Agenda”, also brought on board stalwarts, including a former First lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah, as Vice Chairpersons.

Others occupying the same seat are Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, Mr Kofi Portuphy, Alhaji Said Sinare and Mr Danny Annang.

With such a mixed bag of experience, dynamism, and loyalty to party ideals, the new executives have no other alternative than to work with unity of purpose, coupled with a great deal of understanding and accommodation of each other’s viewpoints. Indeed, the newly appointed executive must move in such a way that no one group of persons can assume a dominating role in the party.

With this serving as a background, it would be important for the executive members to provide inspirational leadership, which will motivate the rank and file of the party to work towards attaining their cherished wish of attaining victory in Election 2012.

One area of concern the new executive need to quickly address is to bridge the perceived gap existing between the party and the NDC government. This calls for harmonious working relationship. The party executive must make themselves accessible to members of the party. This way, the party, as an entity, can quickly deal with the wrangling and rantings of the party’s foot soldiers seeking political attention.

It will not do the party any good if individual members are allowed to direct issues affecting their well-being straight to the government instead of them going through party structures. If this trend continues, it may lead to the weakening of party structures and create mistrust between the party and the government.

It is worthy to note that the founder of the NDC, former President Jerry John Rawlings, has also called on stakeholders of the party to respect party structures and channel their grievances through them. In his congratulatory message to all delegates, he explained that the refusal to channel grievances through the party had allowed some opponents to take advantage of them.

It is my candid view that former President Rawlings will himself heed this noble call and allow party structures to work while helping the newly elected national officers work in the interest of the party. Again, as former President Rawlings puts it, it will be injurious to the party for the newly elected executive to “suffocate the will of the people by ignoring concerns and suggestions made by various departments of the party and members”.

In all of these, the new executive need total support from the rank and file of the party to fix and strengthen the political structures of the party. This is because consolidating the gains so far achieved by the NDC in Election 2008, as well as preparing to retain political power via the 2012 elections, will not come easy. It requires unity of purpose, and hard work whilst avoiding actions and inaction that contravene the ultimate interest of the party.

In so doing, not only the leadership but the entire party membership, including those who contested and either won or lost the elections, must count themselves as belonging and striving to serve the party in different positions and capacities.

Now that the delegates have spoken emphatically and made their democratic choices, it is imperative that the party allows sleeping dogs to lie, bury the hatchet and remain focused to deliver on promises made to Ghanaians during the last election.

Dwelling on pettiness bygones, trivialities, suspicion and factionalism at this stage will not benefit the party. All hands must be on deck to inject party discipline and avoid back-biting and the pull-him-down attitude. Indeed, the successful outcome of the congress must leave a lasting impression that the NDC can always disagree to agree, as well as use dialogue to resolve differences. Undoubtedly, the NDC, as a government and a party, has a daunting challenge, especially in the run-up to Election 2012.

A lot is expected from them by the masses who put them into government. The party is expected to hit the ground running whilst ensuring good governance, put money into people’s pocket, reduce fuel prices drastically, provide jobs for the people, and, above all, be a father for all. The NDC must provide the basic needs of the people including safe drinking water, good roads, electricity, clinics, and schools. Other infrastructural requirements include the provision of roads, electricity, and housing. In short, the NDC must strive to ensure the attainment of the common good and justice for all with social democracy its ideology.

These are no mean expectations, for which the NDC government will have to deliver if they are to boldly go back to the electorate to ask for their mandate once again, come the 2012 election. The NDC must, therefore, be committed to bringing everybody on board to realise their numerous manifesto pledges.

In order to remain united and focused to deliver, there are issues the party needs to confront. After the congress, have they come out more united and strong in character or there still exist traces of mistrust and ill will among the rank and file? Are there divisions, factions and seeds of hatred within the party? Is the party now listening to its teeming foot soldiers? Will leadership continue to display maturity by sticking to the constitution of the party?

With the advantage of relative scarcity of opposition, there is the need for soul searching so as to put the NDC’s house in order. These are some of the pertinent challenges that confront the new executive and members of the party, as well as supporters and sympathisers.

Whilst lauding the NDC for holding a successful congress, I wish to add my voice to the call by the Democratic Freedom Party that the positive outcome of the Eighth Delegates Congress of the NDC can further be exhibited during national elections, so that supporters of the various political parties see themselves merely as temporary opponents seeking political power and not as permanent enemies at war with each other. It is my expectation that the outcome •of the NDC congress will help deepen the democratic fortunes of Ghana.