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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

What does Papa “J” and Arthur “K” have in common?

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Recent political events in this country has earned the country another plus in its democratic governance ratings. Pronouncements and the actions of two personalities in the two

major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) have made political scientists and other pundits to review their notes on politics in Ghana.

The former President of Ghana, His Excellency Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings has been tongue-lashing the NDC government which he coincidentally is the founder. President Rawlings’ commitment and loyalty to this party is above board. He was very instrumental in the party winning power in the 2008 election. His personality and oratory draws a lot of admirers to him. He equally has some foes who have not forgiven him on how he bumped onto the political scene. His ability to captivate his audience whenever he speaks continues to be a magic wand that draws a lot of Ghanaians to his party the NDC. Every journalist in Ghana would not want to miss it when the former President has an opportunity to comment on any issue. His political opponents are all ears praying for him to “boom” anytime he speaks.

The former President’s proclivity for making audacious statements during the NPP administration did not end with their defeat in the 2008 elections. He is still making waves in the current administration. One would have thought the former President would give his own party a little breather or soften his stance on his party, but that has not been the case. His recent pronouncement has made some political observers to wonder whether he loves the party that he helped to bring to power. His alleged description of some members of the Mills government as greedy bastards and team B players has caused some disaffection amongst some members of his party. His latest “who born dog?” statement makes things more complicated. A lot of people are beginning to ask, what does the ex President wants from the sitting President?

Ex President Rawlings has shown some level of consistence in his criticisms. He thinks the President is not doing enough for the citizenry and this would make it difficult for the current administration to hold on to power in 2012. President Rawlings was also critical of the NPP government and chastised them openly for not doing enough for the citizenry. Political watchers and some members of the NDC thinks he is not been fair to the sitting President, others also see this development as the best way to make the Mills administration fast track on its better Ghana agenda. Some party members have even suggested to the former President to meet the current President and discuss whatever problems he has with him. Whether the ex President’s criticism is proper or not is not for me to judge, that can be a discussion for some other day.

The current development in the NDC and reactions from the President has really shown that President Mills is his own man. His mental toughness and willingness to accept criticisms from his former boss and other personalities makes him a tolerant and a listening President. All those who were made to believe that the President would be remote control by the former President should by now have a different opinion about the man Prof. J. E. A. Mills. President Mills has proven beyond reasonable doubt that, he is in control and would dictate the pace of development at his own pace. I believe the President would not like to commit some of the mistakes of his predecessors and that his why he is moving at that pace. No wonder he asked his critics to swiftly add “But sure” anytime they say he is “slow”.

The other personality in this scenario is the man Arthur Kennedy, a medical doctor turned politician. Arthur “K” as he is affectionately called by his friends is a leading member of the New Patriotic Party. He was one of the young vociferous gentlemen at legon who made things a bit uncomfortable for the PNDC regime in the early 80’s; he had to leave for the USA at the heat of the PNDC regime to further his education. Arthur “K”s claim to fame on the Ghanaian political scene was when he filed his nomination to contest the flagbearership of the NPP prior to the 2008 election. One wonderful thing about this man is his avowed stance not to pay money or bribe any journalist or a party faithful during his campaign to be the flag bearer of the NPP. He is also noted for his belief in the Ghanaian and his passion to change the status quo. One thing that I also observed about this man is his communication skills and intelligence.

Dr. Arthur Kennedy’s dismal performance during their presidential primaries did not deter the eventual winner, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo from making him his Communications manager for his campaign to become the President of Ghana. Dr. Kennedy performed very well as a communications manager during the 2008 election campaign of the NPP; he was on radio, writing in the print media and doing his possible best to ensure that his candidate message gets to all corners of the country. Unfortunately his candidate lost the elections to the current President, not much was heard of him after the 2008 elections. I believe he went back to his base to continue his practice in the USA.

The next time Ghanaians heard of him was when snippets of a book he had authored was published on the Internet and in the print media. The contents of the book generated a lot of interest to the Ghanaian public and members of his party. Some party members were upset when they heard the title of the book “Chasing the Elephant into the Bush”. They felt uncomfortable with the title because to them it sounded more like a taunt from a political opponent rather than a title of a book from one of their own. Some party members could not believe their ears when they started reading bits and pieces of the book on the internet and in the print media. Others express disgust about the book during radio discussions and call in programmes. The party members were of the view that the content of the book provides the NDC with powerful ammunition for the 2012 elections. They were of the opinion that Dr. Arthur Kennedy could have made those suggestions to the party leadership rather than washing the party’s dirty linen in Public. The hullabaloo about the book made the book a sellout before it even hit the market. The catchy title of the book and the controversy surrounding the book made it a hot cake Doctor Arthur Kennedy should be happy with the fortune he is making from the sale of his book.

Dr. Arthur Kennedy has suffered a lot of condemnation and discontentment from some of his colleagues in the NPP. Whilst some of his colleagues see him as a traitor, others think he cannot keep a secret and has been disloyal to his friends and colleagues he worked with during the 2008 electioneering campaign.

Papa “J” and Arthur “K” are coming from two political parties which are diametrically opposed in terms of ideology and philosophy. They do not share anything in common; infact one person thinks the other was responsible for his departure from the motherland. One is a founding father of his party who pronouncements carries a lot of weight. The other is a leading member of the party whose words may be taken with a pinch of salt depending on his relationship with the party official that he is dealing with.

Although these two personalities have a lot of differences when it comes to politics in this country, their interest in seeing to it that the right thing is done in their respective parties cannot be disputed. A lot of party foot soldiers who do not get to hear what happens in their various parties and Ghanaians who do not belong to any political parties should thank these two gentlemen for telling us the challenges in their respective parties. They have provided Ghanaians with valuable information about the development in their parties. Hardly in Africa do we get politicians to speak their minds on issues that do not augur well in their political parties. Thank you Papa “J” and Arthur “K” for letting it off your chest without turning to see who is behind you.

These two gentlemen have spoken but it is our duty to also sit down and reflect on the developments in the two major political parties. We as Ghanaians would have to seek the greater good of this nation. We should not be dogmatic about our parties. Let us insist on the right things been done in our political parties. Ghana is bigger than any political party. All the political parties claim they have the interest of the country at heart, but the question we should be asking ourselves is. Are the political parties seeking our welfare or the welfare of the leaders? We should hold our politicians accountable anytime and ensure that the right thing is done always. We should seek truth, justice and development from them. Political Parties would come and go but Ghana is there forever.

Let us criticize constructively and give praise where it is due.

Credit: Mustapha Jimah
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