Feature Article of Sunday, 14 April 2013
Columnist: Yeboah, Kwame
The New Patriotic Party of Ghana is the oldest party in Ghana. This is because it comes from a political traditions that dates back to before independence. The party was founded by great intellectual freedom fighters like Dr. J.B Danquah, and Paa Willie. Traditionally, it has had virtual monopoly of the intelligentsia of the Ghanaian society from Dr. Busia, through Dombo and Victor Owusu to Professor Adu Boahen, President Kuffour, Kwame Pianim and Alan Kyeremanten, to list but a few.
Currently, the party boasts of lawyers, doctors, professors, chiefs and kings and has high student following. No wonder the party often appears intellectually arrogant to the admirations of both local and international community. I have always posited during arguments with my NPP colleagues that we are in a populist moment in Ghana, but the NPP has traditionally been the party of elites. So how does a party sell economic elitism to a populist electorate? By wrapping it in populist anti-intellectualism. The failure of NPP to do that has caused them a number of elections. My point is intellectual manpower has never been in need in the party and because of the academic pedigree, the default argument of opponents has always been “You are arrogant or too known” As a member of another party, I will admit that there is little in life more infuriating than to be condescended to by someone with a superior academic pedigree and a superiority complex. But never, in the political history of Ghana has the word “stupid” ever been associated with the party.
Recently, some people in the leadership of the party have been making pronouncements that borders on stupid. Examples of such pronouncements have come from Sir John, Kofi Jumah, Ken Adjapong and Ursula Owusu.
Hiding the accident car of Bawumiah from the police and attempting to conduct your own forensic investigation outside the body with the equipment and skills to do so doesn’t track logically, but to “Sir” John, this is not about logic. It’s about emotion and scapegoating and finger-pointing. I do not have space to list all the crazy comments Kofi Jumah has made since he appeared on the political scene of Ghana. Personally, I blame former president Kuffour for appointing him as the Mayor of Kumasi, the regional capital of the great Ashanti region of all places. With the great human resources available to him, he decided to appointment somebody who lives on insult and bad behavior as the leader of this great city and center of the NPP political power.
Ursula is a very successful lawyer and parliamentarian. It is mind boggling why she has decided to behave like a fundamentalist femme fatales. I have come to the conclusion that Ursula is not a politician at all. Instead, she is an avant-garde comedy act à la Agya Koo.
Then there is the mother of all “stupid” comments from Ken Adjapong and Nana Addo bothering on incitements and “Yen Akanfo” and “All die be die” One could go on by listing the innumerable gaffes, mistakes, outright falsehoods and mind-killing dumbness seen throughout the party’s conservative media apparatus, but it would confound the laws of time and space to list them all here. Now that the Ahoofe’s are cooling their rhetoric, there emerges a plethora of frustrated people spewing fundamentalism.
Being the stupid party is not the way to win friends and influence voters. The NPP will not need the vote of every thinking person in Ghana, the trouble is, it will need the majority of them. Playing dumb in a country like Ghana is not worthy of a great party like the NPP. NPP is an elitist party, so those who find themselves in leadership positions should behave as such.
This piece is not to denigrate anybody but to point out that the great political sins being committed here are not so much the comments themselves, but the degree to which such comments in the information age can jump audiences and media markets and so sully the brand name of an entire party. The NPP deserves better.