In the Ancient Greece story of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason and his men had to encounter many death-threatening dangers on their way to taking the Golden Fleece.
In the last encounter, they come face to face with a group of soldiers guarding the Golden Fleece. As advised, Jason throws his war helmet amongst the soldiers. The soldiers start attacking one another until they all die. Jason then reaches out to the Golden Fleece, lifts it, and takes it in triumph.
For political parties in this country, the Golden Fleece is nothing more than state power which will be up for grabs in the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. State power is currently in the hands of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The party in opposition that hankers most after state power is the New Patriotic Party (NPP). And among the various political parties in opposition, it is the NPP that has a greater chance of forming the next government, after 2016.
Surprisingly and ironically, it is the NPP which has acquired an insatiable taste for electoral defeat without the NDC needing to throw the helmet of confusion among its (NPP’s) ranks. Indeed, between now and 2016, the NDC can conveniently go to sleep without having to campaign in order to retain power. It is crystal clear that the NPP has taken the path of what the irrepressible and indomitable Kweku Baako has described as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).
The acronym MAD is very appropriate, because it correctly and accurately depicts what the NPP is currently doing to itself. It would have been bad enough for the rank and file of the party to engage in such acts of self-destruction. It is manifestly worse, when it is those at the top who have taken out their knives to engage in literal, as well as figurative blood-letting. What happened last week Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at the party’s national headquarters was a culmination of the open display of disunity, lawlessness and mutual showering of insults that had characterised the campaign posture of supporters of Nana Akufo-Addo and Mr. Alan Kyerematen.
In the free-for-all, no-holds-barred attack on one another, the rank and file, as well as the top hierarchy in the party have forgotten the useful advice that people should not wash their dirty linen in public, nor should they display their torn clothes for all to see. Supporters of Alan Kyerematen gleefully portray Nana Akufo-Addo as an unmarketable person who has already led the NPP to three defeats.
(They add the run off to make it three defeats in a row).
They have raised questions about his age and health. They say that what the NPP needs is not a flag-bearer, but a presidential candidate, whatever that means. They tout Mr Kyerematen as the only one who can attract so-called floating voters. Supporters of Nana Akufo-Addo have no doubt that he is the only one without whom many members of the party will not vote at all. They question the loyalty of Mr Kyerematen.
They doubt whether he has contributed as much to the party’s progress as Nana Akufo-Addo has done. And they say that he himself has twice been defeated in his bid to capture the party’s nomination for flag-bearer. Both sides have given enough electoral ammunition to the NDC to fire at any one of them who might be nominated by the NPP. The mutual antagonism has been so deep that both sides seem to be oblivious of the irreparable harm they are inflicting on the party, regarding its image and unity.
The Kyerematen-Akufo-Addo rift is not the only disease threatening to bring another electoral defeat to the party and even to cause its disintegration. The mutually assured destruction Kweku Baako mentioned is to be found in the thinking, posture and behaviour of members of this party, especially, among the so-called highly educated men and women.
You might think that these Solomons would take their problems to the right quarters. No! At the least drop of a hat, these wise men and women would pick up their pens and flay the party or perceived opponents within it, or go to radio stations and spill their guts. Yes, the NPP is cast in the mould of its predecessor “domo” parties, such as the Popular Front Party (PFP) and the Progress Party (PP).
Elitism has been their curse. Everybody thinks of himself as being fit for the Presidency. So what happens? Seventeen persons decide that they are fit to be chosen as a presidential candidate. An election later, there are still seven aspirants, out of which five are to be chosen for 2016. Somebody has observed that if it was an NPP president who died, some NPP members would have contested the sitting Vice President for the position of acting President. You may well believe it, given the very big egos many in the NPP carry.
Dr. Hilla Limann was politically unknown. He also stood on the ticket of the Peoples National Party (PNP), a party with links to the then banned Convention Peoples Party (CPP). Yet, thanks to big egos, he won the 1979 election, because he was able to pass through the gulf created by the Popular Front Party, led by Mr. Victor Owusu, and the United National Convention (UNC), led by Mr. William Ofori-Atta.
Today, the NPP is consumed in a flame of unnecessary rivalry, scathing abuse, accusation of wrong-doing, even of criminality. They are doing so in the open. It is a turf war disguised as fighting in the party’s interest. They hope to make peace. Unfortunately, the least they can achieve is to paper over the cracks somehow, but not heal the rifts completely.
The leadership has unfortunately compromised their integrity by siding openly with those hoping to win the party’s approval for flag-bearer. The greatest mistake those of the NPP can make is to think that, come 2016, they can count on the economic problems facing the country to put them in power.