Count NDC Out

Count the National Democratic Congress (NDC) out of the unnecessarily stupid, inane, senseless, crazy, silly, absurd, non-sensical, thoughtless, mindless, bestial, backward bravado displayed by ‘political’ thugs at the NPP head quarters at Asylum Down, Accra, on Tuesday, August 9, 2014. Count out also Nana Akufo Addo, Alan Kyeremateng, ex–President Kufour and all the big guns of the NPP.

The phrase ‘count me out’ simply means ‘do not include me in your activity or plan’! Mr Branttie was a fellow tutor of English at Vakpo Secondary School where we did our National Service in 1977/78, His was a trait that seemed to be the very opposite of what some of us possessed, including Senchim, Anku and Brobbey. Whenever we wanted to take some high-profile action, he would say “Count me out”. We would retort, “We will count you in”. If I am enthused about the phrase, it is because Mr Branttie popularized it within a particular setting

When Ghana adopted democracy –a government of the people, by the people, and for the people-, and fashioned out the 1992 Constitution, we did so with all its attributes: good or bad. Inherent in our path of democracy was the tenet of the rule of law, under which A.V. Dicey postulates three principles: avoidance of arbitrariness; equality before the law; the constitution being the result of our rights and not the other way round. Barack Obama, the U.S. President re–stressed this concept when on his visit to Ghana, he encouraged us to build ‘strong institutions, not strong men’.

Japan is a homogeneous society, because they all claim to have descended from a common ancestress, the sun – goddess, Amaterasu. The Japanese believe that to understand their society, one has to understand they are a unique people, physically and mentally different from the rest of the world. They also believe that their social success, low crime rate, and a high level of education are the result of its people’s social stock. We may wish we had a similar homogeneity in Ghana, but ours is a heterogeneous society, each grouping with a different history, a different cultural heritage, a different language, and different social norms.

A political party in our context embraces various people, of various characters, backgrounds, training and it thrives best on compromise, consultation, a give – and –take situation, and consensus building; even people who a few years ago held different views and were members of different political parties-we are talking about people who have crossed carpet. Some people think it is only a fool who does not change his mind.

George Elton Mayo (1880 – 1949), the Australian philosopher developed the ‘Hawthorne Studies’ in which he made certain deductions about how mangers and leaders should behave. He argued that job satisfaction was enhanced by informal social pattern (or informal social relationships)

Thus, a simple directive to a party official to ‘proceed on leave’ should not generate the unnecessary tension and brouhaha that it did. Was it an unnecessary show of power, from either party? Does the NPP Constitution give the General Secretary the right to act the way he did? Of course, there is a provision in the NPP Constitution which states: “The General Secretary shall be responsible for overseeing the operations of the Party’s Secretariat and coordinating the activities and of the Party and of all employees of the Party at Constituency, Regional, External and National levels”. But has the General Secretary ‘drunk deep’ the Elton Mayo spring? And what was the Press Conference meant to achieve?

Even if the NPP Constitution did convey such authority on the General Secretary, perhaps one would argue that good sense would dictate the extension of respect to Perry Okudzeto. And Mr Freddie Blay… he went to the press rather too early and his statement exposed the rusty nature of the relationships in the executive. Some other persons have held these positions before-Chairman, First Vice, Second, Third Vice, General Secretary, Organiser, Treasurer…but nothing like this nasty incident occurred during their stewardship. Some persons. We believe, are bragging elsewhere that they ran an incident-free administration. And do you appreciate the use of the ‘we-word’ in the foregone sentence? It is very helpful in administration; in fact, more helpful than the ‘I-word’, even when the action was done by oneself.

Why would anyone begrudge Yaw Boateng Gyan, the National Organiser of the NDC for stating that “ …acts of violence and vandalism were nothing new in the NPP family…we would not have bothered ourselves with the internal wranglings of the NPP, since this has consistently become their trademark.. . but the fact that they falsely accuse the NDC of masterminding the unfortunate incident we have no other option than to bring to the public our position for the good people of this country to make their own judgement.” .The NDC, it appears, has its own headaches to contend with, and it would not help any opposing party to attribute any of their own internal problems to it.

Dr Arthur Kennedy accuses and heaps blame on Nana Akuffo Addo for the episode at the NPP National headquarters. He writes from his base in the U.S.A.: “The attack was not the first attempt to use violence and intimidation in settling differences in the NPP in recent times”. He continues: “It is obvious, upon careful reflection that these hooligans- from Kufour’s house through Tamale to the Party Headquarters are being organised, inspired and motivated by, or on behalf of, the 2012 Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo”. The ‘most unkindest cut of all’ was when he added: “Even though those doing those things may be adults that he cannot control, he can forthrightly condemn violence and insults, dissociate himself from those who traffic in them. He has not done so. As these failures pile up, Ghanaians are increasingly asking whether the candidate who is actively dividing the party can-as President- unite Ghana. All that one can do for this gentleman is to pray for him for his effulgence, to repent now. Does it surprise anyone? After getting only one out of over 2000 votes in the 17 – member presidential-aspirant competition in 2007, Nana Addo made him the Director of Communication and Dr. Konadu Apraku was made Director of Security, weren’t they?. Don’t they see the need to stay united? But why the rush to publish the results of the internal voting of the oversea branches, against the Party’s own Constitution. What psychological effect are the results going to have on those going to vote this week-end- all declaring over 90% for one candidate only?

With the approach of 2016, one would see these same Thomases being given appointments as Directors of Communications, Security, Finance and the like of the Presidential team, because they are the ‘known’ ones. Others are left to muse with Thomas Gray in ‘An Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard’:”Full many a gem of purest serene, The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air”

It appears that with the approach of the ‘Special Congress’, people are finding their levels. Some big, big men and women have publicly identified themselves with the aspirants for flagbearer-ship. But some of these aspirants do not need these official identifications, endorsements and acclamations. Which executives do the other aspirants report to, or approach for advice, support, et al? Would it not be helpful to make the playing field open? Does one need to remind NPP about the harm in the internecine war?

NPP has touted themselves as stoic believers of democracy, and that they eschew political violence, thuggery and hooliganism. How do they explain the incident at the headquarters of their party last week Tuesday? Is it the same party that J.B. Danquah, Kofi Abrefa, S.B. Dombo built, and whose good works were continued to perfection by J.A. Kufuor?

I greet my brother who a few years ago declared to me in Elmina that if a particular candidate was chosen as flagbearer that would suggest that NPP wanted a total destruction, and he would ensure that it happened; now, the same person is championing the cause of the one he had deprecated, and he would wish the man went unopposed. Perhaps in politics one should have many mouths, eh?