The reality that there is no difference between the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has been firmly established sooner than I had expected.
This reality has come with the intense revival of the search for a credible alternative to the 22 year old government(s) of the NDC and NPP whose combined records have been bad political governance and economic mismanagement, appropriately described by a Supreme Court Judge as “create loot and share”.
But the search for a credible alternative to the duopoly is not new. In fact it emerged in the run up to the 2008 general elections when the NPP’s eight year old government was about to expire. Records of the two Parties (NPP & NDC) were compared and the difference was not clear. The line was very thin; and the verdict? – “the value is the same” settled the argument.
Just like today, citizens had lost confidence in the NPP leadership and government of the day. Government had become complacent; comparing the minimal gains they had made on the development front, to the rather poor performance of their predecessor (P) NDC regimes. Ministers of state and other government appointees had become arrogant and would not recognize the realities of the people. Impunity had become synonymous with government. To crown it all, seventeen leading members of the regime contested to become the party’s flag bearer in the 2008 elections.
While the need for a credible alternative was clearly in high demand, the electorate had been conditioned to undo themselves by focusing on ethnicity and in many instances, an insatiable appetite for material things including cash and the promise of exclusive economic rewards in return for votes.
In the confusion, the NDC re-captured power in that 2008 election, clanged on to the power by any means in the 2012 elections, only to hurriedly deliver the nation into the grave and merciless hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for another round of exorbitant tuition in fiscal discipline, when the consequences of using state funds to win elections started to manifest.
For me, the desire to win elections must accompany an even more intense desire and demonstrated capability to deliver good accountable governance for the transformational development of the nation state, if it is a developing one like Ghana.
Regardless of their ability to win elections, the principles of sustainable nation building seem to be lost on the parties that have won elections since 1992. For some yet unknown reasons, parties that should be the alternative to the duopoly, with the exception of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), have operated as though winning elections to govern is not part of their core functions. How can you implement your good policies if you do not win elections?
After a good but not too impressive showing in the 2012 elections where it placed third to the NDC and NPP, the PPP has shown tremendous presence in the political arena reverberating and capturing the hearts and minds of the electorate through the propagation of alternative policy visions.
The PPP’s ten point agenda for change is a “must read” “must know” “must understand” and “must inform” on how Ghanaians should vote in the 2016 general elections.
It represents the blue print for Ghana’s transformational development which the duopoly has failed to develop. Anchored on the pillar of incorruptible leadership, the PPPs priority is to reform the country’s governance system to make it possible for good governance to operate and enable the transformation that we need to materialize.
The PPP has made it clear that the 1992 constitution was crafted for then military ruler, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings. To that end, the constitution granted excessive powers to the executive rendering the countervailing arm of government – parliament, a disabled institution at birth.
To overcome this problem the PPP and a majority of the people of Ghana want the constitution amended to prevent the President from appointing members of parliament to double as ministers of state. Is it not curious that this all important reform cannot be found in the pre and post 2016 agenda of the NDC and NPP?
Second, the PPP has launched a national campaign to remove the democratic deficit in the governance system by again, recommending a constitutional amendment to have District, Metropolitan and Municipal Chief Executives elected by the people through universal adult suffrage, a reform that would make local government accountable to the people. This reform that the PPP seeks to implement as soon as it is given political power has been flatly rejected by the NDC and NPP.
Third, is the biggest mischief in our governance arrangement, where the Chief Public Prosecutor – the Attorney General – doubles as the President’s Minister of Justice and Chief Legal Advisor.
The arrangement has over and over again provided cover for corruption to thrive in high and low places. It is the main reason why the state is not able to go after corrupt public officials without fear or favour. The only Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who attempted to do his work without fear or favour incurred the displeasure of the Executive and lost his job.
Corruption denies the nation close to (GHC 3.5 Billion Cedis) every year, according to the latest Auditor–General’s report. But the need to deal with corruption surgically for these monies to be retained to support the nation’s development efforts seems to be completely lost on the NDC and NPP.
Their response to the PPPs proposed reform of separating the Attorney General’s Department from the Ministry of Justice, is totally blind to the principle of good accountable governance. Can the NDC and NPP lead Ghana to transformational development?
As we approach 2016, the alternative to the NDC and NPP is PPP. And PPP, not NDC or NPP can transform Ghana.