A leading advocate of civil society organisations (CSOs), has condemned what he describes as unacceptable and scathing comments directed at CSOs by National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The NDC leadership had said CSOs have been inactive in critic the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration as they did when John Mahama was President.
However, Dr Rasford Gyampo, who is a research fellow at the governance unit of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) says it is not the case that the CSOs have reneged on their mandate, explaining that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) still maintains goodwill with the CSOs despite its mistakes and challenges since it assumed the reigns of power.
The political science lecturer with the University of Ghana also believes it is only normal that the new administration is given a breather considering it is barely 100 days old.
Speaking to Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Newsnight programme Wednesday, Dr Gyampo said what the NDC must appreciate is that unlike their usual “propagandist, abusive and sometimes cruel tactics aimed at destroying hard-won reputations and bringing people down, CSOs are soberer and they do a lot of research before coming out.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, the NDC National Chairman, Kofi Portuphy, attacked CSOs for keeping quite on all the governance flaws of the current administration.
Mr Portuphy said it is disturbing that despite the recent anti-rule of law activities by pro-NPP militant groups — Delta Force and Invincible Forces — there is a loud silence from the civil society fraternity.
The NDC also lashed out at the clergy who, according to the party, hitherto found it necessary to condemn “every action under the erstwhile NDC government”.
“All of a sudden they have abandoned their neutral outlook they have ceased being the conscience of the nation,” Mr Portuphy had said.
According to him, the NDC does not want to believe that the nonchalant posture of the CSOs is “borne out of political and ethnic prejudice or as a result of hypocrisy and double standards.”
“We have heard from the Ghana Bar Association, CODEO – but only in respect of the mayhem caused by the so-called Delta Force in Kumasi but where were these groups when NPP brought in mercenaries from SA [South Africa] to train these terrorist elements? ” he questioned.
The NDC National Chairman said these amidst a constant cheer in agreement by the party executives and supporters at the news conference where he also said the CSOs did not utter a word of during NPP takeovers across the countries including murdering some NDC activists.
He expressed surprise at the hasty manner with which public officers are being removed from their posts by the current administration, alleging that Abdul Nashiru Issahaku, who recently resigned as Bank of Ghana Governor, was shoved out of office.
Mr Portuphy said the NDC is in shock that the CSOs that vehemently spoke about the winner-takes-all syndrome during the tenure of the NDC are nowhere to be found.
But Dr Gyampo disagrees with NDC stance.
He questioned whether the NDC Chairman lives in Ghana and has been following the nation’s political terrain.
“You do not adopt an anti-CSO posturing aimed at tagging, gagging and destroying CSOs and expect them to quickly jump to bed with you simply because you are in opposition.
“The most important point, however, is the hypocrisy and the selective amnesia of some politicians which is nauseating, to say the least,” he said noting that IMANI Ghana, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Let My Vote Count (LMVC), politico-religious vigilante Prof Martey and himself have been holding Akufo-Addo’s legs to the fire when they have to.
He said they have been critical the Akufo-Addo government’s speeches, the size of government, seizure of public vehicles and state property as well as the vigilante group attacks.
“CSOs have not been dormant, we have criticised and spoken our mind about national issues…people who cool off after elections must do research before they criticise others,” he said.