Analysis: If it were Akufo-Addo who had died… – By Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor
I will raise a disturbing question as the framework for my opinion piece: If it were the NPP’s Akufo-Addo who had died, would the NPP leaders have swiftly and smoothly elevated his running mate (Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia) as their party’s flagbearer for Election 2012?

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I have asked this question for a good reason, which I will explain soon in the light of some happenings over the past three weeks that have led me to conclude that Ghanaian politicians are a major cause for worry. By their unconscionable posture, they are doing nothing but leading the country astray.

Such negative traits as dishonesty, mischief, chicanery, and plain waywardness are entrenched in their political lives and cannot be eradicated any sooner than expected. They will continue to muddy the political waters and deepen the country’s woes as they seek their own welfare at the expense of the country and its citizens. I am pessimistic for a good reason or two.

While those in the NDC are on people’s lips for alleged abuse of office, incompetence, or plain irrelevance, their counterparts in the NPP are quickly confirming their notoriety in many other ways.

Let’s take a few instances to justify this stance and to reinforce our contempt against these lying and thieving politicians for all that they stand for and do with impunity in broad daylight.

Having previously made scathing comments on ex-President Mills’ state of health and casting insinuations that he was unfit to continue being in office, there was every indication that the NPP camp would wish him out of the way to help them regain political power. After all, he was their main target.

The covert and overt political posturing that occasioned this impression might have misled their supporters in parts of the Ashanti Region to “celebrate” when rumours erupted that the ex-President had died on the very day that he was departing Ghana for medical check-up in the United States.

Contrary to expectation, the NPP leadership didn’t condemn that hideous act by their followers. Then, as Fate would have it, the ex-President died on July 24 only to be mourned by the very people who had wished him dead all along.

As if that was not enough, one of them (Shakar Salar, a member of the NPP communication team) impudently claimed that much of the grieving done for the ex-President was fake and that, indeed, the thousands of mourners were being insincere and had no genuine need to grieve. In other words, the mourning was nothing but a display of hypocrisy. Shakar Salar said so when he spoke on Radio XYZ’s current affairs program the Analyst on Saturday.  This statement was widely carried by the media. And he spoke in the name of the NPP!!

Can anything be more nerve-wracking than this claim—a clear demonstration of insensitivity and gross callousness? Yet, the NPP leadership hasn’t seen anything wrong with this open claim nor have they dissociated the party from that heinous utterance. None in the NPP has denounced the claim, meaning that the spokesperson said what the party needed to be said for it.

I am left in no doubt to infer from this paralyzing statement of insensitivity that Shakar Salar might be telling us the truth as he saw it in the conduct of those in the NPP he knew very well who mourned the ex-President. It is only such characters whose shedding of crocodile tears I will not doubt; but the many millions outside that political cabal who genuinely grieved at the loss of their “Asomdwehene” did so as human beings touched deeply by the loss of a fellow human being to Nature.

Another instance, which gradually leads me to the import of the question with which I began this piece. As if pursuing a systematic agenda of political chicanery, the NPP turned to matters arising from the gap left behind by the ex-President’s death to comment on the ascension of John D. Mahama as if all was not well within the ranks of the NDC on that score.

Even before the dust could settle on his elevation, the NPP had sought to make it clear that the NDC was heading for disaster. But the reality proved them wrong. Disoriented by the swift and smooth manner in which the NDC handled that affair, what did the NPP do next?

They went for the case of the Vice President and chided President Mahama for not fulfilling the constitutional obligation to nominate his Vice. But they were left slack-jawed in that area too, which returns me to my main question: If it were the NPP’s Akufo-Addo who had died, would the NPP have unreservedly (unanimously) uplifted his running mate (Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia) to become the party’s flagbearer for the December elections?

Your guess is as good as mine. I don’t in any way see that happening. There are many obvious reasons why he won’t get the green light. You know them as much as I do. No need to belabour anything here. That’s the real issue that the NPP should be concerned with as it seeks solutions to its deep-seated credibility problems. As an “Akanfuo” party, there is more for its leaders to work on than being pre-occupied with others’ affairs. Poking their noses into their rivals’ affairs isn’t the solution.

Then again, in the pursuit of their agenda, the NPP leadership organized a press conference today at which Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, NPP National Chairman, made some utterances that clearly demonstrate the desperation that has thrown their politicking into disarray.

In sum, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey stated that the Mahama/Amissah-Arthur “uninspiring caretaker team” has nothing new to offer Ghanaians. He alluded to the NDC pair as “spare tyres” that should be changed by Ghanaians during the upcoming general elections (Myjoyonline, August 14, 2012).

My immediate reaction to this claim was to dismiss it as the figment of a frustrated mind that portrays the depth of disorientation into which the NPP has fallen at the demise of the ex-President against whom they had sharpened their political claws for Election 2012.

Now that he is gone—reducing their political strategies to absurdity and leaving them scrambling for new ones against limited time—they have nothing concrete to tell Ghanaians but resort to this kind of cheap politics. Name-calling is their tool, and that’s exactly what they have begun using.

Questions for the NPP: Who is new in their camp to create any other impression than what is already known about the NPP as a cabal of property-grabbing conservative so-called “liberal democrats”? If those leading the NDC government are “spare tyres,” what is there about Akufo-Addo and all the “old faces” parading as his future government functionaries to assure Ghanaians that they are any better quality material? Ghanaians already know them as jaded and bereft of innovative governance skills—and they are not appealing at all.
It seems the NPP can’t easily regain its composure to know that winning the December elections will not be accomplished with the strategies that they have been using all this while.

Ghanaians want to know what concrete measures the NPP will implement to help it outdo the incumbent. They may be complaining about living conditions but I don’t think they will be misled by name-calling and outright vilification of the Mahama-led government to rubber-stamp the NPP’s Akufo-Addo into office.

Crying that the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation took instructions from the government to black out their Akufo-Addo when he filed past the body of the ex-President at the Banquet Hall last Thursday won’t help them either.

The deeper-level issues are missing from the NPP’s agenda for reaching out to the electorate; and that’s what must be addressed. The stunted publicity that they recently gave their manifesto hasn’t done anything noteworthy. Will these people ever learn how to do politics to win hearts?

Certainly, winning over floating voters needs more efforts than what I have seen the NPP do so far. We acknowledge the fact that we still have some four months more to Election 2012; but if what I have so far seen about the NPP’s politicking is all there is, then, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth for those among them who have already assured themselves of setting foot on the Promised Land.

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