ANALYSIS: If our political parties fail, our democracy will suffer Part II – By Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor
The happenings in the pro-Nkrumahist political parties draw specific attention to the danger that looms over this front. We need to recognize this danger and its implications for this political front which, until the emergence and consolidation of the NDC, was one of the pillars of Ghanaian politics. Together with the UP tradition, they constituted the only two main political streams in Ghana.

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The problems that have fragmented this pro-Nkrumahist front are worth our attention because in spite of the electoral woes of this camp, there is still public sympathy for the Nkrumahist cause. That is why highlighting these problems should help us appreciate the enormity of the tasks facing those seeking to resurrect the Nkrumahist agenda for national development.

THE PRO-NKRUMAHIST POLITICAL PARTIES

The situation in the ranks of political parties aligned to Nkrumah is peculiarly interesting, not because there is anything to write home about, but because that house has virtually collapsed on its activists. I will lump the CPP, PNC, and Dan Lartey’s GCPP together as weaklings and dismiss outright. They have no way to make any meaningful impact on 21sr century Ghanaian politics.

At best, they may be heard only through the leadership crisis and the persistent in-fighting among their leaders. Nothing to lose whether they fold up today or remain at the periphery to bore Ghanaians with stale slogans bordering on Nkrumahism and quaint socialist orientations. Nobody eats ideologies!

The emergence of Paa Kwesi Nduom’s Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the quick rush to pronounce itself as a possible replacement for the NDC and NPP is good only for the comic relief that it produces. I am one of those not persuaded that the PPP will make any huge difference.

At best, its formation only accentuates the decadence that has beset the pro-Nkrumahist family since the resurgence of party politics in 1969 when Komla Agbeli Gbedemah’s National Alliance of Liberals (NAL) emerged from the ashes of anything Nkrumahist to lift the banner of the CPP.

Even then, not all followers of Nkrumah joined arms with Gbedemah. One of them Willie Lutterodt, boldly formed the Popular People’s Party (PPP) only for it to be proscribed by the military leaders because of its obvious re-enactment of the CPP phonemic vibe or hype.

The Nkrumahist front wasn’t really strong enough to counteract the force of a resurgent UP front and lost the 1969 elections. The situation didn’t improve that much even though the Imoro Egala-influenced PNP won the 1979 elections.

By the 1992 and 1996 general elections, we all saw how a fragmented pro-Nkrumahist family made a mockery of itself. From its reincarnation as the National Convention Party (not to mention the other splinter ones), the pro-Nkrumahist front couldn’t make any impact on its own and sold its birthright for mere political pittance.

It first flirted with Rawlings’ NDC, making it possible for a Progressive Alliance that saw the NCP’s Kow Nkensen Arkaah as the Vice President. That marriage of convenience collapsed and the NCP did the most unimaginable about-face by entering the most unholy alliance with a political arch rival, the NPP, forming a so-called Great Alliance for the 1996 elections. The humiliating defeat suffered by this Great Alliance was enough to jolt the pro-Nkrumahist front out of contention in Ghana politics.

The fact that several parties have surfaced since then, all touting their Nkrumahist origin and ideals but lacking the charisma and acumen that filliped Nkrumah’s CPP, they are today nothing more than a gleam reminder of political exercises in futility. By persistently tearing at each other’s throat, the CPP, PNC, GCPP can’t merge into any single strong pro-Nkrumahist party to confront the NDC and NPP. They are more comfortable going it alone in their weak state.

What is to worsen the plight of this political family is in the formation of Nduom’s PPP, which splintered from the CPP and is parading itself as a better option than its incubator, the CPP. I am won’t enthuse over this PPP, knowing very well that it is just one of the fads on our political landscape, at least, until I see any evidence that it has roots in other political props than Nduom’s ego.

So far, we don’t know any other person playing any leadership role apart from Nduom—and we know the factors that forced Nduom out of the CPP. Thus, forming the PPP may be his solution to the limelight that he is seeking to actualize his personal political ambitions. Until I see anything to impress me that the PPP is well founded on a strong leadership and that its agenda for politicking is positively different from what has afflicted our national politics so far, I won’t bother my head over this PPP.

Its leader (Nduom) may also be rushing to find fault with the Mills-led government, but it doesn’t mean that Ghanaians will accept it as a better alternative. It is still at its formative stages and hasn’t landed yet to suggest that it is viable. That is why any attempt by Nduom to revel in the crisis facing the NDC will be misplaced.

His PPP hasn’t yet developed wings to fly and he will be better off monitoring the situation and building his party to face the vagaries of the political weather instead of biting more than he can chew at this early stage in his party’s life. He only needs to be reminded that the PPP is just one of those parties emerging from the ashes of others in one big political family. It runs parallel to the CPP, which neither the NDC nor the NPP does.

In the long run, though, the PPP has emerged at a time that there is much public disillusionment on the performance of the NDC and NPP. There is common talk that another party strong enough to woo the voters will outdo both; hence, the guarded optimism that informs Nduom’s public posturing and utterances that his PPP will “shock” both the NDC and the NPP at Election 2012.

The PPP’s immediate catchment area seems to be the CPP, especially considering the spate of resignations rocking the CPP following the appearance on the scene of Nduom’s party. That being the case, unless the leadership of the CPP find better ways to reach out to their members or uncommitted segments of the electorate, they risk losing grounds to the PPP.

The picture, then, is clear: that Nduom and his PPP are poised to feed on the CPP while extending their tentacles to disgruntled elements in the NDC and the NPP to woo into their midst. Such is politics, though.

In fine, I see the PPP as likely to endanger the NPP’s interests than those of the NDC. It seems both the PPP and the NPP have a similar manifesto, the only difference being the manner in which they present this manifesto to Ghanaians.

So far, evidence suggests that the NPP’s suggestions for solving the country’s problems are re-0echoed by the PPP, which leaves me wondering whether we are not just seeing a coin with two sides. From what the NPP’s Akufo-Addo has said so far, which has been re-echoed at several points by the PPP’s Nduom, I don’t see any drastic difference.

Probably, that explains why Nduom felt comfortable working in the Kufuor government. Will we, then, see the PPP as a shadow of the NPP despite Nduom’s claim to be an Nkrumahist? Probably!

Behaving like the North American cow-bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, Nduom is nurturing his PPP with the innards of the CPP and the other mushroom pro-Nkrumahist parties. It is too early to predict the outcome of this “political cannibalism”; but what he has embarked on is nothing new to us. Several parties have ever fed on others in their own political families only to end up in the political graveyard.

The upshot of the internal crisis facing the pro-Nkrumahist family is that either Nduom’s PPP grows strong to supplant them all by absorbing their main players or it also ends up being an addition to that political family. If the latter materialize4s, then, we will definitely continue to have a weak pro-Nkrumahist camp that can’t be assured of any electoral victory in the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, if Nduom’s PPP succeeds in neutralizing the other pro-Nkrumahist parties, then, it should become a force to reckon with. At that point, those in the NDC and NPP who feel secure enough to toy with the mandate given them at one time or the other will begin to look over their shoulders in a constant fear of the future.

I wish that the pro-Nkrumahist elements will see their camp’s weaknesses and work hard to resolve their petty differences to act with a strong, collective voice to win voter confidence. But considering the height to which they have driven their egoistic political ambitions, there is no indication that they will ever want to work together. Being so divided, they pose no threat to either the NDC or NPP. They are their own enemies.

We move on to the Danquah/Busia parties next…

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• Coming out soon: The Story of the Elephant, a novel

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