Analysis:The NDC Congress in Kumasi – By Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor
The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

Folks, a lot of water has already passed under the bridge regarding what the NDC is to do in Kumasi on Saturday, December 20. Some “old faces” are bent on either retaining their status as party gurus or resurfacing as trustworthy custodians of the party’s values. Need I categorize them any further?

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The Congress will take place at a critical time in the history of the party, situated within the context of the huge problems facing the government. Never has the party been pushed to the wall as is the situation now. Although the government is doing its best, that best seems to be the enemy of the good that the citizens don’t see happening!! That is why this Kumasi Congress is expected to yield results to prove that the party is still formidable and can remain the hinge for governance.

Of all, the two most important positions on the line are that of the National Chairman and the National Organizer. Much is known about the contestants for these positions, especially how the incumbent Dr. Kwabena Adjei (National Chairman) and Johnson Asiedu-Nketia (General Secretary) are being pushed to the wall.

There are indications that General Mosquito (Asiedu-Nketia) may be retained; that is, if the under-currents hold any sway. He has played his part to move the party forward up to this point; but it appears that he is losing grips and may be told so.

Asiedu-Nketia is well known for tenacity, taking on the opposition NPP at will. He is also known for some controversies that haven’t helped the party. Yet still, he will be remembered for utterances that created room for immediate optimism but that were not followed through. One is his announcement that the party had chosen not to expand the Electoral College but to institutionalize a “universal membership suffrage” so the flagbearer of the party can be chosen directly at elections in the various constituencies.

In an opinion piece, I said that the ‘firm decision’ made by its National Executive Committee (NEC) ‘to work towards scrapping the Electoral College completely and implementing a universal membership suffrage’ for choosing the flagbearer of the party is the kingpin; heart-warming. That announcement remains a mere announcement.

Praising the NPP’s adoption of the constituency-based suffrage for the election of national officers, Asiedu-Nketia created the impression that the NDC could do better. However, the piecemeal approach adopted by the party for this round of choosing national electives hasn’t turned out to be the best. It only exposes weaknesses in the party’s strategies for sustaining itself. Asiedu-Nketia has a lot to worry about.

Kofi Adams may have his own credibility problems, but he seems to be making inroads into Boateng-Gyan’s sway for the position of National Organizer. Boateng-Gyan is scared stiff and will be voted down as a complete wash-out.

The incumbent National Chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei is an “old face” who has been on the scene all these years under the Rawlings phenomenon. I met him when he was the Deputy Secretary for Agriculture under Commodore Steve Obimpe in the mid or late-1980s. By whatever designs or strictures of destiny there were, he rose through the ranks to make his presence felt in public office, becoming the MP for Biakoye (the favourite seat for Dr. Obed Asamoah.

Need I talk about the rumpus that Dr. Adjei’s rise to power in that constituency created, which would eventually catalyze Dr. Asamoah’s impetuous decision to break ranks with the NDC only to return to it when the pond dried up around him? The youth of Biakoye quickly realized that there was something fishy going on and derided Dr. Asamoah for “numbing” them, providing them with excessive palm wine to stultify their reasoning powers on the basis of political expediency).  Then, Dr. Adjei cashed in and slid into the very fibre of the NDC as its National Chairman, managing to survive the whirligig for many years until now that the tide turned against him.

He has a lot to contend with as far as asserting his influence at this time is concerned. How about happenings in the NDC that didn’t redound well to his tenure? Take the rumpus over the Rawlingses and his dormancy, for instance. Under the late President Mills, he was nowhere to be seen as a problem solver. He vanished when most needed to give the party the direction that it needed to toe. He was even in the news as being threatened with eviction for being unable to pay rent for his Cantonments residence and had to be bailed out by a philanthropist. Such a person can’t be given the task of building the NDC. He has outlived his usefulness. He is even too old to be entrusted with the responsibilities of a battle-field commander.

Not only that liability. He has proved to be really dormant and mindless of goings-on as far as contemporary politics is concerned. He is good only as an arm-chair party Chairman, which isn’t ideal for the NDC in trying times. And the times are really trying!

We have heard his cries and complaints but think that he is wasting his time and energy to be given what he doesn’t deserve. As reported, he seems to be targeting people poised to dislodge him. (See  Crying wolf for nothing?

In sum, he is saying that those seeking to dislodge him are undesirables to be pooh-poohed. But he is wrong for many reasons. First, he is an old, spent horse on whom no sensible person seeking the future viability of the NDC will bet. He hasn’t proved to be a serious party Chairman capable of acting proactively to solve problems. Even when the party was “burning”, he vanished into thin air. Who will go for him, then? None!! All his complaints will end up forcing the party’s delegates to seal his doom instead.

So much for Kwabena Adjei; how about Dan Abodakpi? Nothing for me to praise him on, especially considering the heavy baggage that he is carrying: an ex-convict. Forget about his being pardoned by Kufuor. He cannot clean his own slate. The problems that we have with the Judiciary today can be traced to what he and the late Selormey and the elusive “Dr. Boadu” did with Ghana’s money in the “huhudious” court computerization project. His becoming an Ambassador won’t wash him clean of that stigma in any way.

Let me admit here that Dan Abodakpi has the “revolutionary fervour” that the Rawlings movement entails. He is known for powerful rhetoric skills that the cadres admire. He is a mobilizer, dating back to his role in the activities of the Cadres in Tema when Rawlings launched June 4 and December 31, which has sustained his political career to date. But beyond that rhetoric lies nothing. Seeking to become the National Chairman of the NDC may advance that cause for whatever it means to him but not for the generality. No more.

From the flanks, we see Alhaji Huudu Yahaya too. An erudite and self-composed politician, he has also played many parts in sustaining the PNDC and the NDC. He was once the General Secretary of the party, taking over from the late Vincent Assise. Huudu is affable and very intelligent; but he seems to have outlived his usefulness too, given the changed times in which we are today. What new things does he hope to bring to the table?

Kofi Portuphy is well known as a mobilizer, having worked tirelessly at the National Mobilization Programme, the NADMO, and within the ranks of the NDC. He seems better poised to lead the party. Will the delegates give him the nod? At least, he doesn’t seem to have as many cobwebs in his political cupboard as the other contestants, except Huudu Yahaya.

In truth, it must be said at this juncture that the race for the chairmanship of the NDC is clear cut, and those who will determine the fate of the contestants have already made up their minds. No amount of intimidation, insinuations, or anything else will change the equation. Some may be thinking of a Rawlings factor in the matter and expecting the outcome to determine the future direction of the party. It is moot that Rawlings has accepted his fate, having been neutralized and no more upheld as the indefatigable “Father-and-Founder” of the NDC, which is why he hasn’t been so strident in whatever he does in connection with the party. Will any of the contestants now be seeking to re-ignite that fire?

Obviously, the future viability of the party will depend more on what the young ones do now than what their old mentors did in the past or may want to do now. As all roads lead to Kumasi on Saturday, we will continue monitoring the situation. But for now, let it be said loudly and clearly that the spent horses still wobbling and hobbling had better see the light to shape up. Times have changed and they must adjust as well.

I shall return…

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