Like all human institutions, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has in recent times been rocked by numerous internal challenges and which issues seemed to disintegrate its front as Ghana’s largest opposition group and a government awaiting its due time. Indeed well before, during and after its Tamale Delegates Conference, myriads of internal bickering, disagreements and disharmony had raised their ugly heads within the elephant’s fraternity and among the party’s rank and file particularly at the upper rungs.
Apparently, it appeared its central coordination had broken down torn apart and the party was at its wits end and at the mercy of just everybody. Ironically, this is a foremost political organization with an entrenched belief in the rule of law, due process, and constitutionalism within our political landscape.
Things were falling apart and the center is unable to hold! Without any ambiguity, the strength and boisterousness of the party has been and is yet in the tenets, values as well as the inherent principles of its constitution which underpins our collective interests within the multi-party arrangement. Indeed, our foremost duty as a people and a political party worth its sort, is to ensure without compromise its functionality and effective workability. Its processes must be vivid and unambiguous. Our obsession must therefore be to enforce and ensure adherence to the letter.
Political administration and organization
Per its own rules and regulations as stipulated through the party’s constitution, mechanisms have been put in place to enable it deal with issues of disharmony before such issues dismember its front. Today, rather than seeking resolution through the duly laid down party structure in conflict management and resolution, disgruntled members have resorted to the media to solve or express their discontentment on various matters which they found distasteful. (Article 4 – Discipline and Grievance procedure holds the big key to this seemingly stubborn door)
Contemporarily, the expansive social media as well as the traditional media have become easy media to seek redress by many a party folk (young or old). The rampaging conduct on the several parts of the party’s folk is not only unacceptable but also heart-rending especially given the already tragic political history and circumstances of the party. Apparently, it appears that we have all lost institutional memory of the trials and worse tribulations including sacrifices which were made by not only the forbears of the party but also subsequent stewards of the party coming through as the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), Ghana Congress, Party (GCP), the United Party (UP), the progress party (PP) and the NPP now.
Indeed, former national party Chairman, Mr. Peter Mac Manu in address read on the occasion of the 15th anniversary celebration in recounting our roots has this to say inter alia:’’ in the present atmosphere of freedom, peace and tranquility prevailing in the country, it is easy to forget or to take for granted, the trials and tribulations through which the party passed to get to where it is today.
It is easy to forget that there was a period only a few years ago when to publicly acknowledge your membership or support of the NPP was to court physical assault or, in many tragic cases death. Those were the dark days of Ghana politics when physical beatings, disappearances and murders of opponents of the regime were common.’’ Admittedly, the foregone, indicates that our party had witnessed needlessly enough pain which required that we foster internal cohesion inspite of our disagreements and concerns. The party’s stock of human capital must be summoned to help resolve amicably all perceived bones of contention and simmering conflicts festering across the party so that the administrative and political organization of the party is not thrown into disarray or disequilibrium.
Am excited the National council has taken up the challenge to meet this coming Friday to attempt finding solution to his unfortunate issues emerging. We cannot afford to forget or play the ostrich in recognizing the agony and pain some have suffered to bring us thus far and thereby act in recklessness without recourse to lay down procedure(s).
Procedural matters must be non-negotiable in helping construct a formidable political institution such as the NPP, the party as an institution must be allowed to have rather than the individual actors, an overarching stake in dealing with all potential destabilizing issues without any let or hindrance(s) .To borrow the popular phraseology, ‘there mustn’t be any ifs and buts’’ down the memory lane we have to be somehow mindful that our membership have suffered in many ways too-some have perished-for their associating with, or in the course of serving the party.
Indicatively, Mr. Peter Amoah as noted by Chairman Peter Mac Manu’s 15th anniversary address from the Juabeso-Bia constituency, died at the Koforidua hospital after lying in same hospital bed for about five years in apparent service to this party. Again in1996, a track driver ran his truck into jubilating NPP Supporters who were on the way to meet then Mr. J.A. Kufour. In that incident, four people died on the spot and many of the injured are permanently maimed (Mr. Peter Mac Manu). Further, there were bombings at the Ring-way Hotel (Our flagbearer’s father’s facility) where meetings of the party members sometimes took place. And at Bawku in the Upper East region, our late former National 1st Vice Chairperson and Minister, Madam Hawa Yakubu of blessed memory, narrowly escaped death from gunshots when she was fired at, and her house and vehicles were burnt to ashes (Peter Mac Manu).
Finally, members of TESCON, sent to be polling agents in the Volta and Northern regions were severely beaten and many had to walk through the bush to escape to Accra and Kumasi respectively-Peter Mac Manu. Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah who gave the policy statement of our party died as a “common criminal” in his quest for protecting the sanctity of our tradition, Our current General Secretary’s father died cruelly in defense of a just course, the Constituency Youth Organizer of Biakoye had his leg amputated in the service of his party, the Asanti Akyem North Youth Organizer-Perkins had an accident and died sadly on his way attending Ashanti regional youth meeting in Kumasi, so sad recently is an acid-bathed that our Upper East regional chairman-Adams suffered in his attempt of reconciling his party in the region and countless of them.
The list of casualties and as well as fatalities of party members in the service of the party is inexhaustible and horrendous. Indeed these narratives, a retrospective incursion, goes to buttress the stand-point or view that, this party had had to endure many trepidations and we must not beading insults to our multiple injuries and scars of humiliation. Across other jurisdictions, political parties and organizations had gone through transitional eras of internal dislocations and acrimony; yet, consummate steps were taken to ease up those risen tensions. I will give some examples in my next statement.Our resolve to restore sanity and orderliness must be swift and guided by our own constitutional arrangements.
Discipline and appropriate behavior
There is so much apprehension albeit what seem to be a degeneration of conduct, decorum and civil behavior within the party where a free-for all attitudes has assumed alarming dimensions. Disrespect to party hierarchy and authority has accentuated rather dishearteningly. This penchant to disobey and run counter to officially sanctioned behavior has also bedeviled the party over the periods.
Instructively, the former General Secretary of the party and now the party’s Member of Parliament for Okere in the Eastern region and the Minority Chief Whip,Hon. Dan Kwaku Botwe at a 2004 National Delegates Conference held at Kumasi in the Ashanti region also lamented and raised similar concerns on issues which bothered on party loyalty, discipline and appropriate conduct and behavior.
The excerpt is reproduced: Mr. Chairman, the fact that we won the 2000 elections does not mean that we did everything right. There are many injunctions in our constitution, which we did not follow as expected. It is important that we as a party remind ourselves that this tradition has survived because of our belief in constitutionalism. It is my wish that we remind ourselves of what our constitution expects of a member of the party.
In Article 3D under the heading ‘ duties of a member, our constitution states: ‘a member shall protect and promote the good name of the party, protect the unity of the party and be loyal and truthful to the party, abide and publicly uphold the decisions of the party, carry out his/her duties faithfully, and honestly to the best of his or her ability; participate fully in the activities of the party and ensure that the local organs of the party work effectively and are accountable; pay dues as well as give donations for special programmes and activities as may be decided from time to time by the party; not initiate or commence any legal proceedings against the party without first having exhausted the grievances procedure laid down in the party’s constitution. For the avoidance of doubt, no member shall commence any legal proceeding against the party for any reason whatsoever unless whatever grievances the member may have against the party has been put before the party for investigation and decision’’ .
Honorable Dan Botwe asserted further: ‘disciplined behavior is the cornerstone of every successful organization. Party discipline ensures stability, cohesion and unity. Unfortunately, this year in particular has witnessed some indiscipline
Behavior among our ranks especially during the parliamentary primaries.’’
Around this time, the foregone observations by the Our former Chief Scribe-General has taken a new turn with much more devastation and negative ramifications which obviously tended to dent the image of the party. There is therefore the logical need for all party folk(s) to help imbibe and maintain a positive image of the party via their utterances, attitude and general conduct.
We must not allow unbridled selfish ambition and conducts to dominate our goal. Indeed, building and strengthening of our relationships at the national, regional, constituency as well as polling station levels is crucial for our collective interest and party growth and development.
Disciplined worked in Talensi because the leadership were determined to stop at nothing to make sure we won. Unsuccessful though, it was very commendable the way the operational fixed up was set in motion. Structures, zones, consultations, were all made and put in place with ease as the leaders were firm and the officers and members gave them the support. We need discipline to have a formidable party to win the 2016 general elections.
At this juncture, the rancor, acrimony and finger-pointing must cease forthwith and the olive branch be extended even to the renegade(s).The party cannot afford to rest on its oars in vain and irreverent infighting and hatred and expect a sudden flight to political power. Our efforts must not be dissipated on vain and frivolous machinations against one and another. Our collectivity is our strength.
The content of the concluding part of the open letter to N.P.P. Members and Supporters, New Patriotic Party. Thoughts on the way forward. By J.O OBETSEBI-LAMPTEY, Former National Chairman reminded us once again the fact that, “as a Party, we are in a period of self-examination ; let us do this with more light and less heat, accentuating our many positives. Ghana needs us to return to the “Golden age”. Let’s not fail our people. Let’s look at the big picture. - What we can do for Ghana and Ghana’s place in the world. Let us stop unnecessary quarrels that will dispirit our Party. Its Supporters and Ghanaian people.
I will at this juncture call on our most revered unit-the National Council of Elders to use its constitutional mandate very judiciously in finding a solution that will help promote our course as a party. That in my view will unite all of us for victory 2016.
” I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs ‘be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die” Nelson Madibo Mandela. This is an ideal that our forbearers stood, died for and we cannot disappoint them as we are on the verge of throwing this tried and tested values and political guiding principles to the dogs. Let’s take solace in this and live up to expectation. Ghanaians need the Elephant’s redemption song as it heads to town. The Africa Young Conservative Dialogue, Ghana (The Dialogue) believes that as ardent adherents of centre-right ideals, due process becomes the sine qua non in our internal discourse. “The question of the day cannot be solved by blood and iron but by speech and resolution “Auto Von Bismarck.
Let’s take exception to anarchism!!!
Kukrudu. Eshie Rado Rado.
Source: Emmanuel Attafuah-Danso
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