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11.06.2020 Feature Article

Devil In The Detail

Devil In The Detail
11.06.2020 LISTEN

“If the powers that be in the NPP knew they were going to liberally distribute 65 free seats among their acquaintances, political favorites, family members and townsfolk as if they were serving champagne among friends at a local bar, why would they encourage filling of nominations and campaign activity in those same safe seats at all?”

I would be famously devastated, inherently crushed, and coherently broken were I to suffer a last minute disqualification from a major parliamentary contest for any reason at the eleventh hour! It is outrageous to spring such an avalanche of surprise on anyone for any justifiable reason!

And curses being the just arbiter for the oppressed among the living ─ the Appeal Court for the broken-hearted and the defender of the weak against the vices of the strong ─ I would not be petrified if anyone so mischievously disqualified sought the aid of a curse to dethrone the mighty and punish the incorrigible, to load their heads with sacks of many violations, and visit them with fear and invalidity, if that would alleviate the pain.

Politics being what it is ─ full of tricks and what some people call the “dark arts,” those who must eat by its fruits must be ready to suffer inglorious heartbreaks, navigate the labyrinths of impropriety and incorrigibility, endure unorthodox political scheming and manipulations, surmount various forms of deliberate restrictions, survive and overcome strange, horrible parochial decisions in order to qualify for a piece of political bread.

It came therefore as no surprise to me when angry supporters of the party rained curses and innuendos on the “big men” who sit in cozy boardrooms in Accra to legislate egregious decisions that trigger contentions and accelerate consternation in the party.

The party’s decision to declare 65 seats beyond internal contest is among the worst democratic illogicalities you would see anywhere. If the “powers that be” knew they were going to liberally distribute 65 free seats among their acquaintances, political favorites, family members and townsfolk as if they were serving champagne among friends at a local bar, why would they encourage filling of nominations and campaign activity in those same safe seats at all?”

It is heartless for these party sages to watch candidates traverse the length and breadth of their constituency pouring precious money and resources down the drain for many months only to ambush them with this avalanche of surprise at the eleventh hour.

And yet, the reasons provided by the party for the unwholesome disqualifications are chiefly contradictory and irregular. Ghana is not the only country where MPs have to test their popularity and effectiveness with their constituents every now and then to deepen the local bonds between the MP and his constituents and retain parliamentary accountability. How else would an MP test his popularity among his constituents?

Unpopular endorsement by party executives like the one in question is no other than an expression of fear, fear that the incumbents could be whipped by new boiling blood to the nauseous embarrassment of party bigwigs.

The other excuse ─ gender balance ─ is another ominous frivolity. How many NPP women are in Parliament overall? Why save some, and abandon the rest to the hungry appetite of wolves in the thicket? Is gender balance applicable only to women powerfully connected and networked to the fountain of power? I do not intend to personalize the matter, lest I would conjure a few other apparitions of the female specie who require not just protection, but encouragement and support (perhaps more than the Majority Leader) who apparently needs protection from the rousing stinging bees.

Denying constituency competition is an affront to competitive democracy, and a no-contest is akin to robbing party members of their right to choose their own representatives. Our political parties cannot pick and choose what they consider favorable about democratic governance and yet repress accountability to the people. Does the NPP remember 2008 at all?

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