It is really nothing new. I am talking about this cautionary note to all ministerial and/or cabinet appointees who have an eye towards gunning for the Presidential Nomination of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the leadup to the 2024 General Election, to desist from overtly launching a premature congressional electioneering campaign for the same. We are told that this most auspicious and opportune edict was passed on to Mr. John Boadu, General-Secretary of the party, from the Presidency. Which is all well and good, if also because it falls perfectly in line with precedent. You see, I vividly recall that shortly after the then-President John Agyekum-Kufuor won reelection in 2005, issuing an edict warning his appointees that there was a lot of the people's business to studiously attend to for any presidentially ambitious cabinet and executive appointees in his government to prematurely start jockeying for the 2008 Presidential Nomination of the New Patriotic Party (See “Ministers Receive Sack Notice Over Flagbearer Campaign” The New Publisher / Ghanaweb.com 4/14/21).
This, of course, does not mean that party strategists have to mothball the roadmap for the party until January 2024, as someone suggested the party's Constitution stipulates. That will be inadvisably much too late. At least, for now, we can begin to work the kinks out of the politically regressive procedurally reverse Electoral College or Delegates' System that may very well have massively contributed to the present Hung Parliament, which has unsavorily made it easier for a relatively unprogressive political party like the main opposition National Democratic Congress to acquire far more clout and exert far more policy-shaping influence than it ordinarily ought to, if Ghana is to steadily and assuredly move a notch up our national development ladder. It is ironic but this savvy game plan was all the more logically to be expected of a politically desperate leadership of the latter political party and its junta antecedent, the erstwhile Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), that has done more to stall and deform the progressive and inevitable modernization of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana than any major political establishment in the country.
Going into Election 2024, if the leadership of the ruling New Patriotic Party is really serious about breaking the 8-year alternating electoral tenure of both major political parties, then the NPP leaders have absolutely no other choice or alternative but to borrow a page from the otherwise morally stultifying playbook of the National Democratic Congress, in particular the latter party's laudably progressive and healthily “revolutionary” decision to allow every registered up-to-date dues-paying member of the National Democratic Congress to cast their ballot in the party's parliamentary primaries. The advantage of this unfettered democratization of the parliamentary primary is that it strongly positions the party to replicate the same results in the nationwide General Election as was registered at the parliamentary primary level. It also builds staunch party cohesion and loyalty. This is one significant procedural area that the leadership of the New Patriotic Party ought to have made yet another unprecedented historical milestone.
Alas, that was scandalously not to be. Well, you know, Dear Reader, you cannot beat the competition all the time. Most of the time, maybe. We also need to move away from the sterilely Eurocentric elitist demand for a college degree as the minimum qualification for contesting parliamentary elections. It is not the requisite norm in even the most literate and advanced of constitutional democracies around the globe. What matters most here is electability, respectability and demonstrable knowledge of the needs and aspirations of the electors or the voters, and a proven capacity and capability of meeting or fulfilling the same, based on the prospective candidate's tried and tested track-record of having achieved the relative equivalent of the same in other capacities. This means that significant experience in local politics, such as at the level of the District Assemblies, but not limited to the latter, will be a must.
Academic and professional qualifications must be clearly seen to be organically and functionally relevant to the needs and aspirations of the people, not merely for their own sake. This is the one area where the leadership of the New Patriotic Party has been envisaged to be woefully wanting and needs to promptly and radically change and upgrade their strategic know-how and skills. So, yes, we can still positively and smartly desist from jumping the gun, where individual leadership ambitions are concerned, and still be well focused and well prepared to put the New Patriotic Party in the shape and strategic poise where it needs to be in order to win the 2024 General Election with absolutely no great difficulty whatsoever. You see, it is all a question of good, progressive and responsive and responsible governance, studiously and practically focused, and the steely determination not to be sidetracked from our collective national development agenda.
*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
May 5, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]