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14.04.2003 Feature Article

NDC is Dying ?

NDC is Dying ?
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The National Democratic Congress (NDC), the baby and disguised name-sake of the of PNDC is in disarray. The “founder” of the party, former Chairman of the PNDC and later President of the Republic, in his usual blame-somebody-else speeches, recently laid the problem of NDC political losses on the doorstep of NPP, citing political corruption.

Dr. Obed Asamoah, the Chairman of the party says “the basic problems facing the party now are indiscipline and the lack of funds”. Mr Kofi Asante, MP for Amenfi West, a prominent member of the party has effectively resigned. Many party functionaries are lamenting the confusion within their ranks. Finally, Mr. Moses Asga, former deputy Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Nabdam, has attributed the party's problems to the rift between the “founder” and the Chairman.

Meanwhile, in the background, charges of executions and sadistic torture - ordered, witnessed, or condoned by Mr. Rawlings and his “revolutionaries” - have been made at the hearings of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC). Ghanaians are reliving heart-wrenching stories of incredible atrocities committed by fellow Ghanaians in the names of the military rules of (mostly) the AFRC and the PNDC, both led by Mr. Jerry Rawlings, the claimed father of the NDC.. While Ghanaians have been waiting for apologies or explanation from Mr. Rawlings about what his henchmen and cronies did to fellow Ghanaians, this revolutionary-turned-politician would rather make a speech blaming his party's sinking fortunes on NPP, the ruling party. It is as if this man is completely oblivious to his faults or feels he is beyond reproach. Is there anyone who can tell Rawlings that his image is hurting the NDC? This, fellow Ghanaians, is the problem of the NDC.

The NDC is disintegrating because it is a party of iN-De-Cency and as Prof, Asamoah rightly noted, iNDisCipline. It is a party that brought together soldiers who had trampled on Ghana's constitution and opportunistic intellectuals, labeling themselves as liberating revolutionaries, who together intimidated, tortured, robbed, and executed their own people, making a mockery of the rule of law. Ghanaians, wise but cowardly and peace-loving that we are, stood by and cheered as these people committed the same crimes for which they had executed others.

In our hero-worshipping culture, we were all too willing to throw away our cultural and moral principles for whomever would assure us of our daily bread. Despite widespread knowledge of what the AFRC and PNDC had done to Ghanaians, many “good” people rallied around the so-called charismatic Mr. Rawlings. To date, not a single NDC leader has denounced the brutality, torture, and murders committed under the AFRC and PNDC. Instead, they take pot shots at the NRC calling it and its solemn activities politically-motivated.

Why are leaders of the NDC unable to face the truth? Because, to paraphrase the frustrated Mrs. Mike Gizo, “they have no balls!” NDC leaders continue to live IN FEAR of Jerry Rawlings. And as long as none of them stands up to declare a clear separation between the old (P)NDC and a new NDC, their party will sink as Ghanaians recover their senses from the (P)NDC era. After pummeling his first Vice-President, the late Mr. Arkaah, who had thought he could bring some decency and respectability to the civilian transformation of Mr. Rawlings, and slapping a few ministers and subordinates, Mr. Rawlings laid down a foundation for how others would relate to him as leader. Since the fall (literally) of Mr. Arkaah, most followers of Rawlings have seen their names and reputations dragged into the mud. Either he disgraced them himself or they disgraced themselves through greed and corruption.

It is claimed that Rawlings has respect for his second Vice-President and the nominated presidential candidate of NDC, Prof. John Atta Mills. The respectable professor has been unable to convince anyone of his independence and political strength since his pledge to seek advice from Rawlings following his selection as the party's candidate in 1999. He remains dwarfed by the shadow of Rawlings. The intimidating circumstances of his re-nomination this year and his feeble attempts to appear tough have not convinced many of Atta Mills' legitimacy as a leader. Here is the anointed leader of the main minority party who thinks he needs a mass demonstration in order to mobilize the people to his side. This is so out of character for the professor, it is pathetic.

My advice to those who wish the NDC well is this: Move the party away from its sordid past as the child of PNDC. Disavow the bloody history of the PNDC and wash the party's hands of the blood stains left by Mr. Rawlings and his brutal regimes. Thank Mr. Rawlings for whatever he has done for the party, but tell him that his era is OVER. He should retire from active politics and no longer speak for the party. Honor, the word “Democratic” in the party's name. The party has been incapable of conducting its affairs under democratic principles.

The founder declared his disdain for democracy and thereby set the tone for the intimidating atmosphere under which the party has conducted its activities. Grow new leadership. If the party has an ideology and a program for the development of Ghana and the protection of our culture and principles, find an untainted and honorable person to serve as leader. Until the NDC is ready to sever the umbilical cord linking it to Mr. Rawlings and the shameful PNDC, its legitimacy will always be questioned.

Ghanaians are waking up.

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