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27.08.2004 Feature Article

Letter From The President: Priamaries ‘Wahala’

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Countrymen and women, bootlicking-loyalists and backstabbing opponents, I have been keenly following with a mixture of amusement and delight recent events in my party. I am talking specifically about the parliamentary primaries, which have seen certain 'heavyweights' lose the right to vie for a seat in the Sikaman legislature. Many have asked me why I am not bothered about the hullabaloo. I told them that I don't care. Yes. I don't care at all who contests to become an MP where. For now, my heart is very gladdened with the belief that the people of Sikaman will vote and vote massively for me in December. I am very much aware that a similar primaries 'wahala' contributed to the defeat of the Not-so Democratic Congress in 2000. But I have a strong, unshakeable belief that what caused Tata Mills' downfall can help me stand stronger. That's one of my remarkable features – I love to embrace what my opponents fear to touch with a thousand feet pole.

This struggle by so many people to contest for a parliamentary seat, resulting in the defeat of certain incumbents, tells me that more and more people are turning to the dirty game of politics. More people are realizing that politics is one of the best 'business' ventures in Sikaman today. They know that the only way for them to get car loans on which they can easily default is to be elected to parliament. People have realized that in Sikaman these days, you can be a visa racketeer, operating from the premises of the State House, and still be revered as an 'Honourable'. This, to my mind, is an indication of increased political awareness and we should encourage it because it shows that people are learning about the privileges of being a politician. That's where it should end, though. I want you, my downtrodden citizens, to carefully look at the motive behind each candidate's bid and vote wisely. Vote out those who promise to provide you with roads, KVIPs, streetlights, potable water etc. I am the only one constitutionally mandated to make such promises, even though fulfillment is not always guaranteed. You have to teach these politicians that the privileges of politics come with responsibilities, which they have so far failed to deliver on. I believe that the decision to vote against some sitting MPs at the constituency level is an indication that my citizens are “learning sense” and they have already started separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Some of the incumbent MPs who have lost the primaries, and the right to contest for parliament on my party's ticket, have decided to go ahead and contest the parliamentary elections as independent candidates. This has annoyed the leaders of my party. But I am not annoyed at all – in fact, I am overjoyed. I have told the likes of Dan B and Lord C to 'mellow' and allow the incumbent MPs to do as they wish.

My party leaders are angry because if a person who claims to belong to my party contests as an independent candidate, votes will be split enabling someone from under the umbrella, or even the coconut tree, to sneak into the legislature. Furthermore, they say, people might tend to vote “skirt and blouse” – i.e. vote for me in the presidential elections and vote for someone from a different party in the parliamentary race. My party therefore is contemplating sanctions (including expulsion) against any member who decides to go to parliament on his own ticket. Well, I think the measures being contemplated by my party are a bit heavy-handed and a wee nonsensical.

First, I don't mind people voting “skirt and blouse”, as long as I am assured that I am either the skirt or the blouse. If people decide to vote for me and vote for a different parliamentary candidate, it could mean that I will have a lot more people keeping an eye on the excellent things I do and curtailing some of my excesses. Having a president from one party and a parliament dominated by a different party will be a major step towards consolidating democratic values in this country. I must say that I enjoy the current situation in which parliament has become, well, a rubber stamp – eager to append a seal of approval on everything I do. I will love to work with a parliament which challenges my authority and questions my actions and inactions every now and then.

Second, instead of threatening to sanction those party members who desire to contest for parliament as independent candidates, I suggest that my party leaders should encourage these people to do as they wish. Come to think of it, do you think the views of the few constituency delegates (between 60 and 100) is really representative of the views of the masses whose votes really matter?

For all you know, these constituency delegates who have been given too much power to decide who contests for parliament and who does not, are engaging in stomach politics, selling their votes to the highest bidder. The highest bidder might not necessarily be the most popular candidate among the teeming party supporters at the constituency level. Therefore, let's encourage as many people as possible to contest as independent parliamentary candidates. If it turns out that these party members – who are now being perceived as wayward – contest and win as independent candidates, which I believe is probable, we could still make use of their presence in parliament. Much as I will like to have as many different parties in parliament as possible, I don't want parliament to be so one sided in favour of the opposition that MPs will even try to meddle in my travel arrangements. That much, I won't tolerate.

No Wahala for Me,

J. A. Fukuor [email protected]

J. A. Fukuor
J. A. Fukuor, © 2004

The author has 204 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: JAFukuor

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