Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, I feel very sorry for the newly-elected chairman of the NDC – the chain-smoker, Kwabena Agyei, and the members of the party's new executive. I can't imagine how it feels but I will not like to be in his shoes. I suppose it should be very difficult to assume office (any office) and be hit with a crisis as serious as the one which now confronts the NDC. Party members are resigning in droves in protest against anything ranging from intimidation and harassment to the “hijacking” of the party by its founder. Those who have not yet resigned are either too fanatic and loyal to the party founder or are simply too afraid to even open their mouths lest stone-age barbarity is visited upon them.
I really feel sorry for Kwabena Agyei. He has this bad habit of smoking like a chimney and the stress of managing the crisis in the NDC might make the habit even worse. This could in turn affect his health – and if he doesn't take care he will fall dead (Tufiakwa!) just trying to revive a dying party. The situation is that serious. That's why I have decided to offer a few words of advice to Dr. Adjei.
I have often said that any crisis in the NDC is a democratic crisis for our country. It is the largest opposition party in Sikaman. It has not been doing the opposition job as well as it should or could have. But we should be thankful that we have the NDC. Our country needs a strong opposition. And since the NDC is the only real (though weak) opposition party in the country, I will encourage Dr. Adjei to do all he can to make sure that the NDC is as strong, democratic and vibrant as any political party with an appetite for power should be. This will be a very difficult task. But I know it can be done.
The first step is to stem the tide of resignations in the party. It started with the national women's organizer, Francess who had the living daylights beaten out of her at the party's recent congress after she had called the bluff of Jerry Boom (the owner, board chairman and life-long chief executive of the party). The message of Francess' assailants was that “you dare not challenge the party's owner”. Francess wouldn't take the nonsense any longer and she decided to quit. She says she's now going to concentrate on studying for a PhD. Good for her. Shortly after Francess' resignation, the party's former vice chairman and chief legal advisor, Kweku B (his grasscutter-like moustache quivering in consternation) also decided that he couldn't tolerate the “terrorism” of Jerry Boom anymore. So he gave notice (through a radio interview) that he is no longer a member of the party. Then followed the expected resignation of the Dr. Adjei's predecessor, Efo Obed and other leading party members in different parts of the country. I hear that more people are planning to resign in the coming weeks. Being in opposition, the NDC cannot afford to be losing its members like that. Trust me, I know how difficult it is for opposition parties to gain support. In our country, all opposition parties are broke. Since people don't like to deal with anything that is “broke” they shy away from opposition parties and easily gravitate towards the governing party. That's why it is very bad for the NDC to be losing so many members. The party's new chairman should do everything in his power to make sure that all disgruntled elements within the party are appeased and discouraged from resigning. He could start with a public apology. He might have rendered an apology of sorts on a radio station. But that's not enough. He should organize a press conference to say “sorry” to all those who have been offended. Then if possible, he should call each one of them and offer a private apology as well. If I were Dr. Adjei, I will get my bottom out of Accra and travel to each constituency and urge members to stay, with promises of an unflinching commitment to renewal and tolerance within the party.
After stemming the tide of resignation, I expect Dr. Adjei to, at least, try to achieve an impossible feat – pushing Jerry Boom to the background. Jerry Boom is the number one threat to the survival of the NDC. I have said it before and I will say it again. Jerry Boom ought to shut up and stay out of the affairs of the NDC. Being the control freak that he is, he won't let go of his “baby” without a fight. I know Kwabena Adjei is a fighter and he can deal with Jerry Boom if he wants. Mr. Adjei is a psychologist. He should use all his psychological “tricks” to subdue Jerry Boom and make him realize that he cannot do with the party as he pleases. I know this is a tall order. Obed tried it and he was forced to flee to protect his dear life. If Dr. Adjei doesn't use tact and cunning he might be even more frustrated than Obed was.
If Jerry Boom refuses to budge and continues to exert unwanted control over the party, the best thing for the likes of Dr. Adjei to do will be to follow Francess' lead – quit. Perhaps, our democracy will be better off with a dead (or weakened) NDC, out of which emerges a stronger, more vibrant and democratic party, whose members will not be obliged to kowtow to the whims and caprices of an aged infant like Jerry Boom.
J. A. Fukuor Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.