A display of colours 'Borborbor' music and an array of brand new campaign pick-ups last Saturday marked the picturesque inauguration of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), a new political party in the country founded on the centre-left political ideology.
At the grand occasion at the Arts Centre in Accra, the Patron of the party, Dr Obed Yao Asamoah, stated that the party had entered the political scene with a new way of doing things differently from the old political practices and habits.
Waxing poetic, he said, “We want a paradigm shift in the culture of Ghanaian politics, from violence to peace, from confrontation to diplomacy, from impasse to compromise, from abuse to civility.”
Dr Asamoah, a former National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), said further that the DFP would also want to see national partisan politics looked at from the point of view of problem solving, instead of slogan-mongering, decency and not disrespect, accommodation as against provocation, the sublime as opposed to “boom”, and truthfulness as against deceit.
The interim national executives of the party were also introduced at the ceremony, which attracted members of the party from all parts of the country and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
The party, which was formed immediately after the NDC congress in Koforidua last year, mainly by some former national and regional executives of the NDC, with some members from other parties, received its final certificate to operate as a full-fledged political party from the Electoral Commission (EC) last week.
Early in the morning of the inauguration day, members of the party and a 'borborbor' group went on a procession in a fleet of cars, including 15 brand new pick-ups painted in the DFP's colours, through some principal streets of Accra.
When the procession got to the Arts Centre, the main hall, as well as the space outside it, was filled to capacity. That made some reporters, as well as members of the party, to stand throughout the four-hour programme.
Dr Asamoah said the DFP was the brainchild of several strands of the Ghanaian political web, as well as persons who did not belong to any tradition and were entering politics for the first time.
“For those of us who left the NDC, we must forever remember why we left, in order not to carry with us the bad habits of the NDC.
In the NDC, freedom of thought, action and choice attracted vilification, character assassination and vulgar abuse by a trained and schooled coterie of serial callers,” he added.
“At the conference of the party, non-conformism is met with violence and the threat thereof.
In such an atmosphere, intellectualism is atrophied and machoism glorified. And so we left. We prefer freedom with danger to being in power in servitude,” he alleged.
He also urged others who had left their various political parties for other reasons to remember not to fall prey to what made them to leave to join the DFP and urged them to bear in mind that there was a whole new generation which had grown up since the military interventions of the late seventies who yearned for an avenue to express modernity in political thought and action.
Explaining the reasons behind the formation of the party, Dr Asamoah said philosophically, “Providence determines when to summon one to arms.
It is a time when the confluence of events and forces within you compel actions. The call to action comes at different times to different people. For us, the time is now, and it is better late than never.”
Presenting what could be amply described as the DFP's Ten Commandments, he said history required that the party adopted certain do's and don'ts, adding, “I propose we adopt the following commandments because though other political creeds may propound philosophies similar to ours, it is the do's and don'ts which will distinguish us from them.”
One of the commandments is, “Honour thy neighbour and, above all, thy seniors”, and he explained that members of the party must eschew tribalism, nepotism, insults and foul language, disrespect for one's colleagues and that a leader who could not respect friends and colleagues had a problem.
On double standards, Dr Asamoah said, “If it is wrong for a government official to send his children to schools abroad, it is wrong for you the person making the rule to do likewise.
If you threaten to jail your political opponents, you cannot complain if they want to do likewise, and don't put the blame for their action on the leaders of foreign countries.”
Concerning the Fifth Commandment, which talked about there being no room for corruption, he said, “If, as a head of state or a member of government, you cannot acquire state assets, your wife cannot gobble up such assets under the cloak of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or other organisation.”
He reminded the members of the DFP, especially those from the NDC, that they must expect provocation, particularly from those elements in the NDC who could not appreciate or concede “your right to form, join or leave a political party, no matter what the Constitution says, and never mind that it is their conduct that has dictated your course of action”.
The National Chairman of the DFP, Alhaji Abdul-Rahaman Issak, stated that the formation of the party was an irrevocable decision and that the members were determined to build a new and viable party which would win the 2008 elections.
“This is not to say, however, that we are averse to any alliance or collaboration with any political party. This is because politics is a game of calculation in which we may also need the support of other political parties in order to win an election,” he added. He stated that the party was determined to provide a paradigm shift in the nation's life and economic development agenda and made it clear that it would provide subsidies for farmers in the country.
The General Secretary of the DFP, Mr Abraham Kofi Asante, said the part would soon come out with its manifesto, which would spell out how it intended to govern the country, with particular emphasis on the needs of women and the youth. He stated that the party belonged to all the members and as such it was and would continue to be financed by their contributions.