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15.03.2007 Feature Article

Questions For The NPP Delegates

Whoever said that Ghana's 50th Anniversary celebration was unnecessary may have got it all wrong. Frankly, the occasion has given us the opportunity to reflect on where we are and where we are going as a Nation.

While some Ghanaians have agreed that we have made tremendous efforts in achieving our goals, by analysing the strong ambition Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and other Founding Fathers had for the Nation, then not much has been achieved. Dr.Kwame Nkrumah was not an angel, but one thing was spectacular about this son of Africa, his extreme desire to help the masses.

Do we have another Kwame Nkrumah in the NPP, NDC, CPP, and PNC etc? It's really a tough question and this should give the chance to the NPP Delegates who will be privileged to elect a person whose extraordinary vision will re-shape this country. Today the Malaysians are manufacturing cars, using palm oil (a palm plantation techniques, according to history, they studied in Ghana) to fuel some of their vehicles and their superb development in IT.

And as the NPP Presidential race hoots up, there are supporters and sympathisers of other candidates strenuously trying to outweigh the other camp with various questions and criticisms.

In 1997, at Austrian political party primaries, a reported best candidate was rejected because he was unmarried, so the supporters of the NPP personalities vying for the Presidential race have an excuse to question the merit of other candidates.

On Alhaji Aliu Mahama, his opponents are claming that he is new in politics. What a non-starter argument. How many years does a person need to become a qualified Doctor? And over whopping 8years as a Vice to President Kufour, what experience does he need again? If that is the case, then I cannot fathom how many more years you need to gain experience. He has managed the country well in the absence of the President on many occasions .In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard came from nowhere but today he is being lauded as transforming the economy of Australia.

Again, the argument that how many votes Alhaji Aliu Mahama got for the NPP from the North is seriously below the belt. In doing this, the proponents of this argument should have considered past election results where the PFP or the NPP from 1992 chose a Northerner as it's running mate and the facts are there for all to see. The NPP, in recent years, has not performed well in the Northern part of the country and to put the blame solely on the Vice President is to the best of my thinking very unfortunate. The problem is not that of Alhaji Aliu's Mahama and shouldn't be singled out as unable to pull voters from the North. After the 20years of Mr. Jerry Rawlings dominance and influence, it will take a well-packaged strategy to entice our friends from the North and this is what the NPP strategists should concentrate on.

The overwhelming question is how does the NPP woo more voters from the Northern and Volta part of the country? The answers are not far fetched. The party top men should refer to the Regan Revolution in winning elections and apply the tactics to the problems the NPP has with our beloved friends from the North and Volta.

The other negatives thing they are labelling on Alhaji Aliu is that he lacks charisma and will be very tough for him to pull voters along. The problem with these people is that they are not abreast with modern political strategy .I will not mince words, almost all the candidates posses some charisma.

For me, I have repeatedly said that if all Ministers, DCEs and Constituency Officials are doing their work and the systems are functioning well, it will not take too much effort to win general elections. It irks to see that some Party MPs, and DCEs relax by distancing themselves from the people and when elections approach, they rush to communicate to the electorate.

On Nana Akuffo Addo, his critics are loud by branding him as arrogant and always show signs of vindictiveness. It pains me so much that in Ghana we have allowed perceptions to be deep rooted in our thinking. Asked those people to cite instances where Nana Akuffo Addo had demonstrated vindictive posture and they come up with absolutely nothing.

Since Nana Addo became a Minister has he ever dragged any individual to court unlawfully and has he turned over a taxi on the road? I sincerely believe that Nana Addo should be judged on his ability to put together a winning team that will be able to transform this country to another appreciable level and not to attack this gentleman unnecessarily.

About Mr. Dan Botwe, his critics say that he is too young for the job and also lacks experience. It is really irritating, when this dynamic person, as a General Secretary of the NPP, was credited with steering the party to successful elections is now being condemned as lacking experience. He has been hailed as a good political strategist, which clearly is an ingredient for a successful leader. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair was 43 years old when he became Prime Minister, as Lord Liverpool was in1812.

In America, the Democrats, has a young presidential candidate in the person of Senator Barrack Obama who is being touted as potentially the first black US president. The zeal with which Tony Blair at the age of 43 was able to change his Labour party is admirable, so Dan Botwe's age is irrelevant. What matters so much for Mr. Dan Botwe, is when he is given the nod be able to assemble a Team Of Ministers who will resolved to push Ghana forward.

On Hon. Osafo Marfo, not much has been said about him except the unresolved question of 'Why were you relived of your Ministerial Post'? The honourable Minister from Akim Oda is really a master achiever. I am amazed about the desire of this man to press for results. . His pragmatism and ability to change situations is really admirable. His quick thinking and his ability to adopt global strategies are commendable. His close friends proclaim that the former Minister 'sleep and eat Ghana'. Admittedly, he is a fantastic gentleman who has always shown signs of doing something different for the country.

Many questions have equally been asked about the credentials of Messrs; Addo Kufour, Alan Kyerematen, Hackman Owusu Agyeman, Professor Frempong Boateng etc

Having partially finished the celebration of our country 50th Anniversary, the talk that will be on the lips of many followers of the NPP will be who among the various personalities should be given the Presidential nod.

When on the 6th March 2007 a group of youths met in London and various speeches of the Dr.Kwame Nkrumah and others were examined, there was absolute silence and tears started to flow among some. It was unequivocally resolved that, Ghana needs to move in a different direction.

It is evident that the NPP needs to have a leader who will be able to establish a strong link between Government, Ministers, MPs, DCEs, the Party and the people. On many occasions, one has been made to feel that some DCEs are distancing themselves from Central Government by the way they work. I have always maintained that if DCEs perform at the pace of Global thinking, then not much would be demanded from the President or Ministers .We need DCEs who will do things differently and be good strategists. Since DCEs are so close to the ordinary people, they are in the best position to know the problems confronting our people in the local area. Unfortunately, however, many DCEs have abandoned the party by not defending the party in their local areas. Some have failed to use the various FM Stations in their District to communicate more to the people and to explain government decisions and policies. That unfortunate missing link is what occasionally causes problems for the Government

It is based on having a strong marriage between government and DCEs that I urge the supporters of the NPP to forget all criticism being levelled on the various Presidential hopefuls and rather focuses on the Person who will be able to give a new direction and impetus to DCEs. For, I strongly believe matching forward with our development hinges on those noble wo/men that are manning our district offices. When they are focusing on how to give potable water to our people, monitoring the educational progress of the children in the District, policing the district against criminals, strong emphasis on sanitation, a continuous dialogue with the people, an ambitious policies on IT in the district etc, then there will be no need to be discussing the merit of having charismatic leader or leader from the North, or South.

Ghanaians are yearning for a little relief from deprivation, most especially in the rural areas and the NPP should cease this opportunity to have a Team Of Ministers who from 2009 will reinforce the foundation laid by President Kufour and bring about a tremendous change in the lives of our people.
In conclusion, I will advice the NPP family to desist from unnecessary attack on other Candidates and as Mr. Dan Botwe said recently in an interview at Cape Coast, the paramount thing to discuss is who among the various personalities will be able to serve the Nation and the Party well.

I salute all Ghanaians on the occasion of our 50th Birthday.

MARTIN KWANING
MARTIN KWANING, © 2007

This author has authored 34 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MARTINKWANING

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