Is this the promised re- awakening of the CPP?
A few years ago there was a lot of talk about the demise of the CPP; that it was dying a slow death and that it had become irrelevant for the country and its people.
One argument rehearsed is that, for a small nation such as Ghana a third party is a luxury that the country could ill afford. So the conclusion by those are that even though we wish for a maturing and deepening democracy, right and left thinking people should abandon their convictions and take their places in the NDC and the NPP.
But sound thinking people have had to make a robust defence of the party and to state that the CPP will win through with its policies and programmes. There are however those in the press who thought that we were merely whistling and the wind and that the people of Ghana were unlikely to take ever take any notice of the party.
Two years on things have slowly started to change and the party seems to be turning the corner in the perception of the mass of the people. A week is certainly a long time in politics and the past two years have not been exactly squandered by the party faithful as they have kept the name alive.
The change in perception as usual in politics is a combination of things that have now gained critical mass and the cumulative effect is not being manifested even in the press. The constant bickering in the press are ending, more credible candidates are emerging at the centre of the party, and there is a genuine effort to make the party more attractive to the people as an independent entity.
The usual bickering amongst the Nkrumaist front seems to be ending; there is more discipline in the party and less finger pointing and accusations about who has betrayed what. This is a good sign because it suggests that the people in the CPP have suddenly woken up to the fact that they were short-changed in the alliances that went into during previous elections. They did not benefit from votes and they were not rewarded with positions so that they could implement their policies.
There is an understanding that the party is big enough for all, as much a broad church as went it was formed nearly 60 years ago. However the aspirations and ambitions of those who led us into independence are being rekindled again there is a realisation that the original founders of the CPP, Komla Agbeli Gdedenah, Kojo Botsio, N..A. Welbeck, Kofi Baako, Krobo Edusei, Kwesi Plange Ashie Nikoi, Dzenkle Dzewu and of course Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah all came from different backgrounds with different experiences to enrich the party.
What is also becoming clearer is that though some of these original framers of the party left and joined other forces, the party did not die; the party reigned supreme because it was infused with a different set of people who came to join after the clarion call from the leaders.
These people who flocked to the party were not just veranda boys, indeed the party had the ability to ingest the best in the country, there were professionals, as well as people from different vocations, farmers, fisher folk, market women and men, messengers, traders, business people. But there were also white collar workers as well as blue collar workers and indeed some who were privileged.
What attracted them to the mass party was the ability of the leaders to articulate a clear message spelling the fact that it was time to run our own affairs and we could do better than the white men, that our destinies was bound to the destinies of other poor people in the world in Africa and the African Diaspora, the it was time to try other types of structures, use new methods to solve what then seemed intractable problems in the development of our country. So they came to give of their best talents and expertise in their different areas as Ghana became the pride of Africa and the hope of the continent.
So now if the internal squabbles of the CPP have gone away does it mean that we will perform better at the next election? This is without a doubt because for the first time in the later history of the party we are committed to going it alone and we are confident about it. But there is still a niggling problem. As the CPP prepares to go to congress it is faced by its biggest problem, how to get the electorate to realise that there is only one Nkrumaist party in the field, how does it relate to its sister parties, the PNC and the GCPP.
I would wish that we are finally able to unite all the parties and groups so that we will go into next year's election as one Nkrumaist party – I leave these to the person who will emerge as the chairman of the party. Unity with the PNC is a precondition for greater things by the parties. For one thing it will give the lie to the assertion by others that the NDC is carrying on the vision of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and finally expose to all that the NDC is a Rawlings tradition, a legacy that must not be denied him, much in the same way that the NPP is supposed to be a Danquah-Busia tradition and these tow traditions have nothing in common with the Nkrumaist legacy.
Unity now will make it possible for Nkrumaists to speak with one voice, Unity it will enable Nkrumaists and the CPP to sharpen their message to Ghanaians that the only path to true development is by voting for the parties at the local level.
The CPP will be better able to challenge some of the reactionary and half baked political philosophies that are been strewn out at the desperate 17 candidates of the NPP fight for who will manage or continue to mismanage what they hope will be left of the country after President Kufour leaves the Castle.
The West developed using their capitalist ways, the East developed using their socialist ways and the East Asian tigers used their own distinctive brand of self reliance – so why enforce on the poor people of Africa, misnomers such as property owning democracy and indigenous capitalism.
If in the modern 21st century, property owning democracy means that the mass of people still live in mud huts as my good friend Ekow continues to bemoan, then we have failed the people of Ghana because what we are telling them is that we the elite and privileged few will earn rent from their houses and they the tenants will forever serve the masters and that is not democracy.
What about indigenous capitalism, a concept that is so flawed that it cannot be described within the context of a country where capital formation is weak because of under development and the mass of small businesses engage in business as a way of life in vicious cycle of undercapitalised informal business that only fuels inflation.
So after almost seven years where we have been subjected of ill developed policies and a gross lack of vision, it is not surprising that everyone one goes in Ghana, in the towns and villages, in the urban inner cities and shack towns as well as the suburbs, everyone is saying, if only the CPP will get its act together they will be able to lead us again.
So why are the people not saying that after waiting for thirty years for the NPP to come they will rather go back to the NDC because the policies have failed?
Of course the people do not want to go back to the days of Rawlings chain that was replaced by the 'most' harshest structural adjustment policies that even the World Bank now admits were failed policies – because these were the only economics that the NDC knew, they sold the country lock stock and barrel to the international community and at the end of the period they had nothing to show for it only the debts that they had been forced to take on by the international world order.
So for me this means that there is a gaping hole in Ghanaians politics now. The people of Ghana are waiting for the party of choice, they are waiting for the mass party that will lead it into the second stages of freedom, that will ensure that after political freedom, that same party will come and fight for economic freedom before it can lead onwards to social and cultural freedom of self reliance and projection of everything African that is good.
Whether the CPP will win the next election or not depends on the choices that the leaders will make. My friends tell me that those of us who have so much faith in the party still underestimate the appeal of the party because after a turbulent 8 years of the NDC and an unremarkable 7 years of the NPP the next election is the CPP's to lose.
I do not think the feel good on the airwaves are a substitute for hard work and there is a need for a lot of hard work at the ward and constituency level, So as the NPP leads us on a long drawn out beauty contest to elect their flag bearer and the NDC flag bearer waits for the NPP to chose their flag bearer before he can chose his running mate, the CPP must be there at the grassroots pointing to why these two parties are not the best for Ghana, but more importantly the CPP should be out there telling the people of Ghana what it can do for them at the local level.
How it can ensure that no one in Ghana goes hungry because we will be able to produce our own food and not have it dumped on to us by any foreign country, that we will be able to provide good health care for all our citizens not for the few who are able to travel out of the country to attend to their health, that we will be able to provide good education for all so that we shall have the knowledge and skills to run our own industries and generate our own wealth.
So the CPP must be fashioning its message and translating it for the common man to know that unlike the other two parties we are different. But above all, the Nkrumaist parties must unite under one banner – that will send the clear message to Ghanaians that we are once again ready for government.
What is remarkable is that over the past two years the CPP has suddenly shown to all that we have the credible people to lead the party, we have the competent people to manage the country and we have the committed people to show to all in Africa that the supreme party is back and it is back for the long haul.
Ade Sawyerr is partner in Equinox Consulting, a management consultancy that provides consultancy, training and research that focuses on formulating strategies for black and ethnic minority, disadvantaged and socially excluded communities. He also comments on political, economic and social, and development issues. He can be contacted by email on [email protected] or through www.equinoxconsulting.net. He is also an active member of [email protected]