The call by the New Patriotic Party's chairman for the Kumasi-Bantama constituency for party members to end their celebration of Nana Akufo-Addo's election as the NPP presidential candidate for Election 2008 could not have come at a more opportune moment. For the very nature of presidential campaigns indicates that while, indeed, Nana Akufo-Addo has the remarkable advantage of being the nominee of the ruling party, nevertheless, traditionally speaking, particularly with reference to democratic praxis in advanced democracies – such as the United States and Britain – the NPP flagbearer is a little behind schedule
Fortunately, however, the auspicious combination of a grueling campaign and the relatively phenomenal performance of the Kufuor Administration, has half-ensured that Nana Akufo-Addo would also have the proverbial leg up on the latter's political opponents.
The need, therefore, is for the NPP to establish a formidable and voter-friendly propaganda apparatus to guarantee that the sterling achievements of the Kufuor-led NPP government poignantly reaches the people, particularly historic achievements in the realm of macroeconomic growth and development of the country that seem quite abstract, or not readily obvious to Ghanaians resident in the rural areas of the country. For instance, it would be much more effective for the NPP campaign operatives, at both the national and local levels, to appropriate the human-interest angle of successful personal narratives – such as the individual stories of actually known Ghanaian citizens who have benefited from such salutary quality-of-life facilities as ready, easy and affordable access to healthcare, business loans and education, transport and communication. The strengthening of the Cedi against the Dollar which, in effect, drastically reduced the hitherto astronomical inflationary rate bequeathed Ghanaians by the so-called National Democratic Congress also needs to be highlighted.
Interestingly while, perhaps, the most salutary achievement of the ruling New Patriotic Party is the diffusion of the terror-charged atmosphere induced by the NDC's protracted reign-of-terror and for members of the media, the Akufo-Addo-crafted Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, Ghanaians, with their characteristic short-term memory banks, are not very likely to appreciate the significance of this achievement to the development of postcolonial Ghanaian democracy.
It is for the latter reason that the summary enactment of the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) by the Nkrumah-led Convention People's Party needs to be highlighted, particularly the regressive and villainous application of the PDA in the assassination of Dr. J. B. Danquah and Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, as well as the extra-judicial imprisonment of Mr. Ako-Adjei, the very United Gold Coast Convetion (UGCC) founding member who originally introduced a largely unknown Kwame Nkrumah into the mainstream of Ghanaian politics.
Also, the still unprecedented corruption scandals that characterized the CPP regime and wrecked the otherwise robust Ghanaian economy need to be highlighted, particularly the epic scandal unearthed by the celebrated JIBOWU COMMISSION, regarding then-Prime Minister Nkrumah and his cronies' massive involvement in both the misappropriation and embezzlement of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer's money, using the convenient façade of the Cocoa Purchasing Company.
Of course, the preceding are only a select few of ideas worth considering in strategizing the NPP's political campaign agenda. We hope to further develop these highlights, as well as detail others, in due course.
Needless to say, while we unreservedly agree with Mr. H. K. Kokofu, the Bantama NPP chairman, on the imperative need for the party to quickly switch into high campaign dudgeon, nevertheless, we must also boldly and honestly disagree with Mr. Kokofu's rather curious suggestion that Mr. Alan Kyerematen, or any other NPP stalwart, for that matter, be specially groomed as the next flagbearer of the ruling party. First of all, such suggestion smacks of abject nepotism, the sort of flagrant malfeasance that undermines constitutional democracies. By all means, let's leave such patently dictatorial and venal tendency to lesser parties like the pseudo-civilian National Democratic Congress. Indeed, without meaning to be disrespectful of his name, whatsoever, still, it cannot be candidly gainsaid that it was such “Kokofu,” deviously practiced behind the scenes by leaders sworn to justice and fair play that nearly derailed the most recent NPP delegates' convention.
And, perhaps, it also needs to be emphasized, in no uncertain terms, that unlike what his rather misleading suggestion may seem to imply, absolutely nobody but Nana Akufo-Addo groomed himself, by dint of sheer diligence, for his party's flagbearership. In a monarchy, such “grooming,” as suggested by Mr. Kokofu, would only be apt and proper; however, in a constitutional democracy, where merit-based equal opportunity is the norm, the especial grooming of any particular individual candidate(s) for the presidency woefully defeats the very purpose of the democratic process.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected]
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