Irresponsible Media May Be Hurting Progressive Ghanaian Politics
Exactly one week after his shocking decision to resign his membership of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), the former Minister of Trade has, at long last, given the Ghanaian public ample, concise and concrete details regarding Mr. Alan K. Kyerematen's abrupt decision to effectively disengage his staunch support for and intimate association with the NPP.
In the main, Mr. Kyerematen hints at what he, implicitly, perceives to be an autocratic internal leadership culture of the ruling Party. In a press release published on the website of Modernghana.com, and sourced to the Accra radio station Joy-Fm, the former Minister of Trade and PSI – or the President's Special Initiatives – tersely observed, inter alia, as follows: “I am in the same vein compelled to indicate that efforts aimed at mediation led by former Chairman of the Party, Mr. B. J. Da Rocha, were inconclusive. The mediator's proposal was for a withdrawal of my resignation unconditionally, without substantive discussion of the concerns raised in my letter[,] as well as other concerns discussed with the Party Leadership on several occasions. I have disagreed with this proposal because[,] in my humble opinion, it does not resolve the matter at hand” (4/24/08).
In other words, according to the complainant, rather than respectfully and seriously seek to accommodate his grievances, ex-Chairman Da Rocha, perhaps inadvertently, rather inflamed passions and matters. Needless to say, Mr. Da Rocha's alleged demand for Mr. Kyerematen's unconditional withdrawal of his resignation letter amounted to the complainant, or resigner, being given short shrift, as it were. If so, then, the preceding regrettably echoes the kind of condescending patronage that traditionally has been routinely pursued by parties to any impasse who felt assured of their peremptory powers to dictate their will over parties deemed to be significantly insubstantial.
By way of extended similes, such autocratic power play may be deemed to be reminiscent of the palpably aggravating dealings of the erstwhile Apartheid regime of South Africa with Nelson Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), for example.
And whether, indeed, Mr. Kyerematen's perspective on the NPP's internal political culture has validity or otherwise, is pretty much beside the point. What needs to be promptly addressed, before an already bad situation gets worse, or out of hand, is for the Da Rocha Group, or the Party's mediators, to accept, a priori, Mr. Kyerematen's absolute reservation of the right to have his grievances acknowledged before being asked to, at least, momentarily, rescind his resignation, pending a thorough investigation and prompt resolution of the same.
And as to whether the mode and outcome of such resolution, of the plaintiff's grievances, ultimately redounds to the mutual satisfaction of both parties is another breed of party quadruped – or animal – altogether. What is imperative, at this juncture, is for the Party's executive to be seen by the Ghanaian public at large to be seriously addressing the grievances of a major political player and his staunch supporters and sympathizers.
Indeed, while he has humbly conceded the theoretical fact that “no single individual is more important than the Party to which s/he belongs” (and here, of course, we have in mind the curious relationship between the Rawlingses and the P/NDC), it is equally significant to also bear in mind that Christocentric Parable of the Lost Sheep, eloquently related by Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, to his disciples in the Synoptic Gospels.
In the same vein, however, we must also beg to differ with Mr. Kyerematen that while, indeed, the need “not [to] lose sight of the fact that [the] national interest is superior to the interest of any single Party” can hardly be disputed, nonetheless, such “superior interest” as pertains to the polity – or Nation-State – is invariably best articulated and actualized by the inevitable institution of such credible and formidable political party as the ruling New Patriotic Party. And on the latter score, must also be quickly emphasized the fact that not all political parties are poised to proactively effectuate – or bring to fruition – the “superior” and “collective” interests of the nation at large. Twenty years of regressive P/NDC policies ought to serve as a grim reminder of what awaits Ghanaians should the leadership of the New Patriotic Party renege on its solemn and sacred mandate to ensure that Ghanaians are never, again, returned to the bad, old days of P/NDC reign-of-terror.
Needless to say, seven months to Election 2008 may, curiously, seem like eons to those Ghanaians who have been pathologically conditioned into readily accepting the immitigably benighted regime of the opposition P/NDC; to those of us who traumatically witnessed Ghana rapidly regress from the enviable status of a steadily “developing” country to one of abysmal “underdevelopment,” a virtual free fall, that is, time is of the essence in resolving this potentially insidious and far-reaching impasse.
Indeed, it would not be, altogether, outlandish to have the Pride-of-Ghana and former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, step into a mediatory mode. After all, did not the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate do the same for the people of Kenya just the other day?
In the meantime, let both parties stay as far away from the luridly impulsive and blindly muckraking Ghanaian media until such time as the salient grievances among the parties would have been amicably and thoroughly resolved to the satisfaction of the parties involved. And, here, it is significant to note that Mr. Kyerematen, in his latest press release (of April 24, 2008), hinted at the fact that brazen media hounds and scavengers have been having a field day in recklessly and prematurely muddying the proverbial waters and thus flagrantly misleading both friends and foes, alike, of the NPP as well as the Ghanaian public at large.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 15 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected]
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