When an earthquake struck the Sichuan province in China in May 2008, there was a wedding going on at the precise time that the earth was bellowing and spewing death and destruction. A joyous idyllic moment was suddenly turned into a nightmare of unimaginable proportions.
Question- when the earthquake subsides and there are still reverberating aftershocks, is that the time to continue with the wedding at the same location as if nothing had happened? Most will answer correctly in the negative. In deed the responder will add that rescuers have to be given time to save lives and find missing bodies. Engineers should be brought in to assess the stability of the area and re-evaluate building codes; subsequently the government should declare whether the area is fit for continued human habitation. What would be on anyone's mind in these missions is to save lives and prevent future catastrophes, at least in the immediate future, is a wedding.
Why then is the NPP that just came through its own earthquakes on December 7th and 28th planning a wedding on site before the debris has been gathered? Just like saving lives is the preeminent concentration after any natural disaster along with measures to minimize the impact of unavoidable recurrence, so should NPP use the lull of 2009 to critically assess which of its structures do not meet 21st Century codes to win elections in predictable fashion and make needed and long-overdue amends.
The only constants in life are change and death. Flexibility to change delays or postpones death. Ossification of ideas and methods spell predictable doom. Question- given that Ghana's next general election is not until 2012, what is lost if the current group of elected leaders are allowed to stay on in a do-no-harm extension while the party seriously commits itself to critical assessment, accept new ideas, tests them, build winning and meaningful alliances and then be more ready to effect change beginning in 2010? If there is any case of lost confidence, certainly the elders can install an interim shell which will still be better than a hurried series of elections that become another imposition with everyone angrily predicting certain defeat in 2012. The structure of the party; the manner of electing its officers; and spelling out clearly stated goals for each level of authority are worth a year's exhaustive study, discussion and re-evaluation. Even Jesus knew when to retreat and meditate. There should be no rush to nowhere fast.
If I say the DELEGATE system most know what I mean. A strong majority would agree that it has outlived its usefulness and is arguably a source of the active earthquake which has been blowing up occasionally to swallow NPP in its various incarnations - 1979 (Victor Owusu-PFP- as the main casualty) and 2008 (Nana Akufo-Addo as the main casualty). NPP-USA advocates a one-person-one-vote system. It has been tried, trialed and tested in many lands. Unlike the Delegate system, it is improbable to win by buying specific and identifiable people. Transparency is increased, corruption is minimized and accountability rises. The person who makes the best case wins most of the time. It is not perfect but the best the world knows and worth the time for Ghana's NPP. There is no imaginary line of succession – otherwise Barack Obama would never be President of the USA.
To implement a one-person-one-vote system from the polling stations through the presidential primaries needs careful thinking, planning, resourcing, testing and refining. You certainly do not want your opponents to vote for your weakest candidates. How do you make this overhaul that is arguably much needed and also implement it to select party leaders in 2009 when the party has no track record?
NPP-USA respectfully asks our party to hold off holding any elections in 2009 to give us adequate time to do the job right. As our small contribution towards this goal, we are planning an international conference on May 29-31 in Denver Colorado to facilitate a healthy discussion. One-person-one vote can be done. Many countries are doing it- several poorer than Ghana. There is nothing to be afraid of but everything to think through. Haste makes waste. A frustrated implementation will pull NPP back to the comfort of the Delegate system and we shall be holding our wedding while the earth itself is hauling away everything in its path including our dear selves. We have lost the 2008 elections- the harm has been done- let us do the internal disciplined re-examination and restructuring without the choke of a party constitution that itself needs going to the mechanic. Just as you drive a broken car at your own risk so we risk further injury continuing this journey in 2009, especially while emotions are still raw from an inexplicable crash.
The point of emphasis is that there should be no preparations to elect any one in 2009 until we have adopted, designed and tested the one-person-one-vote system and 2009 is the year to do that. I am joined by the members of NPP-USA Ad Hoc Constitution Committee- Prof. Kwaku Azar of University of Florida, Dr. Agyenim Boateng, retired Deputy Attorney General of Kentucky, Dr. Michael Baffoe of the University of Winnipeg, Steven Oduro- Chairman of our New Jersey Chapter and two-time MP Candidate, Kwabena Manu….. To be continued.
By Kofi A. Boateng, Chairman NPP-USA