I originally intended this write-up not as an article, but rather a short one-paragraph response to post on the comments page of Dr. Arthur Kennedy's article under the caption; Returning the NPP to power. However it got longer and I decided to have it posted in its own right rather than bore readers with a very long comment. It is not a rejoinder in the typical sense one may use the word; I do not seek to pass a judgment on Dr. Kennedy's beliefs. His article just set off to a short mental monologue and questions came up which I hope the discerning readers on this forum will help answer since it is for the good of the motherland.
While I am not necessarily a sympathizer of the NPP, Dr. Kennedy is one politician who has earned my respect especially in the wake of the NPP defeat. He seems very composed, level-headed and extremely analytic. It is rather unfortunate that it had to take the trauma of an election defeat for this quality to be manifested to people like me. This is the second article of his that I have read on this forum, and from all indications the simple, concise and lucid manner in which he writes and puts his arguments across hints that he may after all not belong to that typical Ghanaian political animal species of politician who abound in all shades of the Ghanaian political spectrum.
However an issue put forth in his opening paragraphs about certain myths held by some segments of the population worries me greatly and has spurred this comment. He mentioned that the NDC has already made enough mistakes in its first 100 days that may well lead its fall in 2012; I do not intend to ascertain the truth or falsity of this assertion, that can be done at the individual level objectively, or through one's political lenses. It is however the general logic behind such a conjecture that worries me and has led to two fundamental questions which I pose in the next paragraph. The NDC is in power now, but I personally believe the party did not “win” the last elections, rather the NPP “lost” it and the NDC happened to be the most-formidable alternative, at the right place at the right time. The same I believe happened in the 2000 elections just that the roles were reversed back then.
Here are the two questions I want to put across to Dr. Kennedy- if by chance he should read this- and other discerning readers on this forum;
Firstly, should we as a people change governments just because an incumbent party has goofed? Should an incumbent's actual or perceived mistakes be the only or the most essential criteria for deciding whether his/her government is retained or booted out? Mind you, I believe that an underperforming government should not be tolerated, but the question is how much weight should be placed on such failures, taking into consideration the peculiar global environment it finds itself, and also alternative policies from opposing parties?
Secondly, should an opposition party anchor its hope of attaining power on the failure of an incumbent? Please don't get me wrong, I am not an idealist, I believe if your opponent has a flaw you hope that will strengthen your position if uncovered, that's exactly where you hit. But then again how much weight should a party place on this tactic, taking into consideration its obligation- by virtue of seeking the people's mandate- to come out with innovative and practical policy alternatives to move the nation forward.
I repeat again that I am not an idealist; I do not envision an utopian Ghana where elections are solely based on issues, alternative views, gentlemanly politics and all. What I hope for-in my lifetime- is a day when Ghanaians can afford the political luxury of voting an opposition party into power not just because of the failings of the ruling party, but principally on their conviction that the opposition party presents the most credible and practical solution to the challenges of the day, and oh what a happy day that will be!
Credit: Franklin Ofosu
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