The presidential primaries of the opposition New Patriotic Party has come and gone, leaving in its wake the election of a presidential candidate who lost the contest for the presidency of Ghana to President John Atta Mills in 2008/2009.
The selection of a candidate to represent the NPP at the next general election was exciting in many ways – President Kufour fired a broadside at the NDC but also went ahead of himself and declared Akufo-Addo winner with little regard for procedure. The NPP election left all sections of the Ghanaian news media very impotent in predicting the events. They were simply reduced to mere onlookers as Nana Akufo-Addo swept the votes.
Some of our country's psephologists made projections in favour of Akufo-Addo and others in favour of Alan Kyeremanteng, but none had any ideas how wide the margin of victory would be for Akufo-Addo. And the outcome of the election reflected in the aspirations of NPP delegates to try Nana again even though I feel his victory is the beginning of the end for him.
He's going to run his campaign on the tattered record of President Kufour which was rejected by Ghanaians in 2008/9. And Kufour's record apart from indifference and greed is what NPP advocates call “unprecedented economic growth rate.”
And Nana is going to run his campaign on the hope that Professor Mills is going to fail to deliver. This is bad news for the NPP because Professor Mills has started delivering. What the NPP doesn't understand or fail to acknowledge is that Economic growth that fails to raise the standards of living for all on an “equitable scale” is not real growth and couldn't be described as development.
The perceived Kufour's success story they hope to sell to Ghanaians again is a mockery. High economic growth, (the NPP's mantra) is nothing when high proportions of the people still live in poverty. How could they promote an “economic growth” that did not increase the incomes and well being of all? What we have witnessed in the last few weeks under President Mills is real economic growth where standards of living of all civil servants were raised on equitable scale. The implementation of the single spine salary structure saw a monumental increase in the salaries which would be felt by everyone. This is a tell-tale sign of the NDC's “BETTER GHANA”.
The pay reform epitomises real economic growth. Public sector workers who went home with little to show for their servitude to country now have something to smile about. And when all is said and done, President Mills can say yes, I put money in people's pocket. This is more impressive and tangible than the flimflam Nana Akufo- Addo would try again to sell Ghanaians.
I am a disappointed acolyte of President Mills but I think we are now moving forward and so far so impressive. We have just witnessed one of the most progressive reforms in the public sector pay policy. This monumental increase in the welfare of the people is the hors d'oeuvre and the main course will come by the end of the NDC's first term.
The NDC would certainly not be lectured by Akufo- Addo on what is best for Ghana. I am so repulsed by his BBC interview after his victory in his party's primaries. He and his colleagues should be apologising in the first place for railroading the single spine salary structure and the booby traps they set for the Mills government.
So negative were their intentions for Ghana that they made last minute irrational appointments (which their masters in the US – the Republicans also did), approved an increase of between 34% and 16% in salaries of different categories of public sector workers. The gesture was so bad that the leadership of labour union rejected it and said “it was a big surprise to hear that the government has announced that the single spine structure was in operation because we had not completed the process”.
The NDC won the last election on the collapse of trust in the New Patriotic Party – electorates were fed up with corruption and bad governance. We had a better agenda and we were cohesive. We worked closely to achieve what we got.
The NPP primaries has one lesson – it gives President Mills an unparallel opportunity to build bridges and get rid of ministers who out of ignorance and perfidy continue to provoke the base of the party and rip to shreds people with alternative opinion. Some of his appointees have risked everything that the NDC fought for and achieved largely because they are not NDC and have nothing to lose if the NDC were out of office.
The desires of party members who have been critical of government is for President Mills to do well and keep the NDC in power longer than we may get if some of his divisive and petty friends and appointees continue to keep their post.
The inability of government to sell a story as good as the implementation of the single spine salary structure is a verdict on the incompetence of people like Omane Boamah, Sam Ablakwa and Nii Lantey Vanderpuye who use their appearances in the media to rip to shreds constructive critics of government.
The paucity of members of the NDC prepared to talk up the government's successes rest in the fact that some of the presidents appointees have been allowed to berate Jerry Rawlings and other persons who have been critical of the pace of progress. For someone who is not an appointee to say that as long as he lived, another colleague will never be minister in a Mills government leaves me worried about the commitment to this great party.
The people of Ghana have no appetite for a disunited party and as long as the President allow CPP and NPP turncoats he has appointed to show disrespect to our traditions and run down people who have fought for the party with their very lives and have earned the right to question political authority, he will continue to face more internal and political recriminations with foot soldiers breathing down his neck with or without sponsorship to sports events like the world cup.
The NPP has united for a purposeful cause. The people of Ghana have no appetite for a disunited party and the challenge is on the President to stamp his authority; rid himself of the people who want to use the opportunity of being close to him to destroy others; and build bridges and get all hands on deck lest he gives Akufo-Addo the moral authority to attack our party and the government.