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20.01.2014 Feature Article

Unifying The Party

Unifying The Party
LISTEN JAN 20, 2014

We have a history, and it is sacrosanct. It is one that is rooted in unbridled brotherly and sisterly love. We have been each other's keeper for over half a century now. Within these fifty years of brotherhood, we wallowed in political opposition - or better still oblivion - for over thirty years, yet, we survived. With unassailable strength, we strived through the dangling depth of the dungeons, through the darkness of valleys, over the hills and mountain tops, to the pinnacles of glory. We have come a long way as a people bounded in the traditions of our forebears. The United Party (UP) tradition!

It is not for nothing that our forebears in finding an alternative for the then defunct UGCC during the proscription of sectional, regional, religious, and tribal parties in 1957 chose to settle on the word "united", the past tense of "unite" - in the amalgamation of various parties that were opposed to the then CPP government. They had vision. They knew that it is only in the spirit of unity that we can succeed. In the end, the UP was formed.

Such hindsight clearly shows that our forebears were indeed colossuses primed for the pantheons of the greats!

Unity has shown its two faces in our history. The lack of this adrenaline in our internal body politic prior to the 1979 elections left us with a sour grape. It was a situation gussied up in sadness and with far-reaching political ramifications. It ushered our nation into a state of anarchy. The darkest days in the political history of our nation were captured, because "unity" parried our great party. However, it has shown its strength and beauty in the recent past. The current NPP, an offshoot of the UP tradition, bounced back to political dominance from decades in opposition. And we were able to do so, not only because there were clamorous calls for change, but because we had that sense of unity of purpose. We knew we were the “change”, and could not have afforded to disappoint Ghanaians. We were guided by this “call to rescue” to quickly regroup after a heated internal power struggle in 1998. In effect, we became a formidable force to reckon with, and that force broke down “the walls of Jericho.” We won political power in 2000!

We are tempted to believe that history has revisited us. The developmental progress of the short lived Progress Party under Dr. Busia were derailed by the 1972 coup, the PNP government, and the P-NDC government; similarly, our party's gains under the NPP led Kufuor administration have been eroded by the five year governance of the Mills/Mahama government. Now, the sense of alienation and despondency is on the high. There is the ear splitting call for change. And this change can only come about when we are united as a political party!

It is worth noting that unlike our political opponents the NDC, the NPP eschews hero worshipping. Our politics is rooted in ideas and traditions, but not personalities.

Knowing how formidable a united NPP could be to the politics of our nation, our political opponents have tried fervently to break our front. They have schemed some non-existent and mythical factionalism as a component of our party. They tailor this incoherent frivolity which they term as “Asante-Akyem factions” to the division that engulfed our tradition in the 1979 elections. It is a historical fact that the Progress Party (PP) which was the derivative of the United Party split into three. But, our defamers insinuate that the then Popular Front Party (PFP) led by Victor Owusu was an Ashanti based political party, while that of the then United National Convention (UNC) led by Paa Willie was Akyem based. We find such claims very preposterous and unfounded especially when astute Ashanti politicians like General Afrifa, Justice Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade, R. R. Amponsah, J. Y. Manu, and Judge Isaac Richard Aboagye are those who engineered the formation of the UNC and convinced Paa Willie (an Akyem) to lead it. Equally, Dr. Jones Ofori-Atta who is the blood brother of Paa Willie, supported Victor Owusu (an Ashanti). So, where was the Asante-Akyem faction in the split of the Progress Party? More also, where would the proponents of this propaganda position Col. Bernasko's Action Congress Party (ACP) which was also another breakaway party of the Progress Party? It is very sad how these disingenuous political narrators have narrowed down the division of the PP in 1979 to the current NPP without any basis.

Well, the available evidence clearly dictates that our tradition had always believed in the competition of ideas, but not on political factionalism based on ethnicity. We will therefore entreat our members, and the general public to treat such fictitious fabrications with all the contempt it deserves.

Then again, the NPP cannot be said to be an Akan party as our political opponents want Ghanaians to believe. The UP which is the back bone of the NPP was a merger of parties that were united in their common goal of opposing Nkrumah's dictatorial tendencies. These parties included the Northern Peoples Party, Muslim Association Party, National Liberation Movement (NLM), Anlo Youth Organization, Togoland Congress, the Ga Shifimokpee, Aborigines Right Protection Society and the Ghana Congress Party. These were parties of different ethnic, religious, regional and sectional orientation, but merged together to form the UP. Moreover, the current NPP has seen non-Akans occupying very high and sensitive positions within the party; from Vice President (Aliu Mahama, Northerner), to Vice Presidential Candidate (Dr. Bawumia, Northerner), Chairman (Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Ga), Organizer (Mocta Bamba, Northerner), Women's Organizer (Otiko Djaba, Northerner), former Youth Organiser (Anthony Karbo, Northerner), etc. How then can anybody describe the current NPP, of which UP is its keystone, as an Akan party? Indeed, this is a fallacy that should not be condoned and entertained by any discerning mind.

The NPP knows that its supporters and sympathizers from different ethnic, social, cultural and religious backgrounds abound across the nooks and crannies of our nation. Thus, we expect opinions to be divided at any given time within our rank and file. But, even in the face of that, we will not shudder, for our party believes in the competition of ideas; a distinctive feature that is rooted in the moral fiber of our party.

As we go through the polling station, constituency, regional and national executives elections, coupled with parliamentary and presidential primaries, let us resolve to treat each other with some modicum of respect. Let us exhibit some sense of patriotism and love.

The NPP is an ideologically based center right political entity whose tenets and principles are grounded on the respect for human rights and democracy, "kabi mame nka bi". Therefore, let our shared vision “Development in Freedom” be the fulcrum towards which we gravitate. This vision has proven to be the most effective and productive political vision within recent party politics in Ghana. It served its purpose under the Kufuor administration. It gave faith and hope to the good people of our nation about its prosperity. Therefore, let us be united in the purpose of this vision, and be guided by same as we pursue our political life. Let this vision serve as a quick reminder of the need for us to remain united before and after our internal politics.

Now, when misunderstanding arises, let us invoke various Party constitutional instruments, and the appropriate channel under "disciplinary and grievance procedures" in Article 4 of the Party's constitution and other related sections of our by-laws to amicably resolve any impasses between us. Let us agree to disagree without making room for any antagonism. Let us compete in ideas devoid of mudslinging and character assassination! Let us shun washing our dirty linens in public, and ridiculing our own in public domain, for it is a recipe for division. Let us put all hair-splitting issues to rest. Let us not badger ourselves to death! Ronald Reagan said “Don't speak ill of a fellow Republican”, and we say “Don't speak ill of a fellow NPP.”

More also, when our leaders are finally elected - be it at the polling station, constituency, regional and national levels, or at the parliamentary and presidential contest, let us in unison - regardless of our leanings - support them; for their strength lies in our strength, and they cannot do it all without us.

The NDC for the past four to five year has shown gross incompetence in ruling the nation. Corruption has become the stock in trade of the government. Many Ponzi schemes - in the name of private public partnership - have been developed to syphon the public purse. WOYOME, GYEEDA, SUBAH, ISOFOTON and the likes have unfortunately become household names. Public debt, taxes and levies are on the rise, while development is on the low: two diametrically opposed situations that clearly depict the failure of, and rot in the government. Investors' confidence in our economy is diminishing while unemployment situation is deteriorating. Now, the nouveau riche politicians of the current Mahama/Amissah-Arthur government sit on whopper stash of crazy public cash, while the masses wallow in abject poverty. This is unacceptable! There is untoward hardship across the length and breadth of our dear nation, and an undimmed call for change could be heard. And we are the change that Ghana seeks!

Therefore, let us remind ourselves that the good citizens of our dear nation are looking up to us to bounce back to political power in 2016, and rekindle their faith, belief and hope in Ghana. They are looking up to us to create the needed and conducive economic and social platforms that they can harness to better their lives. And we can do it, for we have the intellectual band to do so. And we have done that before.

However, fine words butter no parsnips! It takes HARDWORK AND UNITY to see through the facade to the golden reality that lies ahead of us. And it takes same to achieve it.

When all is said and done in our polling station, constituency, regional and national elections, and the parliamentary and presidential primaries, let us all come together as one family with a common aim and objective. For it is only in unity that we can work hard to garner more votes and secure them. Let us exhibit some partisan political smartness!

It is obvious that 2016 elections will be the mother all political warfare in contemporary political life of our nation, but it is still there for our taking. And we just cannot afford to disappoint Ghanaians this time around. All hands on deck!

Let us remain more united than ever before and win back the confidence of our people.

There is an unwavering strength in UNITY.
Let the NPP stay UNITED for political victory in 2016!

God bless NPP-USA
God bless the NPP
And God bless our homeland, Ghana.
Kukruduuuu..... ESHIE RADO, RADO, RADO!!!

First published in NPP-USA Congress brochure

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Amponsah Stonash
Amponsah Stonash, © 2014

The author has 14 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AmponsahStonash

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