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19.07.2004 NDC News

OPINION: Learning to Live in Opposition - NDC Goes to School

By Public Agenda
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"From defeat unto defeat, the NDC shall trail". This is a reality that the NDC should be prepared to accept.

Indeed, the original version of that popular Methodist hymn, which the NDC has adopted as its anthem, had actually hoodwinked the party into believing that it could not loose political power in Ghana for a very long time. But they were wrong. The 2000 elections ended their perceived electoral invincibility.

During the run-up to the 2000 elections, Former President Rawlings advised the electorate against voting for the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He alleged that members of the NPP were in experienced and were only coming to experiment with the governance of the country. In fact, the fears of Rawlings could be justified, measured against his own level of experience of governance when he came to power.

For example, against the principles of economic management, Rawlings called for and implemented a price control regime. He and his PNDC government took for granted the fact that economies are driven by market forces. Was this policy not an experiment, which had a rather negative impact on commerce and industry? Again, Dr. Rawlings and his PNDC government ordered the withdrawal of 50 cedis notes from circulation, thinking wrongly that the action was going to help the economy.

Using these two examples, there can be no doubt that the experimenter was afraid of his own shadow, since those actions never achieved the expected results. Regrettably, the former President did not take into account that the NPP is composed of veteran politicians like Mrss J.A. Kufuor, J.H.Mensah and ana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-addo among others.

It is also recalled that Mr. Rawlings once asserted that the then Chairman of the Committee of Secretaries, P.V. Obeng alone was more intellectually endowed than the whole of NPP stalwarts combined. But later developments have proved Mr. Rawlings wrong.

It was unimaginable to consider members of the NPP as experimenters, in the face of the fact that Professor Mills is even regarded as an intruder whose endorsement by then president Rawlings led to the formation of the National Reform Party by a breakaway faction of the NDC as a protest.

Who then is an experimenter? Mills or Kufuor? In any case, the ballot box decided and Kufuor and his NPP are steering the affairs of state.

I have heard many preacher men quote the biblical verse "In everything, give thanks" and l am delighted to hear Rawlings and certain other members of NDC attribute their fall from political power to God's will.

If this is agreed, then the NDC should not only give thanks, but also pay heed to President Kufuor's advice at Cape coast last year that the NDC should learn to behave in opposition. This was at the NPP congress that endorsed him for the third time as the presidential candidate of the party.

In fact, l am inclined to believe that, it is also God's will that the NDC remain in opposition for a long time too. And that will enable them to learn more on how to be in opposition.

However, it appears the NDC is so much uncomfortable in opposition that it is yearning for a quick return to power. Clearly, they cannot cope with being in opposition, and this makes the difference between mature politicians and new comers and between experimenters and professionals.

Since the overthrow of Professor K.A Busia's Progress Party Government in 1972, members of the Danquah - Busia political tradition have been in opposition until 2000 when they recaptured political power. The fact that members of the Busia / Danquah tradition worked hard to win elections after almost 30 years in opposition, is worth emulating by all opposition political parties, especially, the NDC, that political power does not come so easily.

Personally, l doubt if the NDC can endure or cope with life in opposition for long period. Paradoxically, the NDC maintains that its fall from power is the will of God and yet is reluctant to give thanks and humbly learn "at the feet of the master" I foresee that it might not be easy for the NDC to return to power soon. This is because the NPP after staying out of power for about 30 years will not easily relinquish power, but will work hard to win subsequent elections.

J.H. Mensah at the launch of the 2004 elections campaign at Cape Coast early this year, said the NDC died in the year 2000. It will be buried in 2004, and its funeral rites performed in 2008.

Mensah added that, a memorial service would be organized for the NDC in 2012. In other words, the senior minister was saying that the NPP has come to stay for a very long time. This being the case, it will only be appropriate for the NDC to resign itself to learning to live in opposition. Since it is the believe of the NDC that it was the will of God to loose power, then it might as well be the will of God for the party to remain in opposition for a longer period.

The NDC must learn to live in opposition, and resolve to contest all elections in subsequent years even if the results are not good for them. And by this, the NDC must be aware that it will loose the 2004 elections.

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