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06.04.2015 Feature Article

Npp At Primaries: Uniting For Government & Not For Plunder

Npp At Primaries: Uniting For Government & Not For Plunder
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Even on a cursory reading of Haile Selassie's speeches one can understand why the legendary Emperor has attained the status of a Messiah or that of a God Incarnate in the Rastafarian movement. His statements can be cited to suit several of life's situations, and like the bible, his words can be misconstrued or misapplied.

The story is told of a gang of armed robbers/burglars who after a very heavy dose of cannabis started to motivate themselves and co-conspirators by quoting Haile Selassie before raiding the home of a mega-rich Nigerian state Governor:

“Throughout History, it has been the inaction of those who should have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better and the silence of the voice of justice, when it mattered most that has made it possible for evil to triumph”

Now 'Oya' and off the gang went to commit all manner of unimaginable and gut-wrenching atrocities in the home of this Law abiding Governor. Clearly overwhelmed by the find they made in the Governor's home, they decided to recite Psalm 23 for fear of a counter attack from either the authorities or a similarly ill-minded gang.

The recent call for Unity from NDC's Segbefia, admonishing apparatchiks about the nightmare and the misery which awaits them in opposition caused me a measure of trepidation. Nightmare about what? The lack of opportunity to plunder the nation's resources further? The thought was eerie; the thought of Woyome's Number 1 Public Defender when the issue initially surfaced, whipping NDC supporters into action, sent a shiver down my spine. An expatriate friend working in Ghana recently described the NDC Government under President Mahama as incorrigibly corrupt and incurably impotent in the business of Government.

On a more serious note, perhaps needless to say, Emperor Selassie's call was not directed at every Tom, Dick and Harry, inviting them to act anyhow, at any time, irrespective of the circumstances. It was a very well thought out statement, deeper than perceived by some, if not divinely inspired.

Let us pay close attention to the following expressions in the statement: 'Those who could have acted'; 'Those who ought to have known better' and…'When it mattered most'. The call from this great Emperor was therefore directed at people who possess the relevant skills or knowledge to act responsibly. Simply put, one does not expend energy and resources fighting every court dispute for the sake of achieving the ends of justice but only if such interference in the course of Justice is unequivocally necessary, and especially if it is for the benefit of all.

The call is therefore more of a motivational speech aimed at the Country's redeemers than its plunderers. With the NPP (opposition party) having entered its season of parliamentary primaries, one can only hope and pray that relevant contestants would be able to keep a sense of proportion within the context of the need to win power in 2016 for the people of Ghana. It is the height of dishonesty for any self-proclaimed democrat to agree to partake in primaries and then decide to declare his/her independence in the event of an unsuccessful outcome.

The recent attempt by the NPP's NEC to impose positive discrimination by way of a fiat was commendable but regrettably premature. It is hoped that in future party bureaucrats will begin to explore the quality of parliamentary candidates. A look at the conservative party's requirements will reveal that, to qualify for consideration by a constituency as their Parliamentary Candidate, one ought to have made it to an approved list by passing a 5-hour assessment even after review and acceptance of one's application and references. Overall, one ought to show the following competencies:

1. Communication skills
2. Intellect
3. The ability to relate to people
4. Leadership and motivational skills
5. Resilience and drive
6. Conviction (knowledge of core beliefs and values)

Some of which would be almost unmentionable in Ghana's politics even though critical to the assessment of one's ability to partake effectively in the process of Nation Building. It is not surprising that some of our Members of Parliament are never heard contributing to debates in parliament. I wonder whether the 'trees under schools' MP has yet recovered from his disastrous debut in parliament? NPP however, seems by default, to have a better percentage of MPs who pass the above test.

Constituencies should thus be guided by appropriate selection criteria as above, including the electability of the candidate and his/her likely impact on the Presidential elections. Constituency bosses of safe seats should use the opportunity to improve the quality of our parliament. The sheer wealth of a candidate should merely feature as a factor and not the ultimate criterion bearing in mind that the resourcefulness of a candidate is even more important than his accumulated wealth. However, as candidates engage in the plethora of campaign speeches, policies and messages in the pending primaries, the party should take even more instruction from Haile Selassie:

“Let us unite in everlasting friendship and in amity so that we can stand up against the godless and the evil dragons who have arisen to oppress mankind”.

The opposition should develop oneness of purpose and eschew the extreme juxtaposing for a place in an undetermined future that at times seems to overwhelm and consume them internally. Ghanaians appear to have voted themselves out of full economic redemption in 2008 because of the seeming restlessness inside of the opposition, and in 2012, they overlooked the greatest state sponsored fraud of all time, because the opposition was somewhat lethargic with apathy in its strongholds. Goodluck's recent misfortune, should therefore count for nothing although Buhari's purposeful and united campaign will make a significant difference if masterfully learnt by the opposition. Mahama may be a dead goat but Asiedu Nketia is a live and cunning cat. The cat never falls on its back however high you throw it.

Under the direction of this failed fashion icon, whose paucity of dressing etiquette was even suspected to be an attempt to hide so much guile or to bury good news, Mahama will try to rig big time and the NPP needs to be solidly united to whip up the National fervour against any widespread attempt to steal the people's 'Will'. Our Alata cousins had Vice Chancellors, lecturers and such likes at their polling stations this round of elections.

To succeed at persuading Ghanaians to unite behind them and even to meet the challenges of the business of Government awaiting them from 2017, the NPP must itself possess a unity that is almost impervious to certain diabolical character traits within their ranks and all manner of personalities who are in the race for sheer adventure. Ghana's predicament is a serious one requiring people of great passion and conviction.

Kwame Ohene Asare
Kwame Ohene Asare, © 2015

The author has 26 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KwameOheneAsare

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