18.09.2015 Feature Article

Voters’ Register doesn’t win Elections; Unity does – NPP

Voters Register doesnt win Elections; Unity does – NPP
18.09.2015 LISTEN

“Behold they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.” [Genesis 11:6] Bible

Unity is the key. Whether we’re talking about a sports team, work team, school team, health care team, church team, or home based business team, it’s essential that we get everyone on the bus and moving in the right direction with a shared vision, focus, purpose and direction. When a team comes together they are able to succeed together.

Genesis 11:1-9 epitomizes truly united individuals with a shared vision. Their mission was to achieve a certain goal, and indeed was working indefatigably towards that goal until the Lord Himself decided to put them asunder. The lesson is simple: with unity nothing is impossible.

For the uninitiated, the story of the city of Babel is recorded in Genesis 11:1–9. Everyone on earth spoke the same language and was united. As people migrated from the east, they settled in the land of Shinar. People there sought to make bricks and build a city and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for themselves, so that they not be scattered over the world. God came down to look at the city and tower and remarked that as one people with one language, nothing that they sought would be out of their reach. God went down and confounded their speech, so that they could not understand each other, and scattered them over the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city. Thus, the city was called Babel as it appears in the King James Version of the Bible.

My mission as a young man has always been to encourage, motivate and inspire the younger generation to achieve true success through creative and positive mental attitude and positively influence the lives of society beyond Africa. Thus, most of my articles have always been purely inspirational and has no iota of any political undertones.

For the past weeks so much noise has been made about the country’s Voters’ Register. Hardly a day elapses without political functionaries talk extensively about our voters register to the point that some political parties have even decided to go on demonstration or picket (whatever they called it) as sign of their resolve to ensure the Register is altered to their whims and fancies.

Their argument is until the register is changed it would be extremely difficult for them to win the 2016 general election, something I think is laughable, whimsical and humorous.

The New Patriotic Party’s Vice Presidential Candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said they have uncovered evidence that shows that close to 80,000 Togolese have also registered as Ghanaians in the voters’ register, evidence the party claims show that the register is “bloated.”

The NPP has since presented the said evidence to the Electoral Commission on the 18th of August 2015 and at a news conference demanded that a new register be created. Since then there has been hue and cry about the credibility of the voters register by NPP members and sympathizers.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission (EC) has said it will consider the calls for the provision of a new voters’ register after weighing all the options.

According to the commission, it has taken note of the proposals for a new register and will consider its feasibility as well as the cost implication before any final decision will be taken on the matter.

Though other political parties like the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have kicked against the call for new voters’ register. In a press conference on Wednesday, 19th August, 2015 in reaction to NPP press conference the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has stated it was poised to make meaningful contributions to ensuring further gains in the electoral system.

They further argued that the current register was the most accurate and reliable that the nation has ever produced and called on the EC to dismiss the NPP request.

Some Think Tanks and Civil Organisations have also called on the EC to consider the petition submitted by the NPP and other political parties seriously in order to pre-empt future electioneering related violence and also maintain the credibility of our electoral system.

Calls, I believe are in the right direction. I don’t think anyone in this country would want to witness any violence in the 2016 general election as a result of what the NPP calls “bloated voters’ register”

What seems to be alarming and very disturbing, though, is the NPP’s resolve to ensure that the register is changed “at all cost” as if changing the register will mean an automatic victory for NPP come 2016 to the total neglect of party unity.

Some pro-NPP groups such as Let My Vote Count (LMVC), Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), Movement for Change (MFC) and the youth wing of the NPP have resolved to embark on series of demonstrations until the EC dances to their tunes. They have indicated on several platforms that they would do “everything” possible within their strength to ensure the EC gives them a new voters’ register even if it means using ‘unauthorized’ means.

Some elders and so-called founding fathers of the NPP have even suggested that the party boycotts the 2016 election if the voters’ register is not changed. Isn’t this amazing?

LMVC, AFAG, MFC, the Youth wing and some prominent members of the NPP defied court injunction and proceeded on demonstration that turned violent though an Accra Circuit court , had on Tuesday granted an order from the police restraining the organisers - LMVCA, AFAG and MFC - from picketing the Parliament House and Electoral Commission (EC) on Wednesday 16th September, 2015.

The court further ordered that the organizers converge on Accra Hearts of Oak Park and present their petition after having marched from Obra Spot to Hearts of Oak Park.

The question then is why would appendages to the NPP embark on series of demonstration, picketing (whatever the call it) when a petition had already been sent to the EC for consideration? Why is the NPP so desperate?

The Electoral Commission had earlier tasked the various political parties to submit proposals for a new voters register.

The parties have been given up to September 22, 2015, to make the submissions. This was made known by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei at a press conference after an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) held on the 21st of August, 2015 after petition was earlier submitted to it by the NPP.

The largest opposition party is not satisfied by this commitment on the part of the Electoral Commission? Some of us are not surprised, after all, the NPP has said time without number that it has no trust in almost all state institutions i. e. the EC, the Police, the Supreme Courts (Judiciary following the 2012 election petition), National Commission for Civil Education (NCCE) etc. therefore, the only way it could achieve its goals is to engage in ‘unauthorized’ means.

As the Holy Scripture says, “Behold they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.” I think the NPP has betters issues to deal with than wasting their precious time on the streets of Accra.

Over the years, the NPP has embarked on a number of demonstrations, what have they been able to achieve? We are still struggling under perennial dumsᴐr, extremely high utility tariffs, high cost of living, to mention but a few even though the NPP and other political parties including some pressure groups have embarked on a series of demonstrations. Nothing has changed.

In my humble opinion, what the NPP needs now is internal unity and not unnecessary, baseless demonstrations as witnessed on Wednesday, 16th September 2016.

Since the election of Messrs Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong as National Chairman and General Secretary respectively, there has never been unity in the NPP. Some so-called loyalists of Nana Akufo Addo have on several occasions have tried to oust both Afoko and Agyepong from office illegally due to baseless perception that the duo are working frantically against Nana Addo from becoming president.

On the 28th of May, 2015 a group calling itself “invisible forces”, a known private security force in the NPP prevented both Paul Afoko and Agyepong from entering the Party’s head office following the death of its Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama. Happenings in the NPP I believe are not new to anyone reading this piece.

The National Council of the opposition New Patriotic Party recently has given clearance for processes to begin to suspend the party’s chairman and General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong.

The Council has in a 7-page letter to the NPP’s Disciplinary Committee, ordered that steps be taken to suspend Mr. Paul Afoko from the position of Chairman of the largest opposition party.

"The National Council of Elders has taken a number of steps to resolve tensions within the party particularly from the Regional Chairmen level to the National Chairman following the murder of the Upper East Regional Chairman, Mr. Adams Mahama."

Meanwhile, supporters of Mr. Afoko in some regions have kicked against the decision describing it as unconstitutional and of tribal undertones. They have alleged that the purported decision of the council was being masterminded by just a few people who “do not like the national chairman and have vowed to make his reign difficult”.

Abraham Lincoln once said that, “a house divided against itself cannot stand”, therefore if the NPP does not put the necessary measures to unite it front, it can never win election in Ghana even with a new voters register.

Unity happens when leaders are committed to and engaged in the process of building a united, winning team. It requires focus, time, and energy. Unity occurs when team members care more about the vision, purpose and health of the organization than they do their own personal agenda. Changing the mind-set is essential. Unity happens when each person on the team can clearly see how their personal vision and effort contributes to the overall vision and success of the team. This involves meaningful conversations. And Unity results when you weed out the negativity that sabotages far too many organizations.

Already there is a perception out there that the NPP is an Akan party because of its alleged dislike for some minority tribes across the country. Suspending Mr. Afoko as suggested by the NPP’s Council of Elders will only buttress the allegation that NPP indeed hate Northerners, and instead of bringing the peace the party sort to achieve, it will rather aggravate the wrangling within.

The EC is an independent body established by an Act of Parliament mandated to conduct elections among others in the country. No political party has the singular constitutional authority to coerce the Commission to dance to its whims and caprices.

In the wake of challenging times, the ruling NDC government is facing many thought the NPP will be a better alternative come 2016. On the contrary, happenings in the NPP show they are only interested in making newspaper headlines rather than winning elections.

The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on September 3, embarked on a month-long tour of the country, ahead of the commencement of the campaign for the 2016 general elections.

Dubbed the ‘Rise and Build Tour,’ Nana Akufo-Addo was expected to meet with regional executives, constituency executives and both winners and losers at the recent NPP parliamentary primaries in every region he visits, a statement issued in Accra and signed by Eugene Arhin, press secretary, has indicated.

In the said tour both the party General Secretary, Kwabena A. Agyepong and the Chairman, Paul A. Afoko have been jettisoned making way for only persons believed to be loyalists of the party flag bearer to lead the campaign. To add salt to injury, some so-called party founders are calling for the immediate removal of both national executives who were duly elected by delegates.

Nana Ado’s “rise and shine campaign” has been overshadowed by the recent unnecessary demonstration embarked upon by appendages to the NPP. Most of these groups claimed to love Nana Addo, but their actions indicate otherwise. They are the real enemies of Nana.

As divided as they are, one would expect all well-meaning party members to be concerned about this disturbing situation; instead, they are devoting time talking extensively over voters register as if a change of the register will mean an automatic victory for them.

Am told the organizers of the just ended demonstration that almost ended bloodier have vowed to continue. As much as demonstrating to press home their demands are constitutional, I believe if those groups embark on such demonstration for the sake of unity in the NPP, it would serve a better purpose.

No amount of intimidation, insults or demonstration as some sort to do can coerce the EC to kowtow to the whims and caprices of a desperate yet divided political party.

The earlier the NPP begin talks to mend its dilapidated thatched house the better because voters’ register does not win an election; unity does.

I would want to end my article with the quote below:

“A choir is made up of many voices, including yours and mine. If one by one all go silent then all that will be left are the soloists. Don’t let a loud few determine the nature of the sound. It makes for poor harmony and diminishes the song.” ― Vera Nazarian, the Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

God bless Ghana! God bless the great NPP!!
By: Analimbey Chris Adobe-Rah
@analimbeychris (twitter)
E-mail: [email protected]