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11.04.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL - NPP: the Way Ahead

By Accra Mail

The governing New Patriotic Party must certainly have something going for it. It is the first political party in Ghana's 48-year post-colonial history to have come out of opposition to get elected and re-elected.

It is a record the leaders, members and supporters of the party are justifiably proud of - it took the combined efforts of all of them to come this far.

Indeed, time was when many people thought the NPP could never come to power in Ghana. So deep-seated was this belief that the party even went along with an arrangement to go into the '96 Elections with other parties in a partnership called the Great Alliance.

The Great Alliance was unable to deliver any great results. On the other hand, the coup d'etat party of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) seemed invincible. It had "won" the '92 and '96 Elections and seemed poised to take Election 2000.

In a remarkable reversal of fortune, the NDC lost to the NPP. But even then, some people said it was with a little help from the other smaller parties that helped the NPP "scrape" through.

Then in 2004, the NPP went into the ring alone and defeated the NDC, even helping one of the smaller parties along the way. The NPP has now come of age capable of standing on its own two feet, but it cannot be complacent.

Where are the policies and strategies for the future?

Not surprisingly, ADM's story on Mr Kwame Pianim last week has raised a lot of interests - for and against. All that we can say is that this is no time for blinkers. If the NPP is going to be of relevance in the future there are many things it has to look at dispassionately, with wide-open eyes based on well thought-out policy/strategy positions.

It must have occurred to some observers in the NPP that if the Central Region had not swung the elections, the NPP's own stronghold of Ashanti Region would have let the party down. The NPP won its "World Bank" all right but the NDC did extremely well there too!

Other observers must be asking why the NPP did not do well at all in the country's Zongos. The three plum constituencies of Tamale were snatched away from the NPP and so on. What's the state of the party in the Diaspora?

In a lot of these instances it's been more of party policy/strategy failure than anything else that caused the misses and near misses.

It is not too early to start planning for 2008, which is just around the corner. If the political madness being exhibited by the NDC at present is anything to go by, then the NPP should know that it has a big fight on its hands from now, all the way to 2008.

It would have to look near, far and wide for the human and other resources that would be necessary for the protection and defence of the political ramparts and execution of Election 2008.

Ominously, the issue of who would be succeeding President Kufuor promises to lead to a bloody fight to the end and could most definitely spell doom for the party not only in the 2008 Elections, but also in the overall survival of the party as a functioning political unit.

This is an issue the NPP MUST NOT take for granted - everybody, it seems, wants to be president and ready to bulldoze all the way!

Then there is the crucial issue of doctrine, which somehow has not featured very prominently in the way the NPP has conducted its affairs so far. Doctrinaire issues have generally been left to the occasional mention of "our liberal democratic traditions".

But what are they and who are the party spokesmen and women versed enough in this ideology to let it impact on the way the NPP pursues policy and strategy? There is work to be done between now and 2008 - a lot of work - and there can be no leaving things to chance and goodwill alone.

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