THE FORMER Majority Leader in Parliament and ex-Minister of Agriculture in the administration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. J.H. Owusu Acheampong, has strongly waded into the unending ecstasy of the party in last Thursday's bye-election of Asawase in the Ashanti Region.
He said with the NDC widening the gap in the election, all signals point to the fact that it was a popular demand of the masses to change the government, due to its harsh policies.
According to him, the victory of the NDC in Asawase did not only give a clarion or a wake up call to the NPP to rethink about the plight of the ordinary, due to the fuel price hikes, but also served as a litmus test to the NPP beside giving hope to the NDC to form the next government.
He said all the handwritings on both the walls and the faces of the electorate in Asawase point also to the fact that they are absolutely disillusioned with the policies of the NPP.
Mr. Owusu-Acheampong made this observation when this paper sought his views on the recent by-election and the way forward for the party yesterday.
"Our victory in Asawase, to me, looks like the people who support the NDC in the constituency are more than NPP and I hope that, that place or the seat would be in the hands of the NDC for a long time. There is a school of thought that the constituents are now fed up with the NPP, with their harsh policies."
According to the former Minister of Agriculture, though he does not want the NDC leadership to be complacent over unmeasurable vigilance mounted at the various poling stations, which saw the party into victory, it indicated that people are now yeaning for a change of government or personality just as it happened in Ablekuma Central, where the ruling government, then NDC, lost to the then opposition NPP.
"There is nothing that we could do now to change the government except that we would endure the hardship for the next years to come for us to go to polls to change the government. There cannot be any election for now until 2008, I plead that we hold on to our sufferings until 2008 since NPP is refusing to listen to the plight of the ordinary," he said.
Elaborating further on why the electorate did not vote for the NPP inspite of all efforts to wrest the seat from the NDC, Mr. Acheampong stated that the electorate did not vote for the NPP because the policies of the government were biting them, "and that was why they refused to vote. They are protesting against the party."
Commending the party leadership and those who matter in retaining the Asawase seat, the former Minister noted that though the people are disillusioned with the government, there is no way the NPP would adhere to the calls. He pre-empted that difficult times await all and sundry.
"Things are getting out of hand and the people have now realized that the NPP is not a party that cares for the ordinary," he pointed out.
The NDC guru expressed worry about the decline of the timber industry and lamented about the cry of the poultry farmers, cotton farmers and mining companies.
Reacting to Mr. Harona Esseku, the NPP chairman's press conference after the bye-election, Mr. Acheampong said it was a defeatist attempt to dodge the real issues on the ground. "For me, it was an excuse to run way from the realities to accept that they have lost. The NPP is clearly anti-ordinary."
Turning his attention to the party, he prevailed upon its members to consolidate on the supports now and continue to engage in re-organization to ensure that the NDC wrests more seats from the NPP dominated areas. "We should, as a party, concentrate on re-organizing ourselves with the sole aim of not only winning more votes but also to wrest more seats from the NPP strongholds. This is because the generality of the Akans believe that the NPP is their party. We must try to break that myth. I want to appeal to the party to encourage party executives to adopt the same strategy adopted in Asawase.
This should be a practice for the next elections simply because the agents cannot be influenced as it happened in our last general elections."