AN ACCRA-based legal brains and human rights activist, Mr. Francis Kojo Smith, has predicted the doom of his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the upcoming 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. According to him, his prediction would materialize if solutions were not found to the current economic hardship that has stirred up the citizenry's complaints, the perception of tribalism and weak party leadership among others.
“There is the possibility that the party would break up if the party did not satisfy the needs of the people. I have attended various constituency meetings and the party members are grumbling and with the reports on the ground, if the government fails to satisfy the people, it would not be good for the party.”
Speaking to The Chronicle on a wide range of issues over the weekend, he said, “We must be bold to confront the negative perceptions about the party. We must fight hard to discard the NPP's image of tribalism, weak leadership, party corruption and arrogance,” stressing that the way the NPP is eroding was unfortunate.
Mr. Smith continued, describing the party as, “a party of incompetence, a party for the few and not for the many, a party which appears to be all packaging and no substance and out of touch. These perceptions have to change drastically.
We have to accept that there are a lot of things that are awfully wrong with the NPP and that it needs courage to put things right.”
According him, there is also the need to create a political road map of the 21st century with a clear vision of the future, setting the agenda and getting ahead. “An unexamined life is not worth living, we need to examine ourselves and correct issues.”
The NPP stalwart who stated that currently, there is no direction for the government, said, “I believe that loyalty to the party matters most, as leaders may come and go but the party will always remain. We have to make the party, a party of aspiration instead of creating one nation and one people.”
Mr. Smith who is also interested in the general secretary position of the party and says he would any moment from now, hold a press conference to announce his intention, dismissed the assertions within the rank and file of the NPP that the party has deepened democracy. “There is no democracy now. At the moment, the way the party's constitution is, there is no democracy. The party' s constitution needs to be reviewed or modernized for the better future of the party; we need to have one man one vote but not one nation one man.”
Mr. Smith, counsel for Dr. Nyaho-Nyaho Tamakloe, the former embattled chairman of the Ghana Football Association, who said he would be leading the cause for the constitution's amendments, described the NPP as a 'brand name,' explaining that this was because the party metamorphosed from All People's Party and others.
Expatiating on why the party would break up if concerted efforts are not taken to arrest the trend, he said the danger that looms ahead of the party is the apprehension and the grumbling that the NPP is an Akan affair. “It is a stain that we need to remove.”
He refused to give the ample assessment of the government, adding that it was extremely difficult for him to give an accurate balanced sheet just as others have adopted a wait and see attitude until the second term of President John Agyekum Kufuor is over.
Dismissing development in the country, Mr. Smith observed that there is no development. “For me, I see things moving very slowly and I don't see the direction of the NPP government. I don't even know the direction in which the Golden Age of Business is going. Business is not the priority of this country. The priority should be education. It is rather unfortunate that people are suffering and we are talking about development.”
He had a lot of reservations about HIPC and bemoaned the rate of begging by the nation from donor countries since the nation, Ghana can produce by itself.
On the decongestion exercise, Mr. Smith, also a veteran journalist, said though the process was good, the timing was wrong, adding that it was done without human face.
The NPP guru, who stated that his vision for the NPP is to help create a party machinery that would continue to win elections again and again, expressed disgust about what he termed working on adhoc planning.
According to him, currently, Ghanaian politics is ripe enough to heal the rift between the CPP and the UP traditions in Ghanaian politics, adding that throughout the past 40 years of Ghana's politics, military interventions had split the ranks of progressive forces and impeded their progress.
“Present Ghanaian politics does not need a dogmatic statist party, but to embrace the concept of individual responsibility, self-reliance and civic rather than state action.
If we are to win this century, we need a new progressive politics, welcoming change and reaching out to all sections of the community, reshaping the political map of Ghana and whether we like it or not, change can never be resisted, change is the basis of the new progressive coalition because it affects all, as all Ghanaians want an active government that will make change work for them and not against them.