More job for the boys?
AN aspiring General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Ferdinand Ayim (pictured) has promised grassroots party activists and functionaries of the party the benefits of a “commitment dividend” if he assumes the chair that currently sits vacated by Information Minister, Dan Botwe at the Kokomlemle headquarters of the party. His bold statement, which was first made on radio Wednesday, may be described as a promise to deliver 'more jobs for the boys'. But, he fiercely dismisses this as “simplistic” and defends it as “legitimate and proper” for a leader to seek to look after the interest of his people. Speaking to The Statesman after a strong demonstration of his vision for the party on Joy FM last Wednesday, Mr Ayim defined his “commitment dividend” concept as the “reward for sacrifice, commitment and devotion to the cause of our tradition and party” by the rank and file, especially. His 'manifesto' appears tailored to respond to the apparent feeling of discouragement among NPP activists. The ruling party has been internally criticised for not charting a convenient and legitimate balance between its policy of all-inclusive good governance and taking care of its own. Capacity Building Expatiating further, Mr Ayim said that what he proposes will come in the form of “capacity building, personal enrichment programmes and confidence enhancement measures that will engender job opportunities and financial empowerment for those on whose backs this party was built and carried from the harrowing pits of opposition to the satisfying and well-deserved summit of power and government.” Insisting that his philosophy is very much in order and acceptable as a political practice all over the world, Mr Ayim referred to a statement by NDC presidential candidate, Prof Atta Mills during the 2004 election campaign that it was only those who contributed to the NDC's campaign effort who would be part of his government and the perks thereof. The aspiring General Secretary said that his concept did not in any way conflict with the NPP government's policy of good governance and equal opportunities for all. “The NPP government has been the most all-inclusive government in the political history of this country, departing from the practice of winner-takes-all to a refreshing system of winner-share-with-all. However, I am speaking like the head of a family who seeks the interest of his family members first and foremost. What is wrong with that especially if that family has one of its kith as the chief? Ghana is calling for democracy dividends for its continuous stay on the democratic path. What is wrong with NPP members whose sacrifice, sweat, toil, tolerance and maturity has given birth to this day for Ghana receiving an acknowledgement and appreciation of their laudable show of faith that has helped deepen democracy in Ghana?” he argued. While this may come across as highly controversial he defends it with gusto. “Those people I am referring to have gone through a lot - deprivations, persecutions, witch-hunting and unduly violent actions simply because they would not bend to the needs of the powers that be. One needs to have been at the receiving end in those days to really appreciate what they went through and yet persevered and kept faith with the cause. Philosophy over Deception “We need to distinguish commitment from convenience and reward those who chose principle and philosophy over deception and duplicity and showcase the former as the role models for the healthy political culture of Ghana,” he explained. The perception of disenchantment within the rank and file of the ruling party has been partially attributed to not having their personal expectations of direct economic benefits fulfilled after winning power since 2001. Speaking on “Gabby's Airtime” on TV3 last Monday, the NPP National Youth Organiser explained that the Kufuor administration has not been sectarian in its share of the national cake, unlike the Rawlings administration. He said, as it had been the practice under the NDC, NPP party activists expected to be given preferential treatment in state-sponsored projects and programmes at the district level. Favouritism But, Mr Ayim does not see a contradiction between Mustapha Hamid's explanation of the apparent current NPP policy against favouritism and his support for it. Mr Ayim sees the Government as reasonably separate from the party. “I see nothing wrong with a General Secretary or a constituency chairman championing the legitimate cause of a party member through legitimate channels. If there is an opportunity going I want to actively encourage party members to go for it.” He said that apart from fighting to ensure that businessmen, workers and all those whose efforts contributed to the fortunes of the party in its transformation from opposition to government, get their fair share of the national cake, his tenure would work to provide skills for the most unfortunate ones by assisting them to access facilities like bee-keeping, snail-farming, mushroom farming and other “labour intensive but relatively sexy vocations through training programmes that are on stream at the moment.” Mr Ayim believes the party is more than just “an electoral machine” and must accordingly be grown to serve a greater purpose, giving its members a greater sense of belonging. Fundraising “The plan is to radically increase the fundraising capacity of the party. Get the party involved in several innovative fundraising schemes and use some of these resources to strengthen the party and its activities at the branch level. We can even introduce scratch card lottery for the public. Undertake more fun fundraising activities beyond expensive dinners which are often limited to just a very small elite class of members and sympathisers. Elsewhere, formidable political parties, like the NPP is, have social clubs, where members go to drink, eat, play games and socialise. It is also the place where policies and ideas are shared, debated and disseminated. The party must find creative and legitimate avenues to grow and make it more attractive and interesting for both existing and potential members. More so when the NPP is the only genuine show in town.” Commending government's success in creating a “stable, predictable and reliable macro-economic system in place of the fluid, chaotic and frightening economic system of the past,” Mr Ayim said that it is now time to take advantage of the macro-economic gains for micro-economic rewards. Triple Do He unveiled his slogan of the “historic political triple do” for the NPP and said that the benefits of the “commitment dividend” is “bound to regenerate the spirit of commitment, dedication and sacrifice in the NPP which will engender the unleashing of the energies of the rank and file for the electoral battle of 2008 which, he said, the party needs to win to continue its programme of positive change for Ghana. “Historic political triple do”, he explained, is the history the NPP needs to make by being the first political party to win a “2008 and a deserving third consecutive term” after the 2000, 2004 elections. Dismissing the NDC as “unattractive and indeed, undeserving of the people's mandate in 2008,” Mr Ayim said that the current “hiccups in the socio-economic system” notwithstanding, the NPP government has established itself as the “most courageous, visionary and progressive government in this nation's history.” He referred to the “massive and unprecedented construction works on the major arterial roads in the country, the National Health Insurance Scheme, the most ambitious social engineering programme ever to be undertaken in this country and the explosion of construction works on schools, hospitals, etc, all across the country, all benefits from the courageous HIPC decision, just to name a few”, as legacies of the NPP government over a “relatively mere four years for which those who had the luxury of almost twenty years, most of it executed in military style rule, are now green with envy.” The Special Assistant to the Tourism & Modernisation of the Capital City Minister appealed to Ghanaians to see current hardships as the darkness before the dawn and asked the NDC to assist Government to “right the numerous wrongs” of their tenure. Ambassador Hotel He referred to the recent signing of the contract for the rebuilding of the Ambassador Hotel, which he said, had been left to rot for years “while shady and crooked deals were struck over it.” He said that with the cutting of the sod for the commencement of the West African Gas Pipeline project, the reopening of VALCO soon, the establishment of a second oil refinery in Takoradi very soon and the commencement of work on the long-awaited Kyebi Bauxite project among others, “the end of the tunnel which beams the light of hope and reward for perseverance is almost here.” Symbiotic Relationship On his plans for the NPP as General Secretary, Mr Ayim said that he will “facilitate the symbiotic relationship between the party and the government in a true father and son vein to continue to deliver positive change.” He also plans to strengthen the structures of the party all the way from the polling stations through the constituencies, regions to national. With this, he said, will be a serious move to ensure a functioning and effective communication system that will facilitate the dissemination of information from the top to the bottom and obtain feedback from the bottom to the top. He also plans to establish and strengthen a research and propaganda department that “will be tenacious in the propagation of government pluses and ruthless in countering opposition lies and deceit.” The aspiring General Secretary, who was the founding Managing Editor of the “NPP News” which he kept alive from 1995 to 2001, said that to sustain all his plans and programmes for the party, he will set up a newspaper for the party “that will endure for all times and keep hope alive for all and sundry.”