That there are real concerns in the NDC today that the party needs to improve its relationship with its members, supporters and sympathisers by rewarding hard work, is not in doubt. These concerns cut across all spectrums of the party- from the very bottom to the very top- where members who have worked hard for the party at one point or the other feel side-lined when appointment opportunities come up.
This is a matter that is common knowledge in the NDC today. It is a disturbing development with obviously dire ramifications for the party, if not addressed.
The Catalyst can state on authority that almost all the various segmentations of the party; current and former national executives, seating and former members of parliament, the pro-NDC media, ordinary members, supporters and sympathisers have among them persons who feel strongly about this phenomenon and want it addressed for the good of the party.
Some say the NDC appears to be promoting and giving recognition to patronage rather than rewarding hard work, and that people who have done little or no work at all to bring the party to where it is today, including the party’s political opponents in some cases, are placed above hardworking members of the party and considered for opportunities at the expense of members who have given their all to the party over the years.
There are members of the NDC who lament political persecutions they have suffered in various forms because of the party. Some say they have spent the better part of their lives serving the NDC with utmost dedication and loyalty but feel short-changed when it is time for them to reap the fruit of their labour. Some others say they have contributed in several other ways to make the party work but lament the party leadership ignores or blocks them from taking advantage of opportunities the party throws up from time to time.
It will be unfair to the party leadership for members to expect that they all can have their needs met at one time or the other. But it is also true that sentiments of neglect, side-lining and even ingratitude on the part of the NDC leadership towards members, as regards the distribution of opportunities are rife within the party and that cannot be overlooked. The party thus needs to consider these concerns and try to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Many an NDC faithful believes that the NPP winning the 2016 election was because the NDC decided to lose it. Till date, there is a strong opinion that the NPP could not have won the last election in the first place, let alone by a so-called margin of close to a million votes.
It is perfectly in order for people who work for a course to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Therefore, when hard working NDC persons feel they have done enough to deserve recognition and reward, they certainly have a point.
Choice of Running mate
For instance, it would be appropriate for the flagbearer of the NDC in consultation with the Council of Elders of the party to, first and foremost, look critically within the party for a hardworking individual for consideration as his running mate for the 2020 election.
The choice of such a person will bring enormous benefits to the party and go a long way to serve as a positive sign in the quest to cure the perception of ‘Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’ that the party has been grappling with for some time now.
Members of groups naturally gravitate towards those they consider as one of them, and the grassroots of political parties are no exception to this natural rule. This kind of relationship takes time to build as well as break. The Catalyst can state that the NDC membership has been yearning for a choice of running mate that will reflect this principle- someone they can beat their chests and call their own. They believe such persons, with the requisite qualification to take up this responsibility, abound in the party.
We on The Catalyst associate ourselves with this demand from the grassroots of the NDC. We believe that if met, it will make the 2020 elections campaign of the party much easier than expected. This is because it is a decision that has the tendency to rejuvenate the rank and file of the party, who will be gladdened by the fact that leadership has granted their wish. It will also demonstrate a commitment by party leadership to correct the perception of neglect of its hardworking members and this will certainly motivate the rank and file of the party to work even harder for victory in 2020.
The Volta Conundrum
Another instance we can cite is the NDC’s relationship with the Volta region. There is a school of thought in the NDC today that the unprecedented low voter turnout in the Volta region in the 2016 elections contributed largely to the party’s defeat to the NPP. Sentiments in this regard are rife with claims that Volta used apathy as a weapon to punish the NDC because the region was angry with the party.
That appears to be the case. But ‘na who cause am?’ It is said that the betrayal of a friend is far worse and painful than the crime of an enemy. As far as elections in Ghana are concerned, Volta is referred to as the World Bank of the NDC. The region is however convinced that its good gesture of hard work for NDC’s electoral victories is not being reciprocated by the party.
Interestingly enough, some NDC persons still blame Volta for what happened in 2016. In the opinion of this paper however, the NDC must take the entire blame for its split relationship with Volta in the 2016 election.
It is important to point out that those contesting Volta in this regard are not doing the NDC any good. It is time for introspection. It is time for dialogue. The wise thing to do is for the NDC to overtly take full responsibly for the Volta conundrum and get to work quickly to decisively settle the issue with Volta.
If the Volta or any other part of the country- it can be a region, constituency, town or village- wants its pound of flesh from NDC governments because of their hard work that brings the party to power, it is necessary that the party pays attention and tries to figure out ways of addressing the concerns.
As far as The Catalyst is concerned, Volta, all this while, has only asked that its hard work for the NDC be properly rewarded. How can this be regarded as asking for too much?
The election of 2020 with Mr Akufo-Addo as president of Ghana and flagbearer of the NPP is a battle that will not come lying low. It will require a lot of hard work, sacrifice, commitment and dedication from NDC supporters to fight for victory. And that should make the choice of a running mate by former President Mahama to be even more strategic. That is why we think the demand of the grassroots of the NDC for a ‘party man’ as running mate is worth paying attention to. The NDC cannot take anything to chance in next year’s election.
The Bible says “The workman is deserving of his reward.” This is something the strategic thinkers and decision makers of the NDC need to pay particular attention to in choosing persons to positions within the party and future governments.
It is important to note that when hardworking party people are rewarded, the rank and file of the party is motivated to work harder, while waiting and hoping for their own turn one day. Fact is, when hardworking party persons are recognised or rewarded, the rippling effect on other members and supporters is huge and the NDC must help itself by beginning to show a rapid paradigm shift in this regard.