Lang T.K.A. Nubuor
Today, a basic principle for the anti-neo-colonial struggle of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) is that it is the struggle of our people, and that it is our people who must wage it, and therefore its result is ultimately for our people. Obviously a people’s struggle is effectively theirs if the reason for that struggle is based on the aspirations and the desire for justice and progress of the people themselves and not on the aspirations, dreams or ambitions of a single individual who contradicts the actual interests of the people of Ghana.
Kweku Dadzie, CPP: Anti-Nduom Victorious! Political Slate Clean! Not Yet Uhuru!
The December 28, 2011 press conference that Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom addresses ‘to declare (his) resolve to work with like-minded men and women from all over the country, to form a very focused, vibrant, independent-minded and progressive Political Movement to contest the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections’ has all the ingredients that a non-Nkrumaist political movement features. Apart from the avoidance of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s name in the entire speech Dr. Nduom makes it crystal clear that his intended political movement is not directed by any ideology.
‘Unlike the other Ghanaian political parties, we are not selling an ideological mission to the Ghanaian people. We are Pragmatists.’ he tells us. As a Pragmatist, Dr. Nduom is committed to the reform of the neo-colonial state. He has a platform with an agenda to ‘Reform state institutions’. By this he intends to make the government of the neo-colonial state ‘efficient and raise revenue to pay public servants well to motivate them facilitate the work of the private sector and Ghanaian society in general’. If this is not a statement of the capitalist neo-colonial ideological position then what else is? So that contrary to Dr. Nkrumah’s position that the neo-colonial state must be replaced, he, like Hon. Samia Nkrumah, rather seeks to strengthen it for the private sector.
Dr. Nkrumah explains that a reform does not lead to a progress out of the existing state system but rather seeks to maintain it in its essence while making mere concessions to the aggrieved sections of society to sustain the survival of that system. It seeks to forestall a revolution that brings about that kind of progress. That explains the kind of change Dr. Nduom is anxious to make to maintain existing property relations whereby a few control the wealth created by all; for, the dangerously existing explosive situation in Africa and the world promises a revolution to place nationally-created wealth in the hands of the majority.
It is only within the context and on the basis of this fundamental concern that we can understand Dr. Nduom’s choice of Pragmatism as his guiding light. For, Pragmatism, which he cautiously spells with a capital ‘S’ to emphasize its political and philosophical but not its ordinary meaning, is that orientation that emphasizes changes within a system but not over and above it. Hence, his commitment to the neo-colonial system as against Dr. Nkrumah’s radical opposition to it should be seen as an important reason why he makes no reference to the author of Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. He has no need for him.
The current desperate state of neo-colonialism in Africa and world imperialism occasions desperate measures. The concentration of power in the hands of the desperate elite becomes an article of faith, a dire necessity for maintaining the existing order. That explains why in his speech Dr. Nduom takes a special note of the presidential system and seeks to effect such constitutional amendment that would strengthen it contrary to calls by the other parties to reduce the President’s powers. This, again, explains why he calls this the ‘new direction’. It is a direction that makes the President the one who determines the direction of events.
In this respect, he states that by the terms of the New Direction, ‘It is the President who makes or doesn’t make things happen’. To emphasize the personal, and dictatorial and fascist, nature of the Presidency he adds that ‘this new direction should stress the personal comparison rather than party consideration’. The President, so to speak, is independent of his own party. To have him independent of parliament, under the facade of strengthening the legislature, a constitutional amendment will ‘abolish the provision that allows Ministers of State to also serve as Members of Parliament’. That is, Ministers are subject to him alone.
In this kind of presidential system, the New Direction says ‘the president … will cooperate with parliament and forge an effective partnership to ensure agreement on an urgent agenda for the accelerated development of Ghana’. So that by the projections of the New Direction the President, with newly enhanced and personal powers, becomes more amenable to cooperating with Parliament than as obtains in the current situation when the unenhanced powers of the President are considered too much by the other parties and render such cooperation below expectation. That is, the President cooperates if given more powers.
Nduomian New Direction has further intentions of eliminating party control over the President. In the first place, the President does not need to be associated with a political party’s representative(s) in Parliament in order to become a President. The suggestion here is that an independent candidate without a political party that has members in Parliament can be elected President of the country. Dr. Nduom’s own words are that ‘we hold the view that one does not need to have an affiliated seat in parliament to become President. We are governed by a presidential system and not a parliamentary system.’ (Actually, ours is a hybrid of the two).
And, secondly, where a presidential candidate is supported by a political party/movement the latter can only be an election machine: meaning that the party’s/movement’s work ends with the electoral process; after the election it has no further work to do, work like ensuring that he complies with the party’s/movement’s programme. He says this in two different ways. Firstly, he says ‘Our new political movement aims to present a credible, united, disciplined and well-organised election machine that is coupled with a clear, specific Platform for Change …’ Secondly, he states that that movement’s ‘goal is to contest the 2012 elections … This journey must end in the Flagstaff House. That, my friends, is our destination.’ The journey, he says, started in 2008.
Note that the Platform for Change, even before the political movement is inaugurated, has been spelt out in the 10-point Agenda attached to the speech. And, again, even before the projected political movement could open up nominations for its presidential candidate, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom declares himself to be its candidate. Hence, he sets the tone for a New Directionist regime where the political movement has nothing to do with the composition of the Platform which the candidate single-handedly churns out and, in case of electoral victory, implements.
In fact, Dr. Nduom has no primordial need for a political party. His speech makes it clear that his preference is for a political movement in which like-minded persons come together for purposes of elections. The electoral laws, he says, compel the transformation of the movement into a party. Else…? Once again, this is how he puts it: ‘We are a Political Movement guided by an agenda for change. Unfortunately, the Ghanaian electoral laws do not permit a collective of independent like-minded people to use the same platform and symbol for presidential and parliamentary campaigns. So we will by necessity convert from Political Movement to become a political party.’ (All emphasis added)
In case the reader has difficulties in seeing the import of the distinction of a political party from a political movement, we pause here to explain that a political movement, like the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S.A. or the North Africa and Middle East movements, does not have a formal leadership whereas a political party has a Constitution and Regulations that outline, among others, how its leaders are elected and held accountable and is also registered as such by an Electoral Commission which is a state organ. A mass political party evolves out of a mass political movement.
That calls our attention to Dr. Nduom’s declaration that ‘Ours is a mass movement, a collective, that is not based on any one individual and one that will depend on merit and hard work to determine who occupies what leadership position.’ Such a mass movement is historically set in motion by a spontaneous demand for some particular change. From the speech, we glean bits of that demand as the true yearning for ‘a new political force in Ghana … of all independent and progressive-minded people who want something different from what has been offered by the political parties so far in the Fourth Republic.’
Putting these elements together, he renders it all thus: ‘Ours is a broad-based national Movement with people who have been crying for the “change we need” after experiencing NDC and NPP administrations that have not delivered to their expectations.’ The speech, in spite of its promise to convert this mass movement into a political party, ends up calling on ‘all Ghanaians to join our progressive Political Movement now so that we can build the alternative that will bring the change we need’. This political movement will be inaugurated ‘in the next two months at a national convention’. It has the 10-point Agenda to be implemented ‘when our candidate is made President of the Republic of Ghana come January 2013’ as its Platform.
Nothing is heard of a political party. Interesting indeed, this is. Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom is aware that a political movement will not be registered to field candidates for both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Only a political party whose candidates could be subjected to its discipline can be registered. He is clearly intent on creating a platform that can get him and some like-minded persons elected as independent candidates to the Presidency and Parliament respectively without being held accountable by such a platform for their performance in Government.
This is certainly a novelty in African political practice and history. Only an extremely crafty mind can fashion it out. What is of great importance in these manoeuvrings is that Dr. Nduom has correctly gauged the political temperature and discerns the emerging spontaneous mass movement against the entire political Establishment which movement he seeks to hijack so as to deplete it of any revolutionary potential. Like the North African situation, he hopes to assume that leadership with absolute powers to pacify such a scene for the essential retention of the neo-colonial system from which he personally benefits.
Masquerading under the cloak of a progressive-minded leader misdirecting the revolutionary mass movement into a reform movement, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom indeed operates upon the realization that only a determined fascist dictatorship can contain the threatening situation. Not surprisingly, he uses the word ‘progressive’ often as most fascists do – taking the wind out of the sail of truly progressive forces. His loud anxiety to be a President with enhanced powers exercised in independence of a legislature with no in-built checks on such powers stems from his seeing the danger, which his class compatriots do not see or take lightly, and yet not being in the position to immediately defuse it at the embryonic stage.
When Hon. Samia Nkrumah accuses him of ‘indiscipline’ and sees only ‘nonsense’ in his acts she betrays a less discerning mind as to the urgencies underpinning his behaviour. The gentleman is desperate. He sees what his colleagues in the major parties do not see. Thus, they do nothing about it in the face of all the opportunities that they presumably have; while he is helplessly without such opportunities. Let it be understood by progressive forces that the man is not really a fool. He is not an ignoramus but a full-blooded politically conscious animal that sniffs the scent of danger from a distance of five million miles. They must heed to the call of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to prevent the misdirection of the revolutionary potential.
It might explode in their face in a state of unpreparedness. This is the time not only to monitor the evolving spontaneous mass movement in terms of its consent and desire for change but also develop a political party from it to direct it while it also controls that party. The mass movement was discerned long ago by Dr. Nkrumah as a revolutionary mass movement with its revolutionary party and revolutionary armed force that marches across the borders crushing the neo-colonial regimes to liberate and unite Africa under a People’s Republican State of Africa.
When Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom says that ‘A new future beckons but it will not come into being unless we make a break from the old way of doing things. The time for action is now’ he speaks with the insight as well as instinct and meaning of a reactionary mind-set but not a fool. Revolutionaries must repeat it to themselves with the insight as well as instinct and meaning of a revolutionary mind-set. Not a word must be subtracted from it. Not a word must be added to it.
Finally, the quote from Kweku Dadzie at the head of this article shows the ideological current that Dr. Nduom has been contending with all along within the CPP. That he should take a court action against Kweku Dadzie to shut the latter up shows the depth of desperation that opposition to his neo-colonial enterprise caused him to opt out of the CPP. It was an ideological defeat that pushed him out of the party. And it was a triumph of the anti-neo-colonial Cause led by the CPP Youth who now have the task of getting Hon. Samia Nkrumah, the party leader, to commit herself in speech and deed to the Nkrumaist Agenda for the liberation and unification of Africa under the socialist People’s Republican State of Africa. Else, a similar struggle must be waged to force her out with her fellow travellers. We congratulate the CPP Youth.
Forward Ever, Backward Never. Amandla! Ngawethu!