NPP AS A PARTY WITHOUT AN IDEOLOGY OR NATIONAL VISION
(Important Self-Critical Observations on How NPP lost the 2008 National Elections: An Insider’s Analysis)
Dr. G.A. Agambila
(Former NPP Deputy Finance Minister)
Culled from the Ghanaian Chronicle of January 13, 2009 by Ghanaweb on July 14, 2012)
SPECIAL NOTE: Although CENCSA is opposed to the bourgeois and neo-colonial state system and dedicates its pages to finding ways and means of replacing it with the socialist state structure of the People’s Republican State of Africa, as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah defines it, we reproduce the article below to give our readers an insight from withinthe reactionary forces regarding their own understanding of their respective concerns: money and power. They quarrel over which one to capture first. Dr. Nkrumah teaches us how to build the People’s Power in such a way that the masses exercise power in the interest of themselves. Bourgeois democratic elections cannot ever make that possible. Kindly read the following carefully. But, first, you may watch above how the election in question went .
Why is it that a political tradition that traces its origins to the 1940s, and won its first free and fair election only in 2000, lost power so soon and so painfully, now risks decline?
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has lost power because its leadership desired money first, and power second. The National Democratic Congress (NDC), by contrast, pursued power first, and money second. The December 2008 election has allowed both parties to be rewarded with what they valued most.
The NPP leadership has since 2001 become wealthy. Don’t ask me to bring the evidence, ask the 17 presidential aspirants how much their campaigns cost, and where they got the money to finance them. So long as the NPP leadership is motivated first and foremost by money, and the NDC by an unquenchable thirst for power, the NDC will govern, and the NPP will pursue private business interests.
Many of us who entered the political fray in 2000 did so in the now naïve assumption that our leadership desired power to develop Ghana, fight corruption and deepen democracy. In short, to realize the dreams of our fathers emblazoned on our national crest – Freedom and Justice.
The NDC has now come into the shade from the hot sun. We have a saying that a fool falls asleep in the shade, unaware that the sun will soon scorch him. The longevity of the NDC’s stay in the shade will depend on whether the NPP can reorganize itself, and (more importantly) whether the NDC will, in the fullness of time, crumble from within, due to gluttony and the inevitable internal power struggles.
The sources of the NDC’s power struggles are legion – Rawlings versus Mills, remnants of the NDC era versus pragmatists/conservatives of the post-constitutional era, ethnic tugs of war involving Ewes, Fantis and Northerners, etc.. And there is of course the population’s inevitable disillusionment with the NDC. The people believe, literally, that the NDC will reduce the cost of fuel, health, education and a multitude of other costs. No such thing will happen. And when the disillusionment sets in, the NPP will afford a wan smile.
WHICH MAFIA TO BLAME
The NPP’s fall from grace to grass can, secondly, be traceable, not to the Akyem Mafia (as ’Maame Coomson’ asserts), but to the Castle Mafia.
What are the failures of the Castle Mafia? First, the Castle Mafia lacked interest in solving any national problem unless it involved either procurement or the sale of assets. Examples of national problems that received eight years of neglect are corruption in such critical governance institutions as the Police, the Judiciary, and other public services, public sector reform, pair trawling, national identification, and sanitation. The half-hearted feints at these particular problems were constrained by procurement opportunities. Yet, these are problems that touch the lives of Ghanaians. It is out of this preoccupation with the politics of procurement that the government brought such embarrassments as the IFC and CNTI ‘loan’ agreements.
That our national debt is still about $6 billion (post-HPIC debt reliefs) is eloquent testimony to this ravenous attachment to the politics of procurement. Much of this debt has been incurred in practically sole source procurement arrangements. The folly of the Valco purchase was similarly motivated by the politics of procurement (where shall Ghana find the cheap electricity to feed Valco? What cost-benefit analysis was done to justify a government pursuing a divestiture programme, getting into a business it knows little about?)
That reminds me; Question: whatever happened to the much-touted Presidential Special Initiatives (PSIs)? Answer: They were touched by the gangrenous hand of the politics of procurement.
The Castle Mafia pursued policies whose only useful purpose was to help galvanize the NDC and get them battle-ready for the elections of December 2008. A few examples may drive home this point. ROPAB or ROPAL. The NPP did not implement it and any implementation could bankrupt our country. The rush to pass this bill filled our streets with NDC hotheads and their sympathizers.
TRIALS OF TSATSU AND KONADU
The incarceration of Tsatsu Tsikata and the trial of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings: these two trials helped the NDC energize its troops, gave them an emotional cause around which to rally, fight and die for the NDC. If Tsatsu was so guilty, why the last-minute Presidential pardon? Only time will tell if these flirtations will be requited. I understand the case against Konadu is weak, and I will not be surprised if the case is abandoned (or you prefer to believe that the Father and Founder will still be going to court?). What good has come to the NPP or the people of Ghana from these trials?
The Castle Mafia had other better examples to demonstrate their abhorrence of willful causation of losses to the state, but would not use them. The Castle Mafia thought it was okay to ‘leave northerners to solve their own problems’ when it came to the Dagbon and other problems. The NDC propaganda machinery feasted daily on these issues. A day hardly passed without Radio Gold trumpeting ‘the death of the Ya Na and forty others,’ and the ‘death of Issa Molbila.’ While our support was being eroded this way, some NPP supporters sanctimoniously blamed ‘northerners’ for being too hot-headed and violent.
JAKE: A PROPHET WITHOUT A CHURCH
The Castle Mafia believed that what they could not do to Nananom of their towns and villages, they could do to Nii Mɛi. Hence, they sold government land to themselves, friends, clansmen, and many others willing to make a deal. A man once came to the building I lived in (next to Rawlings) and told us he was from the Zenith Bank and had bought the house and the next one belonging to Valco. All this was without the knowledge of the relevant government agencies. The sale of Ga land was another rallying point for the NDC. As Jake presciently said, no party has won the Presidency without Greater Accra. And so it came to pass that Jake became an accurate prophet (without a church).
The Castle Mafia did not think Ghana was good enough for them to stay in – hence, a commitment to frequent travel (with the incidental benefit of unaccountable imprests). Even a woman deeply in love can tolerate only so much absence from her loved one; prolonged absence does not a fond heart make; it makes the heart to wander. And in this case, into the waiting arms of the seductive NDC.
I could go on but this paper does not have the space and you don’t have the time to read a complete catalogue of Castle Mafia failings. Let me therefore summarize by saying that the Castle Mafia suffered from a Samson syndrome (the Samson of Delilah fame): Alan Cash or no NPP President. DCEs and Regional Ministers who had already been selected as our Parliamentary Candidates were dismissed for insufficient fealty to Alan Cash. Is this the action of a leadership that wants its party to win the coming elections?
The opposition Presidential Candidate was singled out for national honours; will President Bush have done same to Obama before the U.S. elections? While former President Rawlings was campaigning in hot dusty villages of the North, the Castle folks were gallivanting abroad, sipping wine in cooler climes.
A PARTY WITHOUT AN IDEOLOGY OR NATIONAL VISION
Finally, the blame for the failure of the NPP rests on its executives at all levels: polling station, constituency, regional and national. They too prefer money to power. Being a party without an ideology or national vision, many of our members naturally tend to pursue personal pecuniary goals (borrowing from Thomas Hobbes about a property-owning democracy is not an ideology, certainly not for these enlightened times).
I know from personal experience that you cannot call a meeting of NPP activists, without sending them away with some money and/or food and drink. And money that is given for political activities often sticks to the pockets of the recipients, leaving political work undone or poorly executed.