Let The Bloodbath Begin In Earnest

Since the crucial elections of December 7, 2020, a lot of “noise” has been introduced into not only the internal discourse of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), but circuitously into the broader national discourse. This noise appears twofold although essentially it is a distinction without a difference since they are a function of the same dynamics within the party. The first noise arose from the nearly ignominious defeat of the party that had wielded national power in the preceding four years through a super popular mandate given to it by the electorate.
Mismanagement of Party Processes at the Local Level
While this development came as a shock to many a party follower and indeed to the ordinary Ghanaian or African in the continent who looked to Ghana as an exemplar of democracy, the party’s near defeat at the polls was predictable to those with the eyes to see and ears to hear. I have written consistently over the years about how this historically elitist party has metamorphosed from being a party of noble men and women of substance to a mass party of “cheerful robots”, to borrow a phrase from C. Wright Mills, an eminent American sociologist.
In contemporary times, two fundamental factors have accounted for the evolution of our party into a mass party. The first of these two factors is the social interventionist policies introduced by J.A. Kufuor that moved the party from the right to centre right in ideological speak. Key among these social interventionist policies by Kufuor was the school feeding programme, the National Insurance Scheme, the Maternity benefits for pregnant women and countless others that strengthened the safety net for ordinary folk.
The second factor that engendered the attraction of the masses of Ghanaians to the party was of course the expansion of the party’s Electoral College that sought to empower the polling station executives and was the brainchild of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo when the party was still in opposition.
I have written elsewhere that these two monumental developments in the 21st century have had the net effect of turning the fortunes of the party around in terms of making it competitive electorally. However, truth be told, their unintended consequence has been that they have compromised the exemplary behaviour of individual party members and the systemic discipline that has always been the sine qua non of this proud political tradition.
Without mincing words, the Danquah-Busia-Dombo political tradition now has in its midst elements of unprintable characters, charlatans and agitators who have failed to imbibe the fine principles, beliefs, and traditions that have always set the party apart from other parties in the political firmament. To add insult to injury, these charlatans by their sheer numbers, have succeeded in displacing the voices of reason in the party by capturing the levers of power from the branch to the national levels.
In the lead up to the 2020 elections, the rather uncouth behaviours of some of these executives at the local level led to a total breakdown in party discipline when to ensure the protection of personal parochial interests, they engaged in all kinds of shenanigans in disqualifying competent candidates who could win their constituency seats for the party. Many sensible, but side lined members of the party in some regions and constituencies predicted the abysmal performance of the party and lo and behold, this is what happened.
In the melee that followed the messy primaries preceding the elections, such prominent members of the party as J.A. Kufuor, Gabby Otchere-Darko, Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, etc. drew attention to the dire consequences of such undemocratic antics of some these leaders. However, because the national executives acquiesced in some of this noise at the constituency and regional levels, they failed to give this warning the traction it needed to stop this nonsense that cost us dearly.
What is lamentable about this nonsense in the lead up to the 2020 elections is the fact that the history of what happened in 2008 was there to guide the party since this was a repetition of what happened in 2008. Expectedly, the party’s reaction was to institute the Heymann Committee to come up with the reasons for the party’s abysmal performance at the polls in 2008 and of course recommendations.
This time around, instead of another “Heymann” committee, the entire national committee has taken to the road to ostensibly learn about what they clearly knew was the reasons for the party’s poor performance in the last elections. In any normal democratic country, this collective would have resigned for failing the party.
Predictably, the dominant narrative in the party since the elections in December 2020, was the talk of the post-mortem about why we nearly suffered a humiliating defeat. Yet, as I write this piece, I am unaware of any discourse initiated by the national executive about systematically addressing the problems that caused the primaries to be that messy in specific regions.
The Bono region is one region where the party did poorly as we lost more than half of the seats we had before the elections, yet I see no effort to call the regional executives to account for such a poor showing. To add insult to injury, the Chairman of the party in this crucial region continues to make unnecessary noise on national radios and TVs about issues that have nothing to do with party organisation in the region.
As far as my home region of Bono is concerned, I came do home to assist with the campaign and after listening to the grassroots, I Specifically predicted in a write up that Dormaa Central, Sunyani West, Wenchi and the two Jarman seats were likely to fall because of the behaviour of the regional Chairman.
The Bono regional Chairman was hardly on speaking with the rest of the regional executives, notably, the indefatigable woman organizer. Rather, this Chairman’s modus operandi was to go on radios and TVs to shout and insult other politicians for attention instead of getting his hands dirty on the ground and managing the party with decorum.
Consistent with my prediction, Wenchi and the two Jarmans fell like dominoes, while Sunyani West and Dormaa Central won by a whisker! It was indeed unprecedented for Sunyani West to garner less than 50% of the vote cast in that constituency against the NDC (47%, to be exact). The writing was indeed on the wall about this debacle and I wrote about it. This Chairman arrogantly did not make any effort to rope into the campaign certain popular party stalwarts in the region until the 11th hour when staring him in the face.
This attitude of ignoring the mismanaged processes in the lead up to the national elections in 2020 in the various regions and constituencies by the national executive cuts across the country as the issue now has become moot. These regional chairpersons continue to reign supreme dishing out dirt on popular political personalities left, right and centre because they are still comfortably ensconced in their respective seats in all their glory.

The Succession Debate
While the party is grappling with the unfinished business of what could have gone wrong in the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, the onset of 2021 has thrown into the mix the issue of who succeeds Nana Akufo Addo as the party’s flag bearer after he completes his second term. In a democratic dispensation with a term limit, succession debate is natural and in order even though this time around, there has been widespread condemnation of any talk about succession.
Nevertheless, two fundamental dimensions of the succession debate are presently discernible in both the print and electronic media. First, there are those who condemn any talk of a succession debate because of the timing. According to this school of thought, this is likely to distract Nana Akufo Addo from his mandate for the second term.
The spokesperson for this viewpoint is the omnipotent Bono regional Chairman of the party who invokes some provisions in the party’s constitution to justify waiting until 2023 for the party to go to Congress to elect its flag bearer.
I this section of the piece, I wish to dissect each of these two distinct, but related issues confronting our party for the purposes of elucidating them. First, the position that the flag bearer race is too early and that the party’s constitution enjoins Congress to address this issue one year prior to the presidential and general elections is untenable under the present circumstances.
It is true that our party is wedded to constitutionalism but it is also true that at crucial moments in our history consensus has been the basis of important decisions by the party. In fact, when the Northern Peoples Party (NPP) merged with the National Liberation Movement (NLM) to form the United Party, S.D. Dombo of the former humbly declined the leadership of the new party in favour of K.A. Busia of the latter; there was no constitutional provision that underlined this arrangement.
A constitution is a function of time and space so whenever conditions on the ground warrant a consensus to address a practical issue, we should not hide behind a constitution to act to save the party. The circumstances of the December elections obviously mean that we as a party are not living in normal times so the sooner we elect leaders at all levels of the party to deal with our challenges before 2024, the better it would be for the party.
The best thing for Nana Akufo Addo to do at this point is to sit down any appointee in his administration who is interested in contesting as flag bearer and respectfully as them to resign just like former President Kufuor did. As it is now, there should be no margin of error in the execution of his mandate in this second term in positioning the party for the 2024 battle.
Besides the issue of the timing of the contestations for the Flag bearer of the party, some party faithful have proffered the view that we “acclaim” a non-Akan to take over Nana’s mantle. The leading advocate of this viewpoint is the Honourable Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader in Parliament. Much as I respect the honourable leader, it is rather unfortunate that such a quaint idea is coming from him.
First off, the honourable member’s assertion is not only illogical but most seriously, but it is tantamount to reading history sideways. In fact, it’s a historical anachronism for anybody, let alone a prominent member of the UP tradition to claim that our party is “Akanistic”, to borrow his own term.
Look, the question of who succeeds a sitting President in our country in case of incapacitation or even death is an incontrovertible issue: It is always the Vice-President who is sworn into office, regardless of his or her ethnic and or gender background. However, where a sitting president successfully completes his or her mandate, their replacement is government by the respective parties’ constitutions.
In the case of the NPP, our liberal democratic pedigree dictates that at that point in time, the party goes to Congress to elect the most competent, qualified, and electable person to lead us into battle, regardless of their ethnic background or for that matter any non-rational factor.
Our democratic credentials are best manifest when this contestation is played out across all structures of the party from branches through constituencies to the national level.
It is unfortunate that the Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu has taken the bait by our political opponents who have, since time immemorial, tagged our party as “Akanistic” without any historical facts to back such a claim. The truth of the matter is that the NPP has always being a multi-ethnic grouping of like-minded persons across the country.
One only has to consider the mammoth role by such stalwarts as F.F. Anto, Akoto Ampaw and others from the Trans-Volta, while we can hardly forget the role of the Northern Peoples Party (NPP) led by such gurus as S.D. Dombo, Djato Kaleo and others of northern extraction cannot be discounted for political expediency.
I know Dr. Bawumia through his scholarly writings some of which I have referenced in my works over the years. The man is not only a technocrat as most people know him to be, but also a solid scholar person who has written several academic papers in prestigious journals extolling the virtues of rationality as a motivator of human behaviour. Given the man’s academic qualifications and experience in governance, he will, in the fullness of time, come out to condemn any effort to pull the non-Akan card from the bottom of the deck to justify his selection as our party’s flag bearer.
Let the bloodbath begin, NPP!

Acheampong Yaw Amoateng, PhD. Is a research professor of Sociology in a South African University and a former Deputy Coordinator of the School Feeding Programme and Vice Chairman of the South African Branch of NPP.


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