The Dean of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, (UPSA), has attributed the challenges confronting the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) reorganisation bid to four thematic issues.
Prof Ernest Kofi Abotsi believes that the major opposition party’s problems are in the nature of historical, ideological, structural as well as what he describes as peculiar dynamics.
Speaking to Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of Newsfile on JoyNews, Saturday, the astute law professor said that the challenges of the NDC are reflected in good intentions but badly expressed.
According to him, it appears that the rank and file of the party acknowledged the challenges bedeviling the NDC but the way and means to deal with it has become a herculean task.
His comments follow what appears to be a leadership crisis in the party with some leading members demanding accountability of the NDC performance in the Election 2020 and the subsequent dismissal of its presidential petition from the Supreme Court.
Prof Abotsi indicated that these internal wrangling must be dealt with ahead of the next general elections in 2024.
Below is Prof. Ernest Kofi Abotsi’s chronicle of NDC’s woes:
The formation of the party itself reflects its own dynamic. There are those who think of themselves as owners of the party and then they see others as newcomers. There are those who were with the PNDC in the trenches and the NDC was formed, and they saw themselves as owners of this party and then some people were latter day saints so to speak.
That dynamic has not left the party. It is still there and it is reflected sometimes in comments of people who think that others do not have not only the moral wherewithal but do not have the legitimacy it takes to argue and speak the way some members or owners of the party or those who see themselves as owners are. So the tension between owners and new members are still there.
There is also the issue of factions. Unfortunately the NDC has suffered the issue of factions. Once you have some people claiming allegiance to one faction or the other. You have the Late President Mills, Late President Rawlings and then the Former President Mahama.
So you have people who owe allegiances to these personalities and some are open about them while others are subtle about them. Factions divide and destroy parties. That is a major issue; the issues about factions and allegiances.
The third issue under historical, is the issue of the relationship with the founder prior to his death. The founder just like Nkrumah does no wrong.
Till today, all the people who have strong allegiances to the CPP will see nothing wrong with Ex-President Nkrumah.
Founders turn to have a certain messianic attitude about them as far as the party is concerned and for these people anyone who stands against them; that conflict will be resolved in favour of the founder.
The NDC continues to experience the difficulty with the relationship with the founder particularly in the latter days of his years before his untimely death.
The NDC is a unitary party as opposed to a corporate party. This distinction I make, comparing the two parties of the NDC and the NPP. The NDC which traces its route for example to the CPP.
The CPP was formed by Nkrumah. The NDC itself was formed by Jerry Rawlings so to speak. It was a party that was founded around Jerry Rawlings and I think people do not dispute the fact that he is the founder. So it was not formed by him but founder around him.
The NPP just as it started in the Danquah-Busia days of the UGCC, it was formed by a group of peers and so there was a recognition that nobody really owns the party.
Now, these two parties tend to come with different dynamics. If you have a party which is founded around one person or a founder who lived until recently, then the founder’s role, powers, authority and people who stand in opposition to the founder; all these dynamics tend to challenge the party and party’s ways of doing things.
In case of the NDC, you have the founder’s role, Council of Elders and you have these various constituencies of people holding allegiance to different people, all creating factional difficulties that the party has to deal with.
The NDC at the moment, there are some people who think too much is given to the grassroots. There are others who think they are losing grip of the grassroots and the party has been hijacked and hanging in there and is not really linking and connecting to its base.
Until you have this addressed, you are going to have problems because politics is about numbers. Any constituency lost, represents a weakness for the party and so when you have the grassroots that are disconnected from the party, actual or perceived.
When you have some people thinking that the moderates who are the new members of the party are as it were giving the party a new coloration and the party is beginning to lose its way. Then you have some of the difficulties and the tendencies that you have recently of having a major meeting going on in Ho and then you have simultaneously an accountability meeting going on somewhere else; and the question of whether it is proper, the timing, whether it undermines the party’s viability, whether that can be exploited by an opposing party; all these difficulties coming up have to be dealt with.
The NDC is the only party with a Former President (John Mahama) who was a candidate in an election that they lost recently and it is the only party with a Former President who is still in the running; who qualifies. He is eligible and therefore potentially have the ambition of running again.
This leverages the threats. The leverage of being a Former President with the capacity to stand again with the influence that he exerts, with the prospects of marketing and with all the other dynamics that makes him a front runner. For those who want to run, that is a threat.
For those who feel the prospect of standing again, his (John Mahama) leverage will represent in their opinion a clay soil because they have estimated that the recent election was lost but they (NDC) brought in a different dynamic that indeed even though he lost elections, the Parliament that we have at the moment is unprecedented in the annals of Ghana’s history.
The most important point is this; one can look at the pros and cons of his (John Mahama) candidature but the most important characteristic feature of all that is happening now is that they represent early salvos of 2024. A lot of these things that are happening today, people just cannot declare them openly but people are making projections into 2024 and they are throwing salvos with the view to seeing the extent to which they can demoralise the side against which those salvo are thrown.
Conflict is inevitable in politics. What is not inevitable is the exclusive conflicts. The NPP has gone through this before. Some people have even lost their membership of the NPP but the party stood.
The disunity is the stuff of which defeat is made in politics and so if you handle your conflicts publicly as it is ongoing at the moment and if the conflict appears to be invigorating and is going out of control, there is a danger that some of these factions or perceived factions may become perpetualised. If that happens, you will have a real problem in terms of how you are short up power.
I think it is imperative that the NDC tries to resolve a lot of their conflicts particularly quietly so that it does not get played out in the media.
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