Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When both the horse and its rider are mad…

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It is often said that revolutions end up eating their own children. How true! Never before have we been told, though, that the children of revolutions also end up eating their own children. That is what is happening in the NDC, which is the product of a “revolution” of sorts, orchestrated by former President Jerry Rawlings.
The eating can take different forms and be triggered in many ways. For the NDC, it is in-fighting and now the problem created by Alfred Agbesi Woyome, one of the party’s major financiers. Is it not paradoxical that the very financier of the party should turn out to be the one being devoured by the party’s own grand design on “probity and accountability”? And whose misconduct is now intensifying the internal crisis?

For many years, Woyome ranked high as a major financier of the NDC whose contributions facilitated party work and helped the NDC bounce back to power. The party’s viability has depended on such financiers and the foot-soldiers who spread the message to the electorate. Now, he is an albatross.
Never has it occurred to me that such a high-ranking party financier would turn out to be the very person whose actions would dim the party’s light as we have been witnessing ever since the eruption of the scandal aroused by the fraudulent payment to him of the judgement debt.
In sum, Woyome’s scandal has combined with the existing internal factionalism within the NDC to worsen the party’s plight. As Election 2012 looms, the party risks disintegrating unless its problems are tackled with dispatch and tact. How will the tackling of the problem be done? And who will initiate action to that effect?
There may seem to be something in sight, but I wonder what it will achieve, considering where it is coming from and why. The National Chairman of the party, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, has summoned President Mills to schedule an emergency meeting within a week to address “urgent disintegrating” issues that could collapse the party ahead of the elections (Ghanaweb, February 7, 2012).
Truly, Dr. Adjei is sitting on thorns, as we can infer from the tone of his letter to President Mills. It seems he is commanding the President to do something that he, as the party’s National Chairman, should have done long ago. But within the context of the factionalism that had gripped the major players and endangered well-being in the party, he didn’t do so because he wasn’t sure where his own loyalty lay. Now, the Woyome scandal seems to have given him the rude awakening he needs to act responsibly. Haven’t the horses sped out of the stables already?
I have no doubt that Dr. Adjei’s “fury” must have been provoked by President Mills’ stance on the Woyome scandal, especially the ongoing prosecution of Woyome and the others. It is on record that Dr. Adjei and Richard Quashigah (NDC Propaganda Secretary) dashed to the Police Headquarters when Woyome was arrested and sent there last Friday. They were there to sympathize with him, which in itself suggests a betrayal of President Mills. This visit speaks volumes; and the consequent prosecution of Woyome seems to have inflamed passions all the more.
In effect, Dr. Adjei and those in the NDC who are sympathetic toward Woyome can’t bring themselves to accept the fact that such a heavyweight financier is now the subject of official punitive action—something that will not only deprive the party of funds but will also inflict irreparable harm on its image. The latter has already happened and no amount of damage control will change anybody’s impression.
Dr. Adjei must have reached the limits of his tolerance but he can’t do anything to reverse the trend that has been set in motion. He hasn’t been up-and-doing until now. Otherwise, he would have made moves long ago to repair the damage that the in-fighting was causing the party. He looked on, unsure of what to do as the National Chairman. Now that the Woyome scandal and government’s reaction have dealt the big blow, he seems to have found his bearing to put pressure on President Mills as if the party’s credibility problems can be solved overnight through impulsive meetings or spur-of-the-moment utterances.
A glance at the list of personalities that he expects to attend that meeting suggests many weird implications. One can tell from that list how many of them belong where—either the Rawlings camp or the Mills faction. These characters haven’t seen eye-to-eye on issues for many months (or years) now. Are they being invited to sit down face-to-face to discuss issues that have all along torn the party apart? What can such a meeting achieve other than creating new problems instead?
I am quite certain that the meeting will set off another bomb and take the internal crisis to a more frightening level. None of those on the list will shift gear; none will desert his camp for the other. What we can foretell is that the so-called “urgent disintegrating” issues will solidify and damage the party all the more.
The problem for the NDC is deep-rooted and will need more than a mere instruction to President Mills to convene a meeting of the sort that Dr. Adjei has in mind. Certain happenings suggest that the party is already mired in confusion and will implode sooner than later. What will Dr. Adjei do if President Mills disregards his instruction?
Dr. Adjei may be putting pressure on President Mills to convene such a meeting but I wonder what can be done now to right the wrong that is threatening the party’s survival or readiness for the 2012 polls. There are too many vested interests to allow for a rebuilding of the party without toes being stepped on or muscles being flexed. Many of those on Dr. Adjei’s list have been spoiling for a fight all this while and the meeting will likely give them the platform to do so. Then, BANG! The final blow will be dealt to the party.
Furthermore, there seems to be a wide gulf between the party’s father and founder, national chairman, and flagbearer. This gulf has been widening since vested interests took centre-stage at the NDC’s regaining political power. Such vested interests will not evaporate soon to allow for level-headedness. Where has Dr. Adjei been all this while not to know the genesis of the crisis that he is now blaming President Mills for? Or to take prompt action to nip such problems in the bud?
President Mills may be identified as the one on whom the onus lies for resolving the internal crisis; but I wonder whether he can do so in the face of those vested interests, most of whom are undermining his authority, anyway.
Unlike those who consider the NDC as their brain-child that must be turned into a tool for settling all manner of scores, President Mills hasn’t used the party’s auspices for anything other than gaining political power to help the party implement its agenda for national development.
He hasn’t usurped the power and authority of the party, its structures, and executives at all the levels (national, regional, constituency, or ward). He acknowledges the importance of all these party structures and has allowed the leaders at the various levels to perform their functions without let or hindrance. He hasn’t in any way impeded anybody’s efforts as far as party work is concerned. So, why is anybody pointing accusing and gossipping fingers at him?
Probably, those like Sekou Nkrumah who consider him as a “problem” are ignorant of his unique status as the party’s flagbearer for the 2012 elections. As I understand matters, being the flagbearer is nothing but what it is—someone designated as the party’s Presidential Candidate to contest the elections. Even though such a person may deem it proper to encourage and be actively involved in party work, there is nothing to indicate that President Mills is personally bulldozing his way through to bend the party’s structures for personal gains. Nor have we any evidence that he is preventing the party’s officials from performing their functions unless they deferred to him. He hasn’t done so. Why the blame, then?
We all saw what led to his nomination and consequent choice at the Sunyani Congress as the party’s flagbearer. Since then, he has sought to act as a flagbearer only, leaving the internal party management and all issues pertaining to the control of the various party structures to all those entrusted with the responsibility of “growing” the party. Unfortunately, however, it seems some vested interests have their own agenda to prosecute and are only using him as a smokescreen behind which to hide. But not getting their way to do so, they are now bent on venting their spleen on him.
Had Dr. Adjei and all the party’s executive leaders at all the levels been doing their work properly, the problems that he is now loudly complaining of would have been identified at their formative stages and solved. Many negative activities carried out by the party’s so-called foot-soldiers all over the country could have been avoided had the party’s leadership been active, doing nothing but party work. Unfortunately, those party officials diverted their attention and energy to scrambling to join the gravy train.
They hankered after juicy positions in public institutions from which to line their pockets. Thus left to chance, the party couldn’t cope with the pressure being mounted on it by events, mostly orchestrated by its own members. Now that it is cracking at the seams, what can an ultimatum to the flagbearer do to reverse the trend?
We will wait patiently to see whether President Mills will obey this ultimatum or whether anything conclusive can be achieved should the meeting take place after all. In this ongoing circus show, the mad horse and its equally mad rider are doing their utmost best but can’t escape disaster. Who can prevent the child of the revolution from eating its own children? Such is the NDC’s predicament.
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