Somewhere in 1980, I went to one of the chop bars, then operating around Abrempo Junction in Kumasi to have lunch. As a small boy in the upper primary then, I bought the popular local dish, fufu, without meat, because the money I had on me could not afford it.
As I sat down to enjoy my fufu, two gentlemen also came to join me on the dinning table, with their fufu, which was in a big grinding dish, virtually dwarfed by the meat, and local gin (akpeteshie) to match, the two gentlemen started to enjoy their meal amid conversation.
Though they discussed a number of issues, which I eavesdropped on, one that I still remember is a question one of them asked. “Charlie, did you hear what D.O. (District Officer of COCOBOD) was telling us the other day.
“We attended a meeting at Mankranso and one of us drew his attention to the way the Purchasing Clerks (PC) have been cheating the cocoa farmers by adjusting their weighing scales.”
“Charlie, can you believe that the D.O told us to keep quiet and that we like talking too much, because Tetteh Quashie who brought the commodity (cocoa) to Ghana stole it, and that stealing has always been associated with cocoa.”
With his mouth stuffed with meat, the other colleague also asked, “so what did you tell him?” “Well, what can we say, he is our boss”, he responded. They were still talking about the issue when I finished my ‘sakora’ fufu and decided to leave.
The alleged claim by the D.O. can be likened to the development going on in the Convention People’s Party (CPP). History has it that Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was brought from London on recommendation by Dr. Ako Adjei, to lead the new political party they had formed, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947.
Dr. Ako Adjei had apparently noticed the talent in the young Kwame Nkrumah, and thought he could be of immense help in the fight for political freedom from British colonial rule. After taking over the general Secretaryship of the party, the young and exuberant Kwame Nkrumah wanted a process that would immediately lead to independence.
But his masters -Dr. J. B. Danquah, Ako Adjei and Ofori Atta, just to mention a few, wanted the gradual process to accomplish their aim.
Having successfully captured the youth with his exceptional organizational skills, Kwame decided to do the unthinkable -breakaway from the UGCC to form his own Convention People’s Party (CPP), which he outdoored at Saltpond in 1947. He led the party to successfully gain independence from British colonial rule.
With this history at the back of my mind, I am not surprised at the decision by Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, the 2008 presidential candidate of the CPP to breakaway from his mother party to form his own Progressive People Party (PPP), because CPP has a history of breakaways.
But unlike Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who broke away and succeeded in accomplishing his aim, I do not think Dr. Nduom can achieve the same feat.
In fact, he is going to flop terribly at the December national elections, if he does not change his stance and aim to rule Ghana at all cost. I concede that the National Chairperson of the CPP, Samiah Nkrumah, acted rather immaturely when she openly used the word ‘nonsense’ against her 2008 flagbearer.
If Samiah had been brought up under the Ghanaian culture, she would have realized that it is sacrilegious to insult an elderly person in public.
No matter the crime of Dr. Nduom, it was wrong for Samiah to have used such an offensive word against somebody who is far older than her. But to me, this should not form the basis for Nduom to breakaway from the party to form his own.
I have been hearing and reading in the newspapers that some of the CPP members have already started defecting to Dr. Nduom’s PPP. The party is also scheduled to go to congress next month to elect its presidential candidate to contest the December polls.
All these processes would come to nothing, because there is no way Dr. Nduom would make headway in the December polls, unless he is only interested in being called the flagbearer of the PPP.
In the 2008 general elections, the Dr. Nduom led CPP garnered only 1.3% of the total votes cast in the presidential polls. And if he is now relying on the same constituency to rally support for the December polls, then he is going to flop, and he better reconsider his decision.
It is only God that can convince me that a presidential candidate outside the two dominant parties – The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) can win an election in Ghana, in the next 20 years and even beyond.
I am aware that the PPP founder is one of the highly respected entrepreneurs in Ghana, having established businesses that are employing over two thousand Ghanaians. Kudos for that, but I think there are still poor Ghanaians Dr. Nduom could help, including those from his own family at Elmina, to become responsible people like him in future, instead of the money he is going to waste in the name of politics.
In Ghanaian politics, once you have money, people will follow you, but whether these people are loyal to you is another game altogether. During the 2008 elections, Dr. Nduom managed to bus thousands of Ghanaians from all corners of the country, to hold a massive rally in Accra.
The PPP founder claimed at the time that all those who attended the rally were card bearing members of the CPP, and that they were not hired crowd. But at the end of the day, he could only manage 1.3% of the votes.
Indeed, if the crowd that congregated at Kwame Nkrumah Circle were all true CPP members and did vote for him during the presidential polls, he would have performed better than the mere 1.3% that he got.
Soon after forming the PPP, some of the grassroot supporters including national executives of CPP have started defecting to the new party and Dr. Nduom believes that they are genuine supporters.
I believe that he has been in this game of politics for quiet sometime now and should have known how people use elections to make money in Ghana. Surely, Dr. Nduom is going to laugh at the wrong side of his mouth, because some of the defectors have their eyes set on money and not good intentions to join the PPP, which they know can never win any elections in Ghana. In fact, they will milk him dry and he would not get even one percent of the December votes.
Apart from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP, which I have alluded to earlier on, no political party in Ghana has succeeded after breaking away from the mother party. I am aware that the PPP is punching holes in this argument, but what these people seem to have forgotten is that it is difficult to divorce politics from history.
After tasting power for just 27 months, the UP tradition went into opposition for almost 30 years, because of fragmentation in their front. It is only when they came under one umbrella that they were able to win power in 2000, and ruled for eight years before going back into opposition again.
For me, if Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom thinks he can rewrite history by breaking away from his mother party to win an election in Ghana, then he must be a big joker! The Akans have a proverb that says, one cannot advice a wealthy man. I do not, however, believe that Dr. Nduom is behaving like the wealthy man as stated in the above proverb.
He must listen to advice and go back to the CPP to fight for the reforms he was looking for, which may help him achieve his ambitious aim of becoming President of Ghana, instead of the hasty decision to form his own political party to contest this year’s elections.
Even the bigger parties like the NPP and NDC will admit that contesting general election is not an easy thing, so a house fly like PPP must reconsider its stand.
I admit that formation of political parties is part of the democratic process that we, as a country have adopted, but I still weep for Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom because he is going to throw away money down the drain, without any reward!
Source: Emmanuel Akli/The Chronicle