Establishment of a Political Dynasty?

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Political commentators continue to discuss the nepotistic nature of the President’s appointments. The term nepotism is an Italian word “nepotismo” meaning nephew. Several popes in the past,elevated their nephews and other family members ( relatives) to the cardinalate and they did that to continue a papal dynasty. Pope Callixtus III who was the head of the Borgia family, made two of his nephews cardinals, Rodrigo, one of the sons, used that position as a stepping stone to the papacy. Paul III also engaged in nepotism, appointed two nephews, aged 14 and 16 as cardinals. This practice created serious crisis which forced Pope Innocent XII to issue the bull Romanum deceit Pontificem in 1692 to limit the practice. Cronyism, nepotism, oligarchy etc undermine and interfere with fairness because they give undue advantage to someone or group of people who do not merit this treatment.

The opposition and other discerning minds are complaining bitterly about the nepotistic nature of appointments being made by the current President but the truth is that, the trend is not only going to undermine governance, but going to create serious internal problem in the NPP. In government, people will pretentiously gloss over the likely internal effects but the reality will land at their doorsteps after the exit of the current administration. The NDC at a point entered into alliance with the Nkrumah block which culminated in the selection of Mr Arkaah to partner Rawlings as his running mate. It was a solid arrangement initiated by CPP elements in the party and other solid UP elements like DF Annan which would have paved a smooth way for a CPP President going forward. This arrangement did not materialise because of that tension which erupted between the President and his Vice.

Rawlings picked Mills subsequently and the NDC unanimously elected (Swedru declaration) to lead the Party after Rawlings. Mills elected John Mahama after failing his first and second attempts and the NDC unanimously endorsed the candidature of John Mahama after the demise of Mills. In the 1979 elections the Kyebi elements in the PFP in collaboration with few from other regions including Afrifa, Sawyer etc, broke away from the PFP over seniority issue to form the UNC. Paa Willie,uncle of the current President challenged the election of Victor Owusu to lead the party because Victor was his Junior. Afrifa and others joined him but Afrifa at a point expressed his regrets for taking that decision though he won his parliamentary seat on the ticket of the UNC. Aliu Mahama partnered Kufour in 2000 and offered financial support to the party’s campaign. He was denied the automatic opportunity to lead the party in the 2008 election. Bawumia partnered Nana Addo in the 2016 election, played enormous role in the party’s campaign and currently the Vice President. Party folks will vehemently deny the stressful situation Dr Bawumia finds himself in government but that is the true situation.

The predictions and wishes that Bawumia will automatically lead the party is just a day dream and henchmen of the President including his family members in government, have made that explicitly clear to Dr Bawumia through actions,decisions and deeds.

There is this conscious move to establish a strong Kyebi block within the Npp and Nana made that intention clear when he met party members at the residence of Atta Akyea. Nana told party supporters who gathered at Atta Akyea’s residence that “we the Akyens are in the majority in the NPP,we must take advantage of our strength instead of fighting amongst ourselves”. Looking at his appointment, that dream is gradually being actualised and the Kyebi block will emerge the strongest block within the NPP after Nana’s tenure. Let me touch on the issue Robert Kennedy precedent being used by some apparatchiks of the Party. That appointment and subsequent decisions by Robert Kennedy confirms my assertion.

After his brother’s assassination he started nurturing the dream of leading the Democrats quietly,he did not come out immediately because Johnson had to complete his brother’s term,and Johnson appeared the favourite at the time till he withdrew from the race. Robert finally entered the race. Some stalwarts in the democractic party saw this move when his brother appointed him the Attorney General and the dynasty agenda was one of the points they raised against Robert’s appointment. Come to Africa, Dos Santos is facing serious challenge in his party and from the the opposition over nepotism.

In a country where 70% of the population live on less than $2 a day, the President has a net worth of $20 billion, his daughter, Isabel Dos Santos is the richest woman in Africa and the youngest billionaire on the continent. She is the main conduit between his father’s government and all mining and oil companies wanting to do business in Angola, her half brother Jose Filomeno dos Santos is the Chairman of Angola’s Sovereign Trust Fund Company. Part of the charges leveled against Jacob Zuma in South Africa, is “nepotism” he is accused of favouritism after appointing his daughter Thuthukile Zuma as the Chief of Staff in a government ministry in 2014.

He defended his action that the daughter was qualified but civil organisations deflated his argument. A tape was produced and on that tape the daughter and a grandchild of Mandela were discussing their plans to capture the pillars of the ANC in future. Sirleaf Johnson appointed his son Charles Sirleaf as the Liberian Central Bank’s interim governor prior to his elevation, was the deputy Governor, another son was appointed head of Liberia’s National Security Agency while another was made chairman of the National oil company of Liberia.

The children have not hidden their political intentions and with the opportunity offered them by the mother, we likely to see a Johnson dynasty in Liberia going forward just like we have in Gabon. Omar Bongo, appointed three of his children into his government, Pascaline became minister of foreign affairs, Martin also became a foreign minister while Ali Bongo took the Defence Minister position.

For decades to come, these families will dominate the political space in their countries because of the wealth they control, their international connections, and influence in their countries. What we witnessing is establishment of a Royal Family Political Dynasty, those appointed and others to be appointed are either related by blood, marriage, multiple siblings or several generations. William Ofori-Atta was the first to pave the way when he dashed the hope (s) of Victor Owusu by forming an alliance with the PNP in 1979.

The NDC may encounter few challenges because of the appointment trend but the NPP as an organisation will (shall) be the ultimate victim. If the agenda is allowed to fester, the Kufour block will face serious internal challenges.The northern block should count itself out of this permutation. According to Nana, the Ashantis are the main pillar supporting the party in terms of votes, the Kwahus according to him are the financial pillars yet, I am yet to hear any strategic appointment offered to a Kwahu and the Ashantis have been placed at areas where they cannot pose any serious threat to his agenda.

The other angle is business opportunities. Most of the juicy contracts and deals are going to those within the dynasty arena, most of the reviewed contracts will go to these persons and will be the initiators of new contracts via the Finance Minister and his lieutenants. The NDC stands the chance of taking back earlier than expected because of this emerging issues, the power play cancer will start to eat deep into the NPP and the few courageous ones who cannot contain the emerging danger, will explode to save the party from falling into the armpit of few cronies and henchmen

Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow

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