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According to Former President Rawlings, “to change the status quo, it was time for liked minded Ghanaians of serious integrity, devoid of their political colour and team up to form a “very dynamic movements.” The former President per his statement is arguing that individual voters are relatively misinformed and biased at the poll.
The former President is pushing an anti establishment view or belief where citizens will stand opposed to our conventional social, political and economic principles. Recent election results in some countries including France, Mexico are examples of the world entering a new political normal: one where the traditional order is being seriously challenged by voters frustrated with the status quo. AMLO’S victory for instance, exemplifies this new political environment and its anti establishment flavour. He [New Mexican leader] described himself as a champion of the little people” who have been wronged by corrupt, rigged system. In this new political milieu, irreverence and orneriness have a premium. It communicates to people that their champion is not beholden to elites. We heard these beautiful stuffs in the past. Ghanaians embraced the various revolutions and insurrections because of these heart warming rhetoric. In France, Macron dethroned the status quo burying the traditional parties. Americans elected a candidate and subsequently a President who was not a traditional politician. The phenomenon is gradually gaining grounds because the attitude of our traditional politician and change in attitude towards politics. I have been monitoring public sentiments around the World and have watched the public turn against their leadership. I noted three distinct trends we need to watch as we analyse what the Former President said.
-People are fed up- People still believe that political organizations are in the pockets of the elites and are working contrary to the needs of the masses.
-The general assertion is that the establishments have failed. The public has been expressing their concerns with a wide variety of issues that the political establishments seem unable to address. This mindset and associated reactions have doubled because of social change brought about by information technology, liberalisation, automation and social liberalisation.
The political structure – this winner takes all concept, plurality winner rules create unnecessary tension and pressure.
We now are seeing public opinion’s to this reality. To manage it and to prevent miscreants taking advantage of the new order to disturb the smooth operation of this dispensation is what I am looking at. Hope we remember Obasanjo’s coalition movement and why he and his apostles formed that coalition. What Obasanjo stated were the reasons why he and others formed the movement are not different from what Mr Rawlings based his call for the movement on. I think we must be careful with this anti establishment agenda. Some Generals were executed over corrupt practices, people were imprisoned, assets were confiscated etc but corruption in Ghana is more terrible than those days. Citizens supported the various revolutions because of this anti establishment sentiments. We seeing it today, the expression of frustration, the anti establishment feeling etc but I don’t think we should allow people to take advantage of our situation to pull us back 200 steps. What we need is truly strong institutions, courageous leaders, selfless leaders, etc. We must also take a second look at our constitution and effect amendments to make it more modern and effective. If our former Presidents, the clergy, the academia etc will address national issues from a nationalistic standpoint, the system will correct itself. The danger is that because of poverty and our corruption politics, people who preach this anti establishment message thrive and often pose as messiahs and kingmakers. Breaking through to take over the political system won’t be easy because of our ethnic based politics. We saw what Obasanjo did in Nigeria and his current disposition. He wanted to control the soul of the PDP and when he failed, resorted to his subtle defection antics and finally abandoning the Party on whose ticket he won his two terms. We saw what happened between him and Buhari culminating in the formation of his coalition movement. The two nations have seen enough, have tasted enough and have enjoyed enough, let’s allow the system to work.
Yea, that notwithstanding, I support the call for a third force. I am happy some heads of civil society organizations, some persons in the academia etc have proven to society that the political establishment cannot manipulate their thinking. I was always praying for God to bless us with such tough minded persons. Those are the people who can successfully lead the anti establishment crusade. It will take some time for the masses to pull off this tribal based politics but surely we shall get there. I fully endorse that political transition but not where politicians want to capitalize on happenings in the system to take us back to the old days.
Genuine anti establishment fundamentalism is different from populism. Populism is a form of communication that pits WE the many against THEM the few, privileged, and elite. Populism is about ignoring facts, ignoring data for the benefit of rhetoric, which allows populist discourse to focus more on emotional appeals. The 1966 Coup makers dazed the masses with these populist jabs and incited the masses against Nkrumah and his Cpp. Acheampong’s reasons for staging the 1972 coup were no different from what the 1966 plotters told us. The AFRC guys played heavily on emotional appeals, the same trend in 1981- Rawlings told us the PNP had signed official documents to sell Ghana to the Imperialist forces (all because the Limann administration was negotiating with the IMF). Preach heavily about corruption and will get the masses on your side. The coup makers, through their populist antics sparked feelings of outrage in the masses. These Kingmakers and political kingpins cannot use the guns this time as they did in the past. The alternative is this new phenomenon they vigorously forcing on society.
TRIBAL PERMUTATIONS IN THE NDC
This was what the founder of the NDC wrote on his Twitter handle in reaction to Madam Attivor’s alleged ethnocentric statement -“I do not subscribe to the politics of ethnic bias and never have. While I may not be a fan of the NP, I know their presidential candidate is not tribalistic or ethnocentric” And as an apostle of Jerry Rawlings I know that is his natural disposition when it comes to this particular issue. He got that huge support and admiration because of such unique traits and the composition of the various administrations that operated under him confirm that assertion. That is why some of us are getting confused over the founder’s current position on politics and tribalism. We accepted his Swedru declaration and other unilateral decisions he took in the past because of that strong support and trust we had in him. The NDC is a pro left political organization, it is a congress, a political organization for the downtrodden, workers, drivers etc. It is not a political organization for Fantes, Akwapims, Kwahus, Ewes, Gas, Northerners or whatever no.
Let me repeat my warming here- the NDC will collapse and will go through terrible challenges before the collapse if it allows tribalism, regionalism and ethnic-based factionalism to control its soul. And the founder knows it. The NPP is comfortable with its Akan outlook and seems to be making gains from that outlook. The NDC cannot and shouldn’t adopt same philosophy because of its background and core virtues. Are we jettisoning our values and principles because our favourites lost their contests? Are we shifting from our positions because we couldn’t achieve our targets? We no more care about the survival of the party because we disagree with happenings in the party? We presented a South South candidates candidates in 1992 and 1996 but won convincingly because of the trust and confidence the masses had in the man Rawlings. We didn’t care about the ethnic background of persons elected to lead the party.
The party was deeply rooted in the communities and we had persons with different ethnic backgrounds lead the Party at the branch, constituency etc levels. This intolerant devotion to personal opinion to the detriment of the party will not last long. Gradually some of the party’s folks are becoming intoxicated by toxic tribalism and the entitlement mentality. We have unconsciously been seduced by the idea that one group is wrong and evil while one group is correct and good. This mentality leads to a whole list of disastrous consequences. A loyalty to one’s own tribe or region becoming the new phenomenon in the NDC to the point that dogma and dysfunction has become the standard. I commended my Volta folks and still stand by my earlier positron- only to hear the founder and few persons pushing this ethnic balance theory. Some us have nowhere to go..We are deeply rooted in the NDC my father was a PNDC member, my Auntie Vida Amadi Yeboah served the party, Theresa Owusu served the party, Bruce served the party, and my step mum Beatrice Atteh was one of the architects of the 31st Dec Revolution. I don’t need new angles to preach me on PNDC/NDC matters. I know why my father accepted to serve the PNDC etc etc. Our leaders should place great emphasis on the idea that it is all right to be different. Ethnocentrism, tribalism and all the other isms grow from primitive tribalism, the instinctive hostility against those of other tribe etc. You are a lucky child if your parents taught you to accept diversity.
Some of the candidates lost their elections because of
Some were deceived by the post election agitations supporters expressed on Radio, on television and at NDC events. They buried their natural dispositions and joined forces with their natural opponents just to get rid of the old order. Some saw the agitations and the blame game as beautiful opportunity to push away Mahama and his team. Their decisions to contest their positions were based on what happened after the 2016 election.
In I979 and 81, the masses chanted the Rawlings slogans, shouted his name, joined him to carry cocoa bags and described him as the new messiah not because of his ethnic background or colour. They enthusiastically did that because of what Rawlings represented and what he practically demonstrated, his image, his charisma and the special and genuine love he showed to the sufferer and the downtrodden. Is the founder throwing away these wonderful traits because of current happenings in the NDC? The irony in this whole debate is the fact that these executives were elected not appointed. They contested their positions based on their records and strength. I am not interested in how many voltarians are members of the current administration showing interest would mean giving credence to this primitive phenomenon.
We should rather be thinking about how to get reps of our natural allies including the TUC, the GPRTU, the dressmakers, the masons etc on board. This politics of divide and rule at this crucial period of the party is dangerous. Fighting groups interest in political organizations is not out of place. The phenomenon pertains in all the major political organizations across the world, Labour, the conservatives, the republican, the democratic party etc, But they disagree on policies and internal ideologies not ethnic and tribal issues.