(The Rhetoric of Ghana’s Dwindling Democracy)
“The contents of a whitewashed tombstone; the sages say still remain debris of carcasses”. This wise sayinghas occupied my mind since the public declaration by Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng on Monday September 25 2023 to hint, that he has finally resigned from his mother political party the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and would be contesting as an Independent Candidate in the forthcoming Presidential elections slated for December 7 2024.
The mixed reaction of Mr. Kyeremanteng’s announcement among major political players, analysts and the general public has triggered my musings over what has become of Ghana’s politics, how politicians think, and what they take the citizenry for.
It would be recalled by readers that on September 6 2023, the NPP in its preparation towards the 2024 general elections held what they term as the Super Delegates Congress to shortlist five candidates out of ten that had expressed their desire to lead the party in the upcoming Presidential race; and as per the party’s constitution since 2009, the flagbearer race can be contested by not more than five candidates. This I believe became paramount when in 2008; about seventeen party leaders including Mr. Kyeremantemg stampeded the flagbearer race just before His Excellency President John Agyekum Kuffour exited the scene. Having struggled so hard to manage the situation, common knowledge might have taught the leadership the bitter lesson of learning to keep the can of worms safely sealed for political expedience’s sake and this new arrangement was made by the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) in consultation with all relevant stakeholders who in unison saw the move as the best way forward.
At the end of the September 6 Super Delegates Congress, the man whose long service to the party as a founding member, financier, multiple party primaries contestant, multiple ministerial office holder and a household name within the NPP fraternity saw himself as an ultimate choice with the acumen to lead the party in the upcoming elections. I even remember him boasting in the Volta Region when he met the regional delegates there prior to the September contest. He however suffered one of the greatest surprises of his life when he placed third with a very marginal percentage of votes cast.
This he deems a betrayal of his selfless service to the party; hence his decision to opt out of the general delegates primaries and the party as a whole. For me as a social thinker and observer of Ghana’s political trends, his decision is his, and should be respected; but, the aspiration to go independent beats my imagination knowing the stands that Mr. Kyeremanteng and his political allies have held and what they have done against the advocacy for the Independent Presidential System (IPS) since its inception in 2010.
The political parties asserted to Ghanaians that an independent candidate cannot form a government to govern the country because that individual would not have representation in Parliament to select the 50% of Ministers from; as required by the constitution.
They also argued that an independent candidate cannot create offices in all 275 constituencies across the country and so cannot cater for the grassroots as political parties would do. In effect, they meant that a vote for an independent candidate was self-betrayal to the voter and those preaching IPS should not be taken serious.
These and many other things were said and done against the then sole Independent Candidate in the Presidential race (Jacob Osei Yeboah). Having cited the instances above, what is Mr. Kyeremanteng going to tell the electorate which would be different from the venom his party and its communicators have propagated to the public against the IPS in the past?
Again, would Mr. Kyeremanteng and his team accept the kind of disrespect his political party and their NDC cohorts have accorded other independent candidates in the past? Well, let me leave those and come to questions regarding his new conviction and how honest he is being with Ghanaians.
There is a photo-shopped image I found in circulation on social media which is of an elephant’s head merged with a monarch butterfly; a possible satire to tease the event of Mr. Kyeremanteng’s breakaway and that triggered the putting together of this article.
The image seeks to express that although the candidate has left the NPP, his political ideologies, beliefs, vision, and the core persons he would be working with still bear traces of their mother party and so have nothing new to offer Ghanaians. As frail as this may literally sound or appear, it is important for great minds to seek answers for the follow:
1. Has Mr. Kyeremanteng and team really assessed the IPS and its philosophy to understand how best it could be sold to the Ghanaian people, how best it could be implement to benefit them, and with who they are going to pursue this vision?
2. Is Mr. Kyeremanteng and team ready to put away the partisan veil from off their eyes and to start seeing from a nationalistic spectacle regardless of who they could be offending politically?
3. At what point in his political career did he come to the realization that the IPS is the best tool to reunite the badly polarized Ghanaian society and why did it take him so long to align him till now?
4. Having been a major player in both the past and current NPP administrations, why could he not oppose the party’s wrong doings or detach from them until he was sorely betrayed before choosing this new path?
5. If all the negative accolades he is giving to the NPP are true to go by, why has he remained a staunch devotee for thirty good years and even aspired to lead the same party as flagbearer?
6. Would the NPP still be a wrong party to belong if he had succeeded in his bid to bear its flag in the upcoming presidential elections?
7. What did he do as an individual to discourage the monetization of Ghanaian politics which he is now accusing his compatriots of?
8. Is his bid to contest as an independent candidate not just a move to detract as many party faithfuls as possible just to ensure that whoever emerges the flagbearer does not sweep enough NPP votes to become President?
9. Throughout his political walk with the NPP as a founding member, what has he done differently from the party’s internal structures to help curb the injustices done to the Ghanaian people by both his party and their NDC counterparts?
10. What evidence is there to show as a reassurance to Ghanaians that he has something different from what he and his party folks have already given to Ghanaians which has brought the country into the doom where we find ourselves today?
These and many other relevant questions are what Mr. Kyeremanteng should be reflecting on even if not to answer Ghanaians. I personally believe that we have come to a stage in our body politics where mere rhetoric and vain promises must be thrown to the pigs. It is about time that the ordinary Ghanaian took their political aspirants to task by demanding empirical evidences of the promises they make to the electorate.
We have been fooled, swindled, milked of our substance and maimed until we are worse than slaves in our own country by greedy partisan politicians for too long; and now is the time to rise up for our rights! We must be ready to think critically about every single word which any politician says whether in private or in the public domain and to hold them accountable to their pronouncements because “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. There have always been traces of lies in their eyes and words in the promises they have made us from the past; yet, we were too lazy to observe and to reason well.
It is worth to note, that to the average partisan politician in Ghana, the ordinary Ghanaian has short memory and so can be fooled as many times as possible by the same means. To them, all that matters is time; yes, just a little more time and Ghanaians would fail to scrutinize the offender but rather hail them.
Mr. Kyeremanteng’s independent candidature reminds me of the Ghanaian legend in which a fetish priestess whose whims and caprices landed her in the grips of the law suddenly CONVERTED into an evangelist and by that single act was left off the hook to go unpunished.
Sadly, the dubious nature of the new Saint could not improve for the better in spite of the new social status. Is Mr. Kyeremanteng’s conversion yet another legend of “politricking” to win the hearts of Ghanaians as a nonpartisan figure now that the IPS has become self-evident?
The ball is in our individual courts to joggle with and to make sense of trending events. Every aspirant in the upcoming elections whether partisan or nonpartisan needs thorough scrutiny by Ghanaians so as not to repeat our past mistakes.
To conclude my discourse, I would like to state, that if indeed Mr. Kyeremanteng has become a true convert of the IPS as he has already hinted, then the noblest path to chart as an experienced politician is to present himself as an agent of unity; whose primary focus would be on the mobilization of all the smaller political groupings in Ghana both partisan and nonpartisan, and to collaborate most with all existing independent aspirants and advocacy groups for a greater political force. After-all, wisdom has it, that: “One does not reinvent the wheels when there are already existing wheels on the spin”. A word to the wise they say, is enough!!!
Author: Nana Otupiri Darko
P. O. Box KN 5779
Tel: + 233-206 500 604