Elections, defections, resignations: Lessons worth reflecting
Our elders have said that when a crocodile comes out from the river to tell you that the alligator is sick, it is in order to believe it. This sounds simple but it is deep.
In the context of our electoral politics, the above adage reveals a lot of truth buried beneath the real intention of what Joseph Gobble describes a propaganda; a stupendous lie repeated with zeal eventually gains credibility. But this is always not the case.
The resignation of Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), a party he played a critical role in its formation and financing, should call for deeper reflection on many things that are not going on well in our country. Alan has revealed some, including the powerful finance minister. Who are we to disbelieve?
Beyond that is the growing dissipation of internal democracy in our political parties, although all political parties operate within a clearly defined legal framework. Studies suggest that democracy within political parties has a bearing with democracy within the wider Ghanaian society in view of how national governance is organised. Nobody should, therefore, rejoice when a major political party is saddled with internal democratic challenges.
Matters worth discussing
The talk of whether an independent candidate has the potential of causing the defeat of the mother political party in an election is worth discussing but should really be the least among the majors. The answer is mixed. A sitting Vice-President of Jerry John Rawlings served as a running mate to John Agyekum Kufuor, it did not lead to the defeat of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 1996. But research also suggests that among the factors that led to the defeat of the NDC in 2000 included the breakaway group that formed the National Reform Party, and lack of internal democracy.
Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings who evidently had the support of her husband J.J. Rawlings left the NDC, and despite criticism from the Rawlings’, the NDC won the 2012 election. The NPP sacked its national Chairman and General Secretary in the lead up to the 2016 election at the time the party could best be described as internally chaotic and yet the NPP won with the widest margin in that election. The list goes on. In effect, the factors that determine electoral fortunes are many, diverse and dynamic and only time can give credibility to existing theories or otherwise.
This is why we should focus more on the things that will have a wider impact on all of us when resignations, defections and breakaways occur.
Another thing is the law. Everyone is citing the law as either not working, working in a tilted manner or manipulated. The law argument does not wash because it is not everything lawfully done that is right.
Apartheid was executed lawfully and does that make it right? Our leaders should, therefore, know that people are rational and can tell when the law is used diabolically. The danger is in the advice of Boakye Agyarko who cautions that the resignation of many others may only take the form of not voting for their political party on the Election Day. If you use the law to kick out people and that leads to the defeat of a political party that could have solved the problems of Ghana, you have done the greatest disservice to the country.
The polarisation along partisan lines is equally disturbing. A leading member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Kwame Jantuah, asked a question on a television show recently that I believe your answer may not be different from mine. He asked, today if two people want a job in the public sector in Ghana, and one goes in the name of NPP/NPP colours and another in the name of Ghana/Ghana flag, which one stands a better chance? NPP is only used here conveniently because it is the party in power.
While an independent candidate may not win the 2024 election, the discourse on a major third force to break the NPP/NDC duopoly which is the leading causal factor of the division among Ghanaians, is critical. The call from Hon. Alan Kyerematen on card bearing members of political parties to stay and vote for their respective parties’ parliamentary candidates and choose a presidential candidate who can deliver is in order. But suffice it to say that, that presidential candidate should only be considered subject to the pending unveiling of policies by all others.
So far Mr Kyerematen and the leadership of the NPP have demonstrated maturity by recognising their respective positive sides and dealing with the challenges in a matured manner devoid of insults. The followers must learn same and know that competition and cooperation are bedfellows in politics.
As we prepare for the polls in 2024, many more defections, resignations and emergence of independent candidates are inevitable. Let us accommodate all in our collective quest to build a democratic society.
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Education,Winneba