‘’First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me ----and there was no one left to speak for me.’’
— Martin Niemoller, German Lutheran Pastor
What accounts for the loud silence of Ghana’s chattering classes, as mayhem, treason, terrorism, and murder have effectively replaced sweet reason and persuasion in the ranks of our biggest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party? Our chattering classes, made up of our intelligentsia, spanning all professions and persuasions in this country, struggle to outdo one another in their condemnation and criticism of everything done by the government of the ruling National Democratic Congress led by our President of this republic, Mr John Mahama.
Nothing is too pet
Yet, here we are, and they are dead silent on the gradual transformation of the opposition NPP from a democratic party ready and willing to assume the reins of governance, to one of sheer terrorism moulded around a personality cult so nauseating that had it not been for the threat it poses to human lives and the democratic temper of our politics, would otherwise have been the focus of ridicule among the chattering classes.
Love and war
Two weeks ago, many friends warned me of a severe backlash to my comparing the NPP campaign for a new register to Nazi tactics, because according to them, the NPP cannot be compared in any way to the National Socialists led by Hitler in Germany prior to World War two (WWII). Well, believe it or not, in the event, I did not get a single reaction, implying that the party never cared about its representation and that it believes all is fair in love and war, as if struggling to capture power in a democracy should be likened to both love and war.
This is a worrying and dangerous development, which has the potential of not only coarsening our politics, but of eventually destroying the democracy we are enjoying, especially if the ruling NDC were to adopt similar brazen and criminal tactics in dealing with internal disagreements. The net effect of the intentional silence of the chattering classes would be the destruction of the country.
This would be a remarkable epitaph to the party which claims, erroneously, to have brought democracy to this country, embraces the rule of law, whatever that means, and generally contains the crème de la crème of the Ghanaian intelligentsia. The Rev. Martin Niemoller quoted above was actually a Nazi sympathiser, and held the usual anti-semitic views of Nazism, and voted for the party up to March 1933. His views changed when he met Hitler in 1934 on the perennial, vexed question of the role of the church in the dictatorial state. He was finally jailed in 1938 under the law for the Prevention of Treacherous Attacks on State and Party, and remained there in detention till after WWII. He died in 1984. In some instances, his life mirrors that of Rev. Beyers Naude of South Africa who also broke with support for Apartheid after the Sharpville massacre in 1961. Where are our Ghanaian equivalents?
This is in sharp contrast to the ruling NDC party, which has completely transformed from its militaristic origins to a social democratic force winning elections in
Ghana through the process of persuasion and reason, as mandated by our Constitution. It gives me no pleasure to point out that the most ardent German opponents of Nazism were the Social Democrats, who, of course, with the communists, were heavily decimated by the Nazis. Indeed and in fact, the NDC, with its latest policy change to have all card-bearing members to vote in party primaries for both the presidential and parliamentary candidates, has far outstripped its rivals in any claim to being democratic, fair and incorruptible.
To belong to either of the two main parties in Ghana today requires you to stomach what may appear nonsensical to you sometimes, but to keep silent in the face of crimes committed against the republic, assault, murder, terrorism and plain hooliganism and thuggery, in the name of party solidarity, is not a sign of the democratic ethos, but of authoritarian and totalitarian party leadership. It is a sad reflection on those of us who claim to be educated and enlightened who have opinions on everything to do with the NDC, but are found deaf and dumb when presented with the real nature of their darling NPP.
I am still trying to understand, and fully appreciate two conflicting statements emanating from the NPP in the wake of the vandalisation of the vehicle belonging to the NPP General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, and which statements starkly illustrate the complete loss of reason driving discourse in the ranks of the party which wants our votes to replace the ruling NDC. In the first statement, the party regrets the destruction of the vehicle and vows to replace the destroyed windscreen, which statement in itself is very curious as it was silent on the pursuit of the perpetrators. After this supposedly peace and unity statement comes statements from NPP rankers that Kwabena Agyepong himself destroyed his vehicle’s windscreen. These two positions are irreconcilable, but held passionately by party members as gospel, and proof of my claim that leadership by terrorism is the bane in our largest opposition party.