Consensus, A Key Component Of Democracy

COMMON SENSE tells us that if a group of persons with a common aim come together to decide how to pursue a cause, the journey becomes easier.  On the other hand, if the group becomes divided and each decides to toe a different line, the journey becomes complex, cumbersome and confusing. The journey to their desired goal becomes winding, difficult, long and unreachable. In fact, they turn out blaming each other for taking the wrong direction. Philosophy?  No, simple logic.

I always have problems with people who fail to look back like the way historians do. Such people easily fall into ditches and use ‘had I known’ as defence of their failure to achieve their goals. Historians look back to correct mistakes as they move forward.  It is not for me to repeat writing about what happened to the NPP in 2008, when seventeen stalwarts of the party picked up forms to contest for the party’s flagbearership position. I have spent tons of ink writing about the calamity and so readers should spare me the briefing space. It is now history and the NPP must learn from history.  A party that was once led by an imminent historian, Professor Adu Boahen, should not fall short of learning from history.

So far, about eight persons of the NPP have expressed their intention to contest the flagbearership race and still counting. The madness has started again. Posters and billboards are all over the country and it seems to me 2008 may repeat itself.  I am not against people picking up forms to contest in any election if they are qualified to do so.  My problem is the mess that many contestants cause could cost the party its the electoral fortune. My other problem is the possibility of the party allowing power to slip through its fingers through reckless internal wrangling and unnecessary power struggle. If this comes to pass again, Ghanaians will be the losers. They say once bitten, twice shy.

Anytime I have the opportunity to interact with former President Kufuor, my heart bleeds with nostalgia. This is a man who took over the reins of power when the nation was virtually on her knees economically. Nobody gave him the slightest chance to be able to turn things around. The most serious situation was the country’s fuel reserve. In fact, the country had just two weeks’ reserve and the situation was serious. We were heading towards the wish-to-be forgotten days of the defunct Rawlings revolutionary days where fuel was as precious as diamond.  President Kufuor quickly contacted then President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria who also commissioned the Sahara Oil Company of Nigeria to lift oil to Ghana to safe the situation. Many Ghanaians seem to have forgotten this feat of the Gentle Giant.

In no time, Mr. Kufuor and his team, which included the current President, started rolling out programmes to assuage the suffering of poor Ghanaians. The Criminal Libel Law, which Obed Asamoah said could be deleted from the status books over his dead body was repealed, giving way for all Ghanaians to say whatever they wanted to say without fear.  For the eight years that the Kufuor administration was in power, Ghanaians saw real developments in terms of good roads, health facilities, the National Health Insurance Scheme, new school blocks, model schools, and social interventions, among others. Kufuor left behind a vibrant economy and the country was poised to take its place in the comity of nations.  That was why some people became so swollen-headed that they thought if even a toad is elected as the flagbearer of the party, winning the 2008 General Election was a done deal. It was the biggest mistake that the NPP ever did.

Here we are again with another opportunity to build on the success story of President Akufo Addo and the Achilles’ heel of the NPP has reared its head again.  Whereas the government is working beyond human endurance to bring the economy on track following the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war, and the devastating effect of COVID-19, people are busy scheming to become the flagbearer of the party, two and half years to election 2024.  Some of the people who have expressed their intention to contest the race are not “checking themselves” as the late J.H. Mensah told the party in 2008.  They think the 2024 election is a gamble and so they could throw in their money and wish to win the gamble. That is absurd if not wishful thinking.

The leadership of the party, particularly the Council of Elders should wake up and take full control of the party. Reason must be brought to prevail and people must learn the art of compromise and consensus building. I have fear and my fear is genuine. If the NPP becomes complacent like they did in 2008 to allow the NDC to come to power again, they will destroy all the good initiatives of the Nana Addo-led administration like they did to those of Mr. Kufuor. The free SHS, the One District One Factory, the One Village One Dam, the Nursing/Teacher Trainee allowances and the rest will be jettisoned. Mark my words. For now, I just want to strike my mental delete button, watch things unfold and just be.

BY Eric Bawah