Flashback: Can we now trust the NDC?

NDCI first wrote this article in 2008.

I came back to write this after I had been on assignment to cover the NDC campaign launch in May of that year for myjoyonline.com.

I hope that if you missed it then, it might serve as a good read now. Enjoy.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), yesterday, Wednesday May 7, 2008, launched their campaign to win political power in the 2008 general elections in December.

I was on duty at the National Theatre and captured most of the scenes on camera and I heard first hand most of the speeches that were made.

There was great music, beautiful party paraphernalia, festive and infectious atmosphere awash in brilliantly designed banners. Praise singing and hero worshipping was also at its spectacular best – as was depicted in poetry performances.

I saw some women draped in NDC colours all over including their hair.

I must admit that overall it was a grand and splendid event. The NDC showed that the party has now fine-tuned its communications capabilities and if yesterday could be used as the standard, then I will be prepared to bet my last one Ghana pesewa on the fact that, this year’s electioneering campaign would be exciting, decorous and would probably come with some finesse in good measure.

But is it time yet to trust the NDC?

Prof. Atta Mills says we can trust the NDC. He said, “It is quite obvious that the Ghanaian electorate is beginning to lose confidence in us as politicians, and Atta Mills and NDC are pledging to the people of Ghana, that we will restore hope, we will restore confidence and we will restore faith.”

He also said the weapons in the arsenal that the NDC would use include truth, honesty and transparency. Great I would say. And thank you sir.

But isn’t that typical of the Ghanaian politician when he wants power? He would espouse all the virtues that make humans look like angels. He would speak so humbly that even if you caught him red-handed showing traces of arrogance, you would gladly forgive him without him asking.

But wait till he gets power. It has happened before, and I am not too sure it won’t happen again. And my fear is informed by the fact that it has happened too many times that just like the good Prof. said, Ghanaians have lost confidence in politicians. We are sceptical. We just can’t trust them.

The NPP did the same. When they were in opposition and wanted power they spoke the right words that resonated with us the electorate. And indeed, I was one of the people, even though, averse to the kind of party politics we practice in this country, who advocated for the NPP, in 2000. I was then a student at the University of Ghana. I was able to convince a lot of my friends and family to vote for the NPP, because I believed then, that they could bring us some respite.

And my conviction was based on the simple fact that after languishing in opposition for so long, as many as nearly 30 years, they might have been able to see clearly from the fringes what could be done better, as it is with the case when one watches on the sidelines. I was also confident in them then, because of the fact that they have a good number of educated men and women in the party and I knew that if they were given the opportunity they would perform. And that is because I am one of the people who believe in the utility of a good education.

But as I write now, I don’t know what to make of the performance of the NPP. I think they blew their chance! The NPP could have done ten times what they have been able to do so far, because they can! Just like the NDC in 2000 failed us, they have failed us too.

The corruption, arrogance and lethargic leadership they seem to be perfecting do not sit well with many Ghanaians. They have done some good, yes. But they could have done better. They have lost the fight against corruption, lost the drugs war and show little concern for the Ghanaian.

And the NDC, just after less than eight years in the wilderness of opposition, is beginning to sound wiser – just like the NPP when they were in opposition. That is my fear. The politicians sound and appear wiser only when they are in opposition, but when they get power, they become arrogant and suddenly they become blind to the real issues on the ground. When they do, they focus on themselves, their cronies and hangers on. They even become lawless, breaking the very laws we voted for them to uphold.

I can’t for the life of me, believe that the IGP and his lieutenants are still at post with the missing cocaine saga still hanging. And the NDC sees everything wrong with it too, but would they have done anything differently if they were in power? I am skeptical, even to the point of being cynical!

Again, John Mahama, showed class. He proved that he is not only a vice presidential material as some have argued, but he is also a presidential material on his own. The young man exudes so much confidence, intellectual acumen and such decorum that the most savage of men would succumb to civilisation just by appearing before him.

He proved again that, he studied and passed his Post Graduate Diploma programme in Communications Studies, unlike some Phd holders in Economics I happen to know. He spoke so well like the communicator that he has been trained to be, and I believe he might have won some few floating voters already for the NDC. But can they deliver, should Ghanaians vote for them?

In as much as I saw a lot of impressive things, I certainly saw some of the rather disturbing phenomena that for a long time have bedeviled our politics in this part of good old Mother Earth – Ghana.

I saw the conspicuous macho men, performing security duties at the entrances and inside the Hall. Indeed, their presence as has always been the case in our political history has evoked fear and intimidation in the faint hearted. There have also been some instances where some macho men have been cited in actual cases of physical assault of perceived and real political opponents at party functions.

Without taking anything away from the security guys on duty that day, I think they did a good job. I guess they were advised to be nice to visitors and probably, more especially the media and press. But there was one minor incident of altercation. While we were struggling to take photos in front of the stage, I saw one security man harass my good friend Cephas Jos Garneo of the Daily Guide. In fact, I heard the security man asking him to kneel down when he was trying to get a shot. He told the man he would kneel down after taking the shot, but the man at a point became displeased and asked him to leave the Hall if he wants to.

I saw E. T. Mensah, he was more sober than I have ever seen him. The Ahwois were there, so was Totobi Quakyi and Kwame Peprah, all of them looking good and hopeful.

Dr. Christine Amoako-Nuamah was present and she did not hide her excitement as she danced and cheered through out the ceremony. She sat on the same row with Alhaji Iddrissu Mahama. Several NDC stalwarts were there, including the grassroots.

But let me ask again. Can we who have the votes, believe in this ‘new’ NDC?

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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