By: 3G Media Inc., (2009-01-07)
In a speech addressing the NPP Congress in 2005, Kwabena Manu aka Pancho alluded exactly to what has happened to the NPP in the just ended elections in Ghana.
In a two part speech, he detailed his experiences/ordeal in the 2004 NPP Parliamentary primaries and concluded with the ills within the NPP.
Please read the speech below in its entirety to get the whole picture of what was said that day.
"Members and Supporters of the NPP, the NPP Secretariat, Honorable Ministers, Members of Parliament, Nananom, Ladies and Gentlemen; Good afternoon:
The presentation that I am about to make this afternoon is not your usual kind of presentation but an important one nevertheless.
Words are inadequate for me to communicate the mixed feelings that fill my heart this afternoon, as I stand here to try and communicate to you, what I see as a not so democratic practice within our New Patriotic Party.
I say mixed feelings because, I am very proud to be a member of this Party and at the same time feel a painful sense of betrayal by our Party at the National, Regional, and Constituency levels.
I went to Ghana in March 2004 to try and fulfill a life long dream of a career in Politics. I have always wanted to be of service to Ghanaians and mankind; thus my continued servitude in Public Service in the United States of America.
Prior to my departure for Ghana, I had conversations with NPP headquarters in Accra on a couple of occasions and I made my intentions clear to them that I will seek the Party's Parliamentary nomination for the Nsuta/Kwamang/Beposo constituency. I was informed among other things that application forms for Parliamentary aspirants will go out by the end of March 2004, that the primaries will be in June and that the application/registration fee may be the same as it was for the bye-elections (5 million cedis).
I satisfied the necessary requirements needed to contest the constituency primaries. I paid the 11 million cedis application/registration fee. I went through the vetting procedure in mid May and was hopeful that the primaries will be in June as was initially stated by the National headquarters.
I went with my Campaign Manager to Kumasi in mid June to see Mr. F. F. Anto, the then NPP Ashanti Regional Chairman to discuss with him the need to go ahead with the Nsuta/Kwamang/Beposo constituency primaries since there were no underlying problems within the constituency that could plunge the primaries into violence and chaos. He assured me that he agreed with me and that he will do all in his power to get the nod from National Headquarters, since prolonging it would become financially burdensome for the contestants.
Sensing that no date will be fixed in June, I spoke to National Headquarters during the last week of June and was informed that the President needed the help of all NPP MPs to help pass a bill sometime during the first week in July and that dates could not be fixed for primaries in constituencies with incumbent MPs until Parliament ended its session on July 15th 2004.
The rationale behind this decision was that if primaries were held earlier and an MP knew he had lost his parliamentary primary bid, he will not be obliged to go to Parliament and vote on the said bill.
I do not want to dwell on my personal experience but the treatment of NPP members abroad as STEP CHILDREN of the party cannot be told without telling my story.
After consistently stating my case, that I will not wait for Parliament to end its session on July 15th before we could meet to choose a date since that will prolong the primaries, the 3 contestants met with the Ashanti Regional Secretariat of the NPP on July 12 to choose a date. The incumbent MP stated he could not agree to a date the week of July 17th but rather preferred July 26th because he needed time to campaign despite the other contestant and myself agreeing to a date the week of July 17th.
The Regional Chairman stated he did not want any contestant harboring the delegates at a designated place. The Constituency Chairman stated that would not happen because he intended to harbor the delegates at his residence. I disagreed with his request and stated I felt there could be foul play. He told the Regional Chairman that there will not be any foul play.
I insisted I was against the idea but the incumbent saw nothing wrong with that. The Constituency Chairman was given the go ahead to house the delegates. This opened up a perfect opportunity for the constituency executives to cook up a strategy and work for their incumbent MP who had routed huge sums of money through the executives to be given to the delegates the night before the primary.
Prior to me coming here today, I was told by some people not to criticize any individual. I say to you today, that some things are so eternally true that they are worth dying for; and if a man is afraid to die for something that he is willing to live for; then he isn't fit to live.
An aspiring MP elect at that time, Honorable Abum Sarkodie of Mampong- Ashanti, became a self appointed roving ambassador to the residence where the delegates were housed the day before the primary.
As late as 11:30pm the night before the long awaited primary, he made his last visit to the Chairman's residence at Beposo. He played a perfect role as the liaison between Hon. Osei Prempeh and the delegates that were assembled there. I want members of this great Daquah/Busia/Dombo political party tradition to understand that I do not have anything against Hon. Osei Prempeh. I just want the NPP to do what is right as a political party.
Even though it was agreed for all three contestants to send a representative to the constituency chairman's residence to monitor foul play, the incumbent did not send one. He had no need to, as a plan had been discussed to get the delegates to vote for him.
Like any politician who is not barred by term limits or cannot become a lame duck, I will love to be the MP for Nsuta/Kwamang/Beposo for a very long time; longevity has its place. However, I must not be imposed on my constituents and should not buy my way into Parliament. My loss in the primaries was not due to a bad campaign but due solely to the fact that majority of the delegates were bought.
I am very certain that the framers of our NPP constitution did not foresee such a flaw in just a few delegates choosing a parliamentary candidate in a primary contest.
There is something strangely inconsistent about a political party that does not allow majority of its members to freely express themselves during primaries, but allows a limited number of constituency executives to directly or indirectly tell a limited number of delegates which candidate to vote for in a primary, and yet, boast to the world that the NPP led administration respects democracy so much that it encourages democratic values including FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. There is something strangely inconsistent with this.
I am deeply convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the global democratic revolution, then we as a political party must undergo a radical revolution of democratic values.
I am therefore making a passionate plea to this POLITICAL PARTY of ours to consider allowing all card bearing and dues paying members to exercise their rights in choosing who they want representing them as their MP in the general elections. If the NPP truly believes in absolute democratic principles, then it must NOT allow constituency executives to tell delegates which candidate to vote for. We must also not allow the highest bidding candidates to buy their way to Ghana's Parliament.
About 100 delegates, as in the case of the Nsuta/Kwamang/Beposo constituency cannot and should not be allowed to make a decision for the almost 18,000 NPP registered voters. This is not democracy at its best. The NPP cannot afford its dedicated membership the luxury of an anemic democracy. We as a party must formulate a basic procedural guideline to guard us in our parliamentary primaries. An incumbent must not be given the upper hand by allowing him to invite his minister and MP friends to speak in his favor. Our slogan of "Positive Change" should not leave behind our quest for an all- inclusive parliamentary primary process.
The notion that NPP members in Ghana, have everything to teach their counterparts abroad and nothing to learn from them, is not just. Whatever affects one NPP member directly, affects all NPP members indirectly because we are all tied up in a single garment of DESTINY.
We must therefore allow fairness and justice to roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty spring.
When we do this, then we will be able to live amongst ourselves as a peaceful and unified NPP.
I am going to divert briefly……….
My conscience tells me to tell you this afternoon that the truth must be told.
Our Party as I speak today is in a period of moral crisis. In a period of moral crisis, silence is betrayal. I also agree with Dante, "that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality".
You shall speak the truth says Jesus, and the truth shall set you free.
Just as the (P)NDC stepped on the toes of many Ghanaians, we as a party and government have stepped on some innocent toes. Some innocent civil servants are sent home on interdiction in haste, just because other civil servants want their jobs and fabricate baseless lies and stories about them. Even some civil servants who have voted the UP traditional way since the advent of Ghana's party political activities are victimized in haste because they are believed to be on the other side of the isle. Those PWD senior staff deserves our sincere apologies.
Some in our Party and government are trying so hard to obey the eleventh commandment; Thou shall not get caught.
Be corrupt and steal and cheat and lie but steal with a finesse so that even when you get caught as a government official it becomes embezzlement rather that stealing. This has come to be known in Ghana today as "causing a financial loss to the State".
My brothers and sisters of this NPP, the clock of our political destiny is ticking out and we must act now before it is too late. If something isn't done in a hurry to right this wrong then I am afraid to say that this will be the next political blunder of the Danquah/Busia/Dombo tradition since the PFP/UNC political blunder of 1979 that paved the way for the PNP to capture power. This political tradition cannot afford another blunder that will awaken the souls of J.B. Danquah, Kofi Abrefa Busia, Paa Grant, J. Kwesi Lamptey Edward Akufo Addo, Victor Owusu, Jatoe Kaleo. Chief S.D. Dombo, Abayifah Karbo, Malam Mahama Tula, Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, Adam Amandi and Joseph Yaw Manu to mention a few; only to tell us that they have toiled in vain. We must also not dampen the spirits of some of our elder statesmen like R.R. Amponsah, Solomon Osei-Akoto, Kwame Safo-Adu, Appiah Menka and B.J. Da Rocha.
It seems I can hear the voice of the God of the moral universe saying to the NPP and its government; You are ignoring some basic issues of the day - If you don't change your ways, I will break the backbone of your power and place it in another party that at least knows my name and which Ghanaians feel will do a better job than the NPP.
We have toiled so long in opposition and we must not allow ourselves to be placed in that predicament so soon.
For those of us that cannot see it, the writing is boldly on the wall; "2008 will not be an easy battle as 730,000+ votes that separated us and the NDC cannot be viewed as a huge margin when it comes to the voting trends of Ghanaians.
Asawase and Odododiodio comes to mind. How realistic are we as a political party when we deprive a well known candidate who ran on our party's ticket in 2004 and replace him with a least known candidate. Nii Ayi Bonte was not treated fairly. We must put an end to this unrealistic practice of imposing candidates on constituents.
We must also not allow the NDC to inject poisonous drugs of hate into the minds of our party faithfuls and Ghanaians in general.
I will not trade my NPP affiliation for any other political party. I will continue to work hard towards the success of the NPP in subsequent elections.
We must all help in our own little ways and retain the NPP in power, come 2008."
Friday, January 30, 2009
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