Uniting with PNC is the only way of moving the CPP forward – Ade Sawyerr
I have been silent for the past eighteen months on the politics of Ghana hoping that things will get better for the country; but I have been disappointed that despite the promise of the last 53 years Ghana has yet to live up to the words our illustrious leader Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah spoke at independence, that 'the black man is capable of running his own affairs'.
Of course the black man has proved that in a leadership position he is capable of feathering his own nest, and what little development money comes his way is either frittered on ostentatious consumption projects or finds its way back into the system of the donor countries in someone's bank account or as bribes to the representative of the donors.
I have tried very hard to apportion blame and have looked at the performance of previous governments, civilian and military.
I cannot blame the CPP of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah who led this country and the rest of Africa to independence. He did an excellent job for Ghana and Africa as a whole; and he cannot be blamed for the coup d'etat that cut short his time in office, a coup from which we continue to suffer because it emboldened others to take the gun to curtail our democracy and our development.
So I cannot exonerate military misadventures by dictators for the pillage and rape that they visited on us, and in the case of Ghana the banning of the CPP between 1966 and 2000, a good 34 years of preventing the only party of hope for the nation from participating in political activity.
It may be surprising that i want to blame the current CPP for our stunted development and growth and for the failure of Ghana and Africa and indeed all black countries that have been unable to fulfil their potential. I blame the current CPP because having shown so much promise of excellent performance it has consistently ended up getting less than 2% of the votes at elections but I resist the temptation to put all the blame on the leadership; I blame the membership more than the leaders because after all the leaders are selected from the membership.
This party has consistently snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, as if it is plagued by a virulent strain of some virus that keeps eroding whatever small gains are made in attempts to rebuild the party.
Our leaders need reminding that power is not won in the courts but at the polling station. This business of leading members of the party constantly asking for the Supreme Court to seek a determination of actions taken by the legislature and the executive is not why we form political parties. For one thing, the judiciary is appointed by the executive and for another our leading members should be campaigning so that they are the people in the legislature taking the right decisions that should benefit the country.
So the cases filed by the leading members on the Vodafone sale and the recent case, again by leading members, on the STX case may alert people that the CPP intends to defend the people of Ghana against bad decisions by government but this signal is of no effect.
These episodic interventions and attempts to use the courts distract. especially since the suits are not filed by the party but by 'leading' members. They are divisive because they highlight the fact that the party has no position on these issues and the raise the stakes for disunity in full glare of the public. In the end these interventions amount to lame posturing that does not in anyway increase our performance in the polls and end up benefiting the larger opposition party at our expense.. How sad.
We must remember that the judiciary will not win power for us! We must stop attempting to use the courts as a proxy for the hard work that will get us back in power. The courts have no power to make our candidates Members of Parliament and the courts have no power to make our flag bearer the President of the country, only the people of the country have that power; and we must spend all the time we have campaigning at the grassroots to get more members. If the voters think that there are too few of us they are more unlikely not to vote for us.
The party needs to get beyond its resigned position of being a protest organisation, protesting against everything that government comes out with. That is reactive politics, what we need as a party is proactive politics and proactive politics demands that we present to the people of Ghana and Africa our stand on the most important issues and then challenge the government in power on issues when we feel that they are not delivering for the common man.
So I blame the CPP for the state in which the country and the continent is in. I blame the CPP for signalling a false awakening of the party and for not living up to its promise to galvanise the country to positive action of the type that is for a radical transformation of our fortunes.
So what should the membership of the CPP do?
The CPP should ensure that all those who are not in the NDC or in the NPP should become members of the CPP. They should transform the party into the best days of the country so that we can all boast again that 'Ghana is the CPP and the CPP is Ghana'. They should provide a vision of development that has at once a wide lens but nevertheless a sharp focus. They must not wait for the leadership to tell us how to implement the plans for development but they must seek to involve every Ghanaian in politics as their right not their privilege; they must above all energise the masses.
The effect of this mass involvement in politics will be to galvanise those who see themselves as leaders at the grassroots to pressurise our leaders to deliver not only for a section of Ghanaians but for all people in the country, whether they live in rural areas or in urban areas, whether they are professionals or vocationalists, whether they are educated or uneducated, farmer or fisherman, trotro driver or aplanke or myself, market trader or supermarket manager, banker or susu collector, public servant or private businessmen. It is to ensure that the membership of the CPP spans far and wide and is truly representative of the people of Ghana.
But before we go on this recruitment drive, we need a signal to prove that the CPP is worthy of being joined. We must finally reverse the curse of Limann who we abandoned in 1992 when we should have united around him to fight the transformation of a military government that had curtailed his rule that was then seeking to turn itself into an inept democracy. We must atone for abandoning Limann and pitching our camp one way with the NDC and the other way with the NPP. From the bosom of one coup maker who had cut short our rule in 1982 to the bosom of another who had been the beneficiary of the coup in 1966. We will remain cursed if we do not fortify ourselves with the dignity we and the people of Ghana deserve by uniting with the PNC. I hope and pray that the present talks will be handled more effectively than previous ones and that this unity will be achieved.
It is after the CPP had done the restoration and penance that it can now come out boldly and say that it is in a new mould in need of new management. It is only then that the CPP can begin to open its doors to the sons and daughters of Kwame Nkrumah, those who because they felt they had nowhere to go and were not content with either offering of the NPP and NDC abstained from politics.
So after unity, we need to reinforce our identity to the people of Ghana. This is not about ideology or about relying on past glories of the party; this is about letting the people of Ghana know how we intend to resolve the problems of the present and to chart a credible path of development for the future. This is about building a platform of ideas on the issues that are dear and close to their hearts. This is about evidence based policies with real case studies to buttress our arguments on an alternative path to development. This is not about just the projects that we intend to implement but about the values and principles that underline our policies on health, education, agriculture, employment, rural development, housing, enterprise promotion and generations, crime and safety, social welfare and our relations with our brothers and sisters in Africa and the Diaspora and with the rest of the world.
The vision of the party must not be just about what the CPP will do for the people, it must be about how we will empower the people to take charge of their lives, to engage as active citizens in development around them so that they will have ownership of the projects, benefit from them at the time of their implementation so that they are best able to extend the gains and ensure sustainability. We will let the people tell us how they can be involved in joined up government, government that extends from the ward, local, constituency, district and regional level to central government and how the government can ensure that the best practices can be replicated all over the place.
Our vision must be as urgent as it is current and must address how we can use the principles on which we stand, the principles of social justice, self determination and pan Africanism for the social, economic and political transformation of our country to show to all a living testimony of the promise at independence that the Blackman is capable of running his own affairs.
It is on this platform that I ask all those who wish to join in the this mass effort to go to the polling stations and ask for CPP cards. So that they will disembark from the backward moving trains of reactionary parties that still continue to believe that despite our abundant natural and human wealth, we still need people to come and run our industries for us, that the Ghanaian is not deserving of producing and creating, that the Ghanaian is only deserving of buying second hand things that have been discarded by foreigners.
I am making this clarion call to all Ghanaians who do not belong to the NDC or the NPP to join in the CPP, the party of self determination, but we must do it at the grass roots level because that is where real transformative power is taken. We must also recognise as Ghanaians that to build a movement for good it must come from the grassroots. The politics of Ghana has been warped to the urban areas and those who come from the rural areas have a unique opportunity to dictate the pace of development for the good of Ghana and Africa.
But if we join the CPP what do we expect to happen. We must expect that our members will stand for elections and win at the local district level; we must show central government that despite their continued appointment of district chief executives, we the people at the local level can take charge of our lives and start implementing projects meant for the good of our people.
We in the CPP must seek to increase the number of our representatives at the district and national level at an accelerated pace and we can do this only if we are confident that the mass of people will join us.
It is only by these serious measures and the signalling of our intentions that the people of Ghana will come to join us on this much need project at the cusp of our new independence to deliver yet again for the people of Ghana.
But this time round it will not be about the genuine fake and the mirage of power from the barrel of the gun, that runs out of steam in the end, it will be above a conscious effort of the people to transform their lives and to reap the benefits of the endeavours, it will be about active citizens, assessing their needs for development, questioning and holding their leaders to account from the grassroots to the national level and releasing their creative energy in the most beneficial way possible to rule themselves.
It is about the people of Ghana forever shaking off the shackles and rebelling from the yoke that has been their bane for the several years of the fourth republic and saying that this time there is an alternative, there is a new alignment in politics, finally the people have a credible choice is the CPP.
Fortunately the signals show that this will happen. The party that represents the only alternative for the principled development of our country and Africa can meet the challenges that the black man is truly capable of running his affairs? The radical social, economic and political re-transformation occur in this country will happen.
Ade Sawyerr is partner in Equinox Consulting, a management consultancy that provides consultancy, training and research that focuses on formulating strategies for black and ethnic minority, disadvantaged and socially excluded communities. He also comments on development issues. He can be contacted by email on [email protected] or through www.equinoxconsulting.net