Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The future of the CPP and the change we are looking for

December 7th has come to pass. I was really hoping for the Convention People's Party to make an impact in this election. It was asking much to see Ghanaians give the CPP enough votes to win when they had such a poor showing in Election 2004. Well guess what? The CPP didn't do much better this year. It won just one parliamentary seat and won under 1.5% of the presidential vote. One poll had given the CPP 7% in the run-up to the election. What happened? Let's dissect it and see what the future holds for the CPP. This is only the beginning.

The biggest reason why Ghanaians did not vote for the CPP was that a vote for the CPP was a waste. The ruling New Patriotic Party championed this message as well. Ghanaians want to vote for or support a winner. Ghana is an NPP-NDC nation. You'll have to ask yourselves why we support certain parties. The NDC has its world bank in the Volta region and that hasn't changed with Atta Mills at the helm. The NPP rules the Ashanti region even though people have claimed they still didn't do much to develop those areas during their tenure. If people in the Volta region could still vote massively for the NDC while JJ Rawlings is not on the ballot, it shows that we know what we are doing. Anyway, I think I swayed from my original point. The CPP is a third force and since people believed they couldn't win, they didn't get votes.

Let's say some Ghanaians decided to vote for the CPP anyway, just because they believed in supporting them for a change, as an alternative to the NDC and NPP. News made rounds that the populace did not want a second round run-off. It will be a waste of meagre government resources to hold a run-off election and it would dampen the Christmas mood and festive season. People who may have wanted to vote for the CPP bought this idea and voted for the NPP or NDC. Well, guess what? We are still going to a second round. The national coffers will take another hit. Democracy is expensive. Wasted votes will give way to 'wasted' expenditure. Nana Akufo Addo got 49.5% or so, beating out Atta Mills by about 1%. Funnily enough, we don't have a clear winner. Is it that difficult for we as a people to figure if we should keep on moving forward with the present government or call for a change?

Back to the world bank issue, it was expected that people in the Central region would rally behind their two sons, Atta Mills and Paa Kwesi Nduom. Reports say that the Fantes wanted the older or more popular candidate to win, because a re-run would be expensive and stressful. I must say that the Fantes didn't vote massively for Mills and Nduom, Nana Addo did quite well there. What do the Fantes know that the Asantes or Ewes don't? Nduom lost pretty bad in his own constituency - KEEA. People in Elmina are not very different from those in Cape Coast.

Other reasons for the CPP's poor performance were the internal wranglings and crisis. The NDC saw a breakaway party in the form of the DFP (remember Obed Asamoah?) after its congress. If only Kwesi Bothcwey had run on the DFP's ticket. Alan Cash resigned from the NPP citing "maltreatment of him and his supporters after he lost out to Akufo Addo" and later re-joined the party and we also saw the formation of the RPD after the NPP's congress. The CPP didn't see any breakaways, but we hardly heard anything of Kwesi Pratt, Edmund Delle, Agyeman Badu Akosa, George Aggudey and Bright Akwetey after the CPP congress. Most of the work done to get those 2000 delegates was undone. Later, one of the CPP stalwarts claimed Nduom was looking for a position in the next NPP or NDC government. There was also the Freddie Blay incident. Ghanaians believed the CPP's house was not in order and were not ready to govern the country. The bad press worked.

Someone raised the point of the CPP being outspent heavily. I was concerned with how the NPP and NDC hogged the media spotlight. The Nduom Youtube videos had fewer hits, the Nduom/CPP Facebook groups had fewer members and the Nduom/CPP change clarion call had fewer Google searches. That's a measure of money, fans, sympathizers and 'support'. The CPP has no leaning newspapers or public agents who'll give them a break with billboards, etc. I thought the September 21st rally had allowed the CPP to break the psychological barrier of how popular it was but it turns out it couldn't hold a candle to the NPP. The T-shirts proved not to be enough. The CPP needs to get more funds and stay in the media limelight to produce better results in the future. The grassroots campaign helped but did not deliver.

To borrow the words of Edwumawura, the people of Ghana have spoken loud and clear. We are not ready for this particular change. I was trying to make the Nduom-Obama reference once and a friend of a friend from Senegal mentioned that Obama was in an established party that enjoyed half of the country's support as opposed to Nduom who was in a party (of past glories) with little support. Ghanaians don't want this kind of change. The NPP-NDC thing is what we are used to. We are not ready to invite another major player. Maybe Kofi Annan should have run for president in a non-NPP/NDC party and we'll have seen if we were ready. From the very first day, Paa Kwesi resigned and stood for the CPP candidacy, some people claimed he should have 'stayed' with the NPP and run for the NPP slot. Sorry guys, he has a different ideology and he's always been a CPP member. Some others claim Ghanaians are not matured enough to vote for a third-party person even if he was the best candidate. Key word here is matured. We are celebrating the discerning Ghanaian voter for voting 'skirt and blouse' but we have a lot of work to do.

Paa Kwesi Nduom has already laid out a plan for 2012. There is talk of a shadow adminstration to help push the CPP's agenda, policies, etc. What happened to the 400,000 registered members? Was the number exaggerated? We don't know. Maybe. The CPP couldn't get half of those votes in the end. These 400K must become foot-soldiers to spread the CPP message and try to dissuade Ghanaians off reasons why they can't vote for the CPP. The question here is, which one is more influential? Your friend/colleague or some politician giving you some chop money and T-shirts? This reminds me of Sidney (Barima's) song "Wo kunu ko tebea" where he said, "Ɔyɔnko pa ne deɛ wonya asɛm a, sika a wopɛ biara, ɔdebɛbrɛ wo. Ɛnso ɔnya kwan mmɛ hwɛ wo. Anaa yɔnko pa ne nea daa wonya asɛm a, da biara, ɔte wo nkyɛn daa. Nanso sika a, ɛde sika deɛ, ebia na woanya bi amma wo". Would you take your loved one's word over the person giving you money?

The lone parliamentary seat won is worrying too. I guess the Nkrumah name was unstoppable in Jomoro. Who knows? Maybe Samia Nkrumah would have made a better showing running for president than Paa Kwesi. Ellembelle Mugabe lost out, which saddens me, because it would have been nice to win and stay in parliament as a CPP rep. But with his recent antics, we don't know if he's still with the CPP. Time will tell. The CPP didn't exactly field great candidates in my opinion. When the NPP run in 2000, most of their bigwigs run for MP. They won and they became ministers afterwards. The recognisable members in the CPP should have run for MP. Or were they not interested? The shadow administration should have people willing to run for legislative seats in 2012.

The CPP message is good and has the potential to work four years from now. Unless of course, whichever new government comes and implements that message. The quest now is to build upon the energy that was put into this campaign and develop foot soldiers. Foot soldiers who will spread the message and participate in discussions about how to make our country better and convince as many Ghanaians that we have the best ideas and men to do the job. We must continue the positive campaigning and make it a campaign of issues. Maybe eventually, Ghanaians would read into that as what's important and the tit-for-tats would stop. Also, I pray that the PNC, CPP and GCPP unite for a strong Nkrumahist front sooner than later. I have been trying my best not to mention Kwame Nkrumah in this article. His ideology, ideas and will for Ghana and Africa live on though in the CPP of today.

I am sounding like a politician here, I am not even a card-bearing CPP member. The CPP does have the best leader in Paa Kwesi Nduom and I'd like to see them lead our country in the near future. Four years is a long time from now, and I am hoping the same kind of 'change' I envisioned in a CPP-led Ghana would manifest itself in the next four years. A better country may make it more difficult for the CPP to come to power but isn't that what we all want? Ghana first all day. The CPP is more primed, and it's in its psyche to put Ghana first, that's why I support 'Yeresesamu'.

Concerning the upcoming run-off election, I am not a big fan of either the NPP or NDC. I clamored for change in the name of the CPP, but not the way the NDC wants to do it, has said they want to do it or haven't said how they want to do it. Someone wrote an article on myjoyonline about the NDC being negative change, the NPP being the do-nothing neutral change and the CPP being the active positive change. I do know that Ghana needs change. We have needed change for as long as I can remember. A change of government and leadership will be nice but the onus always falls on the shoulders of Ghanaians. So before you choose who to vote in this run-off, ask yourself what you need to change in what you do, and the changes we have to make in our attitudes, and the policy changes we need in Ghana.

PS: I think B.K. Oduro and the Noko fio party should have run. They are already owning the number of rejected ballots which will place them third. It would have been nice to see them run. They do have a great slogan - "Changing things, To move forward so that we can all chop small, small". Nice.
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