At a lecture forum cosponsored by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung or Foundation, the Chief Executive Officer of the John Agyekum-Kufuor Foundation was widely reported to have said that there are no significant differences in ideology between the two major political parties in the country, namely, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Such frivolous faux-theorizing about Ghana’s two most significant political parties is annoyingly simplistic and patently absurd, and one hopes that Prof. Baffuor Agyeman-Duah had made the remarks attributed to him purely in jest (See “ ‘NPP-NDC Have No Serious Ideological Differences’ Professor” Ghana News Agency / Modernghana.com 4/20/17).
It is a farcical joke because these two political parties assumed the reins of governance via two radically divergent paths. Indeed, even as then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo pointedly observed not very long ago, the leadership of the Rawlings-founded National Democratic Congress is almost entirely composed of radical populists who usurped the democratic rule of law and order, and expediently replaced the latter with “revolutionary” vigilantism. Thus, we have the Rawlings-Tsikata diarchy significantly vitiating the legitimacy and credibility of the country’s judicial system.
The NDC leaders, notably Chairman Jerry John Rawlings and Captain Kojo Tsikata (Rd) would systematically orchestrate and personally supervise the abduction, torture and summary execution of the three Akan-Descended Accra High Court justices. As always, I place a special emphasis on the ethnic identity of the slain judges because there was clearly an anti-Akan programmatic edge to both their Mafia-style execution and that of the so-called Rawlings Revolution in general.
Unarguably, the same cannot be said of the leadership of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo-inspired New Patriotic Party. It is also important to underscore the fact that ideologically speaking, the NPP and the NDC are diametrically opposite of one another. As already hinted, the National Democratic Congress is populist in orientation and brazenly uses the inalienable democratic right of the proverbial average Ghanaian to do precisely the opposite.
To wit, the establishment and prioritization of the infamous People’s Courts more than amply testify to the fact that the NDC and its leadership and supporters and sympathizers do not believe in the democratic rule of law and justice for all and sundry. And even as Prof. Agyeman-Duah himself points out, the New Patriotic Party is a neoliberal market-oriented political party that staunchly believes in the imperative and practical need to deploy humanistic social intervention programs, such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and a cheap and heavily subsidized public transportation system as a means of rapidly advancing the development of the country.
On the healthcare policy and the latter’s practical implementation, it would have been more accurate for Prof. Agyeman-Duah to have highlighted the ironic fact that the best solution or answer to the NHIS program, created and implemented by President John Agyekum-Kufuor, was the unarguably extortionate Darwinian “Cash-and-Carry” policy of instant payment for health services or the prompt and abject denial of the same, which literally left out the low-income but hardworking Ghanaian citizen and the lumpen-poor and destitute.
In essence, the NDC’s healthcare policy was virtually akin to unleashing an open season of massacre against the Ghanaian working-class. It is also not the least bit accurate that Dr. Hilla (Babini) Limann’s argument-preempting mantra of “My ideology is Ghana,” was all that there was to the politics of, perhaps, the most erudite Ghanaian president of the postcolonial era.
Indeed, were he objective, Prof. Agyeman-Duah would also have promptly recalled the following economic policy statement made by President Limann, late, as the stranglehold of the IMF-World Bank lending policy regime began to unbearably bite the ordinary Ghanaian worker and citizen: “Let the Market find its own tide.” And on the latter score, it is equally significant to highlight the fact that this neoliberal approach to nation-building sharply contrasted with the socialist ideological leanings and orientation of the Nkrumah-inspired People’s National Party (PNP), which the mild-mannered career diplomat headed.
Both ideologically and policy-wise, the National Democratic Congress has done far more harm to the country’s socioeconomic well-being than could be said of the New Patriotic Party and its neoliberal antecedents. At best, the most positive observation and/or case that could be made in favor of the NDC leadership, is its belated recognition of the fact that its patent ideational bankruptcy left it with no other choice but to gauchely attempt to preserve and maintain many of the social intervention programs initiated and/or implemented by the Kufuor government.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York