PART 2: WHY WOULD THE NPP WANT TO COMMIT POLITICAL SUICIDE IN 2024? BUCKMAN FIRES BACK
Dear Razak Abubakari and those who deliberately misrepresented my article,
I bring you greetings from Dwenhwekankrom. The Battle is Still the Lord’s.
I have read your rejoinder to the article I wrote entitled WHY WOULD THE NPP WANT TO COMMIT POLITICAL SUICIDE IN 2024? Let me be honest and say that it gladdened my heart that you decided to write a rejoinder and not to behave like others who diabolically misrepresented my article with their own maliciously crafted title to incite Muslims and Northerners against me or, for that matter, the NPP.
When I decided to write the article, I knew that not every person in the NPP was going to agree with me, but for some supporters of Dr. Bawumia to deliberately twist the import of my article to make it appear as though it is an attack on Muslims and Northerners is not only malicious but also disingenuous. Let it be clarified, “YOU CANNOT LEAD THE NPP IF YOU ARE A MUSLIM OR A NORTHERNER” was not the title of my article, neither was it a quote from it.
My article was written with good intentions and was not meant to favor any particular group of people or individual. It was only meant to favor the party. Again, let it be reechoed that there was no place in it where any categorical or implied statement was made to the effect that Muslims and Northerners cannot lead the NPP. My argument, as presented in the article, was in context and did not seek to suggest alienation of Muslims and Northerners from the leadership of the party. My argument primarily centered on the efficacy of the party’s winning formula and the nature and dynamics of the current Ghanaian political market within the framework of presenting the right candidate to have a significant political advantage over our main opponent.
In other words, in the context of what my article sought to convey, religious or tribal divisiveness or discrimination found no place. My assertions and analysis were unambiguously conveyed in a most decorous manner. So, my friend Razak, your camp’s strenuous effort to deliberately and maliciously impugn my sense of judgement relative to matters of religion and tribe is something I find difficult to comprehend. Anyway, welcome to the table of wisdom and understanding where we can agree to disagree on pertinent internal political issues without hurting each other and, for that matter, the fortunes of the party. I believe our engagements at the table will help the uninformed in our party to be well informed and even help the well-informed to broaden their thinking and decision-making horizon.
In my article, I chose to limit myself to only three equally important issues, namely the winning formula, the nature and dynamics of the political market and the 2020 elections and the vital lessons to learn from them. You made an effort with a not-so-impressive rebuttal to the first two issues but “intelligently” left the third one unaddressed. I will take it that that particular part was an oversight on your part. Perhaps you will find time to address that in the future so, I would be waiting for it.
Now, to the issues you raised in your rejoinder relative to the content of my article, I have a few things to say. Too many pages wouldn’t be helpful this time unless it becomes necessary. To begin with, I want you to know that the object of my article was not to discredit Dr. Bawumia, as you categorically suggested in your rejoinder. Dr. Bawumia wasn’t my article’s focus; the party was. The focus of my article was to help save the party from committing needless political suicide in 2024. I didn’t and don’t have any intention to discredit Dr. Bawumia. He is a fine second gentleman of the land and so why would I want to discredit him. Nonetheless, if you think bringing up such important issues to help save the party from needless political suicide amounts to discrediting him, then I am sorry to tell you that wasn’t the intention behind it.
My dear friend Razak, I never expected you to surprise me but you did. So, of all the important issues I raised in my article, the one you saw the need to address first is this one: “From the looks of it, the author is simply seeking to discredit Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and dwindle his chances of securing the support of party delegates to lead the party into the 2024 elections. For example, it is disingenuous to describe Dr Bawumia as one of many good people in the party. Without an iota of doubt, many political analysts will disagree with this assertion.”
If I understood you well, you said it was disingenuous on my part to have described Dr. Bawumia as one of many good people in the party. Wait a minute, is this something you mistakenly wrote? Or perhaps you wrote it out of the conviction being held by you and other supporters of Dr. Bawumia that he is in a special class of his own in the party. So, to you, the NPP cannot boast of many persons in his class. Razak, I don’t think Dr. Bawumia himself would agree with you on this point. He knows the NPP is endowed with many good and intelligent people like him. I think you rather were being disingenuous.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the winning formula that must stand. You sought in your rejoinder to disagree with me on the winning formula one. While I look at it from political strategic perspective, you look at it from religious and tribal perspective. Maybe that is why you referred to it as religious bigotry. Besides, you said it cannot be said to be a winning formula because the NPP lost 2008 and 2012 elections. Well I want to take it that you didn’t have time to read my article well enough. If you did, you would realize that I talked about the fact that the party’s 2008 painful defeat was as result of certain avoidable mistakes the party committed internally. If you had been deeply involved in the affairs of the party at that time, you would have known that needless and unjustified disqualifications of parliamentary candidates were the reason for that painful defeat. It had nothing to do with the formula and that is why Nana Addo repeated the same formula in 2012.
Again, the NPP believed and will always believe that Nana Addo won the 2012 presidential election which was stolen from him. Why do you think the party went to the Supreme Court to challenge EC’s declaration? Just for the fun of it? My friend, please go back and reread my article to help yourself with the facts before you use certain unsavory words to describe it. Let me tell you, with this formula, the NPP can hold on to power for a very long time if the party is able to hold its center together prudently and, also, if the government is able to manage to avoid committing unnecessary mistakes.
Razak, without any malice, I want to remind you that this same winning formula you and others are trying very hard to overthrow is what has given two illustrious Alhajis the opportunity and privilege to become Vice-Presidents ahead of many party loyalists who were equally, if not more, qualified for that position in terms of their contributions to the party at the time. This is something the NDC has not been able to do for the Muslim community in the country. Mind you, Nana Addo could have chosen anyone from any part of the country. After all, the NDC has won four elections without a Muslim Vice-Presidential candidate. But Nana Addo, seeing how the formula worked for J. A. Kufuor, embraced it and brought in a Muslim from the North in the person of Dr. Bawumia. Obviously, Nana Addo cherishes the political wisdom in the formula. Don’t you think so?
So, why do you people now want to slaughter the very crocodile that magnanimously carried Dr. Bawumia on its back across the river of honor to the place of prestige his exceptional knowledge and impeccable academic credentials alone couldn’t have taken him? Don’t you agree with me that slaughtering our able crocodile on the slab of experimentation would mean denying other potential sons of the northern soil such golden opportunity and privilege?
Rather than fighting to overthrow the formula that has given the party four victories since the year 2000, which will inevitably cause the defeat of the party, don’t you think that the NPP should give another Muslim son of the northern soil the same opportunity it gave to Dr Bawumia to rise to become the next Vice-President of the country? My friend Razak, let me tell you something, the Vice-President position is not a second-fiddle position at all as you sought to claim in your rejoinder. How many Ghanaians have had the opportunity and privilege to become one? I don’t think Dr. Bawumia sees himself as playing second-fiddle to Nana Addo in the presidency. In any case, even if it’s a second-fiddle which I completely disagree with, don’t you think second-fiddle is better than being in opposition (nothing-fiddle)?
In the NPP, there are many very well-educated, loyal, dedicated and qualified party members who have been around since 1992 but have not had the chance to even become Deputy Ministers. So, my dear friend, not everyone in the NPP is as fortunate as Dr. Bawumia who was brought in when others had already shed their blood, tears and sweat on our streets to help make the party what it is today. Mind you, Vice-President gets to act as President anytime the President is out the country. So, if you ask me, I would say he has ever become a President before. Don’t you agree with me on this one too?
That said, I think you and I can agree that Christians and Muslims in the NPP are not in competition relative to who occupies the Office of the President. What we have is a unique partnership that gives the party a significant edge over the NDC. As you may know, my dear friend, the first principle of politics is power. Therefore, if it would take this formula for the NPP to continue to hold on to political power for a long time, why not! Changing it would mean taking unnecessary uncalculated risk that could only bring regrets, tears and pain. Since the formula is legitimate and has proven to be almost perfect, let’s continue using it until right conditions necessitate its change.
If the results of the 2020 elections weren’t petrifying enough to send shivers down the spine of people like you relative to what to expect in the 2024 elections, what just happened in parliament should be more than enough. Let it be said again that if the NPP really wants to win the 2024 elections, then there shouldn’t be any room for political delusion and experimentation. As for what happened in parliament, the least said about it now the better for the party. So, I would leave that one for another day.
You see, my friend, it sometimes becomes extremely difficult to understand the psychology of politicians, particularly those in the same party. It appears to me the only time they value political power is when they have lost it. They would needlessly fight each other to lose power and then through a series of meetings come together again to fight for what they themselves relinquished to their opponent due to selfishness and pettiness. If the NPP has ever needed to unite so gaspingly behind one solid marketable candidate, now is the time. Undoubtedly, having the right marketable candidates plus a united party is the surest way to securing more seats in parliament and retaining the presidency in the 2024 elections. Fellow Patriots, let’s do the right thing to regain and retain our majority in parliament and the presidency respectively.
Razak, permit me to drum it loudly into your ears that the NPP doesn’t just need a good person to lead the party. The party needs a good marketable person who can lead the party to bring down the hard-to-break third term wall for the party to win the 2024 elections. And let it be accentuated to you and others who think like you that the Christian Southerner plus the Muslim Northerner combination has been the NPP’s most potent political weapon since 2000.
This is my advice to the decision-makers of the NPP: the current prevailing conditions in the country’s political market don’t favor the change of the party’s winning formula. As a result, I would wish to suggest that until such time that the NDC presents a non-Christian candidate or the NPP is able to win by a bigger margin of about 60% for at least two consecutive terms, the current winning formula must be made to stand to produce more victories for the party. You see, when your winning margins are that big, you can afford to take the kind of risk some people are forcefully pushing for.
Strategically, with the kind of heart-wrenching margin of victory we had in the last elections, it wouldn’t profit the party to change the formula at this time. Perhaps sooner than later, the opportunity will present itself when the NDC will present a Muslim as their candidate in which case the NPP can afford to change the current winning formula. It is worth mentioning that since 1992 the NDC has considered only one Muslim as their vice-presidential candidate. So, they don’t have the moral precipice to accuse the NPP of being an anti-Muslim party. Through their propaganda mill, they would be doing everything to influence the NPP’s presidential primary to their advantage. That is why the NPP must be extremely careful not to fall for their machinations, particularly on social media. They know the kind of candidate that would be a walk-over for them. If they can get the NPP to change its winning formula, they would pop a champagne. You see, if your opponent is consistently attacking your winning formula, then it certainly must be a thorn in their flesh.
Now, to the issues you raised about my analysis on the nature and dynamics of the Ghanaian political market, I have this to say. I still maintain my assertion that it will be extremely difficult and, for that matter, politically imprudent to present Dr. Bawumia as a candidate to win political power, considering the peculiar nature of the market. Razak, no matter how hard you and others try to water down the effect of religion in politics, the fact still remains that faith issues have always played a significant role in politics, aside the fact that a significant number of Ghanaians belong to a particular faith. This cannot be ignored by any serious politician.
You see, we can all pretend to believe that religion doesn’t play any significant role in politics but such make-belief would only end up diminishing the fortunes of the party significantly in the end. Religious undercurrent is really dangerous in politics. It is something that cannot be ignored or wished away in a country where at least 72% of the people belong to one particular faith. Any political party that does that does it at its own peril. I know the silent majority of the party members agree with me on this issue but have all remained silent for obvious reasons. Let me tell you, my friend, we cannot afford to make any regrettable mistake to lose this power in 2024.
Razak, your rejoinder has offered me an unsolicited opportunity to shed more light on the market risk management analysis I made in my article. I hope you can understand my point better this time. You will always be my friend henceforth. At least you were honest to have said some of the issues I raised in my article would go a long way towards helping the party. I am humbled by your kind words in that regard. Thanks!
The Ghanaian political market is made up of two levels, the micro level and the macro level – the micro level being the constituency level and the macro level being the entire nation. O, how I miss teaching! Basic prudent management requires that when you want to try an experimentation or take a new risk in any market, you don’t do it at the macro level. It first has to be tried at the micro level where the cost would be minimal should you fail. It is only when you have succeeded with a series of experimentations at the micro level can you consider trying it at the macro level.
Simply put, what you have not successfully tried at the micro level, you don’t try implementing it at the macro level. I hope we are on the same page with this principle my good friend Razak. I don’t know about you but I was only an SHS economics tutor at my Alma Mater, Osagyefo’s Own School, Ghana National College. At least one of my students is an ardent supporter of Dr. Bawumia on social media. He has completely forgotten what I taught him that in a free market economy, it is the market (consumers) that determines what to produce. Bear with my sense of humor my dear friend. We all need a certain degree of comicality to help us overcome the unfortunate pain of disloyalty we suffered on the floor of parliament. May I not be tempted to say it’s a final signal of complete leadership failure at the party level. This temptation should pass me by!
On a more serious note, my friend, to the best of my knowledge, the two main parties, the NPP and the NDC, have been prudent to a very significant extent in managing their risks at the micro level of the political market over the years. If truth be told, both parties have almost always presented Muslim candidates in Muslim-dominated constituencies and Christian candidates in Christian-dominated constituencies. The reason for this basic political strategy is not far-fetched at all. Market determines what to produce. If the market is dominated by monkeys, you must sell banana to make profit. Isn’t this so simple, my friend. Well, you may wonder why I like using monkeys in my illustrations. Well, we used to have plenty of monkeys at Ghana National College’s monkey sanctuary so I understand their behavior very well.
Besides, if this political strategy of presenting Muslim candidates in Muslim-dominated constituencies and Christian candidates in Christian-dominated constituencies is not seen as religious bigotry or discrimination, how then does it become religious bigotry or discrimination when a political party decides to apply the same basic political strategy or wisdom at the macro level to secure the all-important political power? Political hypocrisy?
Once again, my little advice to the NPP decision-makers is this: before you try any experimentation at the macro level with the presidential election, try it at the micro level with parliamentary elections. It is only when you have succeeded at the micro level can you try it at the macro level. If you try it first at the macro level and you fail, the cost will be painfully and regretfully unbearable. Let me put it bluntly, the NPP will be in opposition.
For example, the party would first have to experiment with a Muslim candidate in a Christian-dominated constituency against NDC’s Christian candidate and a Christian candidate in a Muslim-dominated constituency against NDC’s Muslim candidate and see the results it will bring before it can decide whether it would worth the while to present a non-Christian candidate against a Christian candidate of the NDC in a Christian-dominated country of about 72% Christians. I don’t want to mention any specific constituency to be in trouble but those who are advocating for the change of the winning formula can suggest some constituencies for experimentations. Let’s experiment with the constituency level first. There, the cost would be minimal should we fail with the experimentation.
My friend, allow me to take this one “pass inside”. The unfortunate incidence that took place on the floor of parliament reminds me of something that happened in 2008. When it became so apparent that disqualifying me without any justifiable cause would make the party lose the Cape Coast Constituency seat, one Regional Officer of the party arrogantly said this: if by disqualifying him we will lose the Cape Coast seat, so be it and so it was and so it is now in Cape Coast. Sadly, what caused the NPP to lose the speakership position to NDC is the same “so be it” decision. Someone definitely said in his or her heart that if voting for Hon. Alban Bagbin will cause the NPP to lose the speakership, so be it. People with “so be it” mentality are usually very petty and dangerous. They usually put their personal interest ahead of the overall party interest.
Dear potential delegates of the NPP, please give no room to “so be it” decisions at all when it comes to presidential election. At least at the micro level, a cost in one constituency can be defrayed with a gain in another constituency. The same cannot be said at the macro or presidential level. Razak, perhaps the likes of you need to be reminded that once a political party loses a presidential election it goes into OPPOSITION. Well, I don’t need to remind you how tiring, difficult and expensive it is to win political power in an election when you are fighting from opposition.
My new friend Razak, can you help the good people of Ghana to understand how having a Christian President and Muslim Vice-President in this country will disturb our peaceful coexistence as a people? Your rejoinder sought to give the impression that my support for the Christian-Muslim winning formula is divisive and dangerous to the peace of the country. You even suggested that it could breed fascism. Under President Kufuor and the late Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, may his soul rest in peace, we lived harmoniously as a people and currently under Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia the story is the same and I don’t think it would be any different in future. So, my dear friend, kindly refrain from unnecessary fearmongering. I am talking politics and you are talking something else.
Again, I am glad for your unforced sincere admission that in every society there are religious fanatics who will always vote on faith lines. I really appreciate that sincerity of yours. What the two of us don’t know is the percentage number of such people. I wish you and I could lift that veil of uncertainty to know the actual percentage. “Lifting the veil” reminds me of that brainy Lawyer, Ace Ankoma. That man knows book papa! He taught me lifting the veil in Company Law at School of Admin. Oh sorry, my friend, I just used that one too “pass inside”!
So, as I was saying, it is the uncertainty that makes it even riskier. It is always riskier to step into the unknown, my brother. That is why one best friend of mine calls the role of religion in election the dangerous undercurrent. It is rarely seen on the surface, but it is real beneath. Indeed, there is no art to find the mind’s construction on the face. People rarely want to talk about it in public but in their hearts, they talk to themselves about it all the time. This is the more reason why it will be very risky to try such expensive experimentation. Razak, don’t you think any percentage of 72% could be a significant gamechanger in any competitive political environment? My friend, it is political power we are talking about o! Perhaps you can ask the NDC to tell you how it feels to lose it.
As for the UK, USA, Nigeria and Rwanda examples you cited, they were out of the Ghanaian context so I decided not to waste time on that aspect of your piece. Please don’t be offended. It is within my right. The GUM example is the weakest of all your points.
A friend of mine requested that anytime I respond to your rejoinder I shouldn’t forget to remind you that there is no way a well-packaged fresh apple will be preferred to a partly-rotten banana in a monkey sanctuary. So far as the monkeys have to choose between apple and banana, they would certainly go in for banana. I hope to meet you in person one day so we can shake hands and embrace each other and laugh as friends. Once again, you are welcome to the table of wisdom and understanding. Lest I forget, kindly promise me that your guys would not twist my article this time round. I beg you.
Well, today I am reacting to your rejoinder with a borrowed laptop from my friend Egya Wonfa Tum Ndzi Agor in his faraway village, Dwenhwekankrom. My MOBA’94 best friend who happens to be my Legon Hall campaign manager and roommate, with your permission.
For those who suggested to me not to write anything again, I am sorry for disappointing you. Please forgive me. I felt it was necessary to respond to my good friend Razak and also clarify a few things. Shalom!