Feature Article of Sunday, 19 July 2015
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
June 29, 2015
His is the kind of gamey spirit that one would love to see among all the 25, or so, defeated New Patriotic Party parliamentary incumbents in the recent parliamentary primaries. I am talking about Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, the House member from Kumasi-Kwadaso, who lost his seat to one of his four challengers, Mr. Samuel Kwadwo Nuamah. The margin of his loss was quite considerable that one readily surmises that all was not well with the stewardship of the outgoing incumbent. What drew my attention to Dr. Afriyie-Akoto, though, was his emotional poise and maturity in conceding defeat. Not only that, Dr. Afriyie-Akoto has also rather progressively decided to throw his weight behind the man who defeated him, by assiduously working towards the resounding victory of the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (See “I’m Happy To Sacrifice Myself For Nana Addo – Afriyie-Akoto” Adomonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/15/15).
I, however, disagree with his characterization of his defeat as “self-sacrifice,” because the right to decide who gets to represent the Kumasi-Kwadaso Constituency belongs to the entire people of that robust and politically savvy community, and not any particular individual denizen or citizen. Still, Dr. Afriyie-Akoto’s eudemonious spirit ought to be thunderously applauded. There are a couple of instances in which some defeated incumbents are threatening to go independent. Such candidates’ psychological temperament and political objectives ought to have been given stringent scrutiny. But then, it is also all well and good that such selfish operatives have let their intentions known temporally ample enough for their local party-machine operatives to be prepared well in advance to afford them a resounding heave-ho.
Such sore losers and emotional toddlers ought to be permanently barred from returning into membership of the party. They cannot be trusted to be of any remarkable assistance in the most trying times. These are the sort of party “loyalists” that British-American revolutionary thinker Thomas Paine described as “summer soldiers.” The New Patriotic Party needs tried-and-tested all-weather soldiers like Dr. Afriyie-Akoto in its fold. Indeed, it is on the generously broad backs of such citizens that great and progressive political parties are built.
In terms of the widely expressed anxiety that the New Patriotic Party stands to lose a considerable percentage of its most experienced parliamentary representatives come 2017, the least said about the latter the better. Any studious observer of the general conduct of parliament can authoritatively attest to the glaring fact that the best days of our august House are well before it. For what passes for the legislative arm of the government of Ghana, these days, is nothing short of a scandalous executive rubber-stamp. And so, really, it is not clear at all to me precisely what caliber of experienced parliamentarians either the NPP or Ghanaians stand to lose in the terminal abbreviation of the tenures of the 25, or so, outgoing NPP-MPs.
To be certain, the reality of parliamentary longevity is that it creates a culture of cronyism, whereby the protection of the class and individual cross-party interests of parliamentarians get to be prioritized over and above the interests of the very constituents who proffered these MPs the right and privilege to act on their behalf. What I really see, vis-a-vis the jack-booting of the 25 “experienced” New Patriotic Party MPs, is that it is apt to enable Ghana’s otherwise white-elephant of a parliament open up to a remarkable and healthy percentage of fresh, young and creative minds, as well as boost the quality and functional productiveness of our hitherto perennially tottering National Assembly. Indeed, it is about time some dead old woods make way for fresh and promising seedlings. Only the best and the brightest ought to be good enough for Ghana!