The NDC And The IEA – By Kwesi Biney

Hmmm, oye asem oo, this country called Ghana. Well, as I said the other day, Ghana has done nothing wrong but the people nature perhaps, made a mistake of putting on this land.

The bad people that we are, we are found in all segment of our society, the danger however, is that when profoundly dishonest group of people congregate and form a political party and win elections, the whole nation then suffers. The National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was conceived out of lies, nurtured in the womb of falsehood and delivered on the altar of obstreperous inveracity, never ceases to amaze right-thinking people of this country.

It has become very fashionable, nay, licentious, for the NDC to consider or label any individual, group of individuals or institutions and organizations in this country which criticizes it to be considered as an enemy worthy of all manner of invectives. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) came into being in the early 1990s when this nation was, once again, ushered into a democratic form of governance after 11 years of mobocracy of the PNDC which gave birth to the NDC.

With a humble office located at Dzorwolu, off the Olusegun Obasanjo Highway, the P/NDC never saw eye to eye with the IEA. In fact, it was the first think tank which boldly offered a platform for alternative views on the body polity immediately after the Fourth Republican Constitution came into being.

As a young reporter at the now Graphic Communications, I was regularly invited to the roundtable conference of the IEA. Very prominent among personalities who visited and took part in the roundtable discussions were the late Dr. Hilla Limann, the President of the Third Republic, Dr. Jones Ofori-Atta, Prof. Folson, Prof. Kofi Kumado, and many University dons of the University of Ghana, the late Justice Taylor, former President Kufuor, Justice Hayfron Benjamin and many prominent sons and daughters of this country with diverse, backgrounds to discuss very important national issues most of which the government at the time found very uncomfortable with. One major feat of the IEA at the time, which I re-call, was the Bill which brought the Serious Fraud Office into existence.

The original Bill which was first made public by the Independent Newspaper, then edited by Kabral Blay Amihere, would have been inimical to the freedoms and liberties of the people of this country, if it was allowed to pass in its original form. The IEA organized very thorough discussions over the Bill, with lawyers and other prominent citizens expressing the dangers ahead of this nation in as far as the Bill was concerned. In fact, it was during one of these discussions which nearly had Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe reducing Dr. Tony Aidoo into smithereens as a result of his uncouth use of language, but for the intervention of ex-President Kufuor.

In all these good intellectual contributions towards national development, the Daily Graphic, under the editorship of the late Sam Clegg, had decided not to publish anything from IEA which the NDC government then described as ‘Fanti Confederacy.’ However, my immediate boss, then, Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, persistently presented stories from the IEA to conference until Sam Clegg decided, whether on his own or order from above as usual, to publish the activities of IEA. The NDC government finally was compelled to accept the IEA since it had become a major platform for varied intellectual discussions and a barometer for measuring good governance.

The NDC has carved a niche for itself as a political party, which is, anti-intellectualism; each time a group of people or individuals analyse issues intellectually and arrive at conclusions that are not in favour of the NDC, irrespective of the stature and status of those involved, the spokespersons of the NDC will close their eyes to the substance of the arguments on the floor, that is, if they have the capacity to appreciate the intellectual arguments at all, and heap unprintable invectives on very prominent Ghanaians for making contributions to the national discourse. The list of such individuals, groups, and institutions who have at one time or the other fell victim to the sharp, biting and piercing teeth of the undomesticated and disrespectful minors in the NDC government, whose public conduct is an indication of a remiss of parental neglect of the values of our society in their formative years, is endless. I wonder whether the parents of these children with saw-like teeth are alive and very proud of them apart from the stolen monies they give to them for their survival.

Prof. Addae Mensah, a very respectable personality in his own right, was damned by a mere first degree holder whose achievement in life has been an ‘effective’ footsoldier, honoured with the position of Director of National Service Secretariat, had the effrontery to insult this eminent personality and virtually declare him ignorant. Prof. Djangmah, an educationalist par excellence, whom my humble self had the opportunity of working with at the same IEA, was reduced to an ignoramus by this NDC neophyte for expressing his views on education at the secondary level in this country. Today, the outcome of the position the two gentlemen took, is there for all to see. And did I hear the Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur taking credit for the excellent performance of our children who went through the four-year period. Indeed, hypocrisy is nothing but the praises which vice showers on virtues.

Do you know the man who was camped at Akosombo to write the education component of the NDC’s manifesto? Prof. Anamuah Mensah, formerly of University of Education, Winneba. His attraction to the NDC is the fact that he chaired the Kufuor educational reform committee which opted for a three-year SHS if the needed logistics were made available. The NDC has selectively chosen that portion of the report to rubbish the four-year SHS programme. I am wondering what the thinking of the learned and distinguished Professor is on this matter in view of the ‘unprecedented’ achievements at the four-year SHS. We will read what his inputs into the education debate are.

The NDC has insulted the leadership of the Catholic church for expressing its view on the use of biometric verifiable machines for the elections, the Presbyterian church for its views on the 45 newly created constituencies, Imani for its views on national issues, particularly on the economy, you name them. The CDD, another major think tank in this country, which once again, I am proud to have been associated with, also was virtually ‘banned’ by the NDC in its scheme of things. Judges of this country have been declared persona non grata by the NDC and tagged members as NPP.

The NDC has every right under the sun to decide which organization it will associate with or not associate with, particularly when those organizations are not legally and constitutionally mandatory for the NDC to deal with, but it is psychologically unsound and sociologically untenable for the NDC to run down institutions it disagrees with in such an uncouth manner as it has become their modus operandi. Indeed, it is politically suicidal. Listen to what they said when they decided not to be part of the IEA organized Presidential debates.

The IEA’s attitude over the years shows that it is prepared to shred their credibility in order to save the blushes of the NPP – Felix Ofosu Kwakye, Peace FM (It is alleged that he is the son of Mr. Kofi Totobi Kwakye, outside of marriage).
We, in the NDC do not think that platform offers the effective and potent approach to selling your message and persuading the electorate to really vote for you. We think that if it is about platform to sell ourselves, a platform to persuade the electorate to renew the mandate of Prez. Mills, we have a lot of that and we think the approach we are adopting as a political party, is working for us and is most effective and we do not see this platform as effective -Richard Quashigah, Propaganda Secretary of the NDC
President Mills has decided to pull out from this year’s Presidential debate being organized by the IEA because the government is not convinced about the neutrality of the organizers. -Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information.

The big question is; what has changed that the NDC is going back to the same institution it denigrated and abused not too long ago? A principle must be totally upheld or wholly abandoned, once it is compromised, it ceases to be what it is. Why do I even talk about principles when it is evidently clear that the NDC does not know what a principle is? All we need to do is to pray for them as long as they remain in office constitutionally and kick them out constitutionally when the time is ripe. Let me cut some two tots and reduce my blood pressure because we are not in the best of times.

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