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Mr. President, Come “Again On Winner Takes All” Syndrome

Guest Editorial

11 July 2013

Mr. President, Come “Again On Winner Takes All” Syndrome

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Addressing more than five hundred Senior Citizens at the State Banquet Hall to commemorate the 53rd Republic Day, the President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, had this to tell his guests: “The winner takes all in Ghana’s political dispensation is not helpful as the government and opposition remained parallel even after elections”.

The statement is very soothing, lofty, heart-warming and delightful, but sadly, Mr. John Mahama has no moral right to utter that statement. This is a man who for the past four and half years co-presided over a government of ‘winner takes all’ and yet when he met these more knowledgeable and mature ladies and gentlemen, he spoke as if he was addressing some Junior High School children. “Winner takes all”? Who started it? Who ended it and who is restarting it?

When we had our independence and Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah took over the reins of power, he did not see eye-to-eye with those from the UP tradition. In fact, Mr. Mahama’s father was a cabinet minister in that regime.

Apart from the fact that no UP member was appointed in the Osagyefo government, the man and his government set out in a deliberate and systematic venture to kill, humiliate and jail members of the UP. At a point in time the Osagyefo introduced the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) and used it to send many members of the UP to jail.

It is very sad to mention here that one of the founders of the nation who also contributed to make it possible for Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to come down from Philadelphia where he was domiciled to join the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) as General Secretary, Dr. J.B. Danquah was jailed by Kwame Nkrumah. The man died in jail while in shackles like a common criminal. As for Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, he had to sneak into exile to save his life as the Nkrumah hounds pursued him like the way we do to armed robbers.

After the overthrow of the Kwame Nkrumah regime and the subsequent elections in 1969 which saw Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia emerging as the new Head of State the practice continued. The Progress Party too did not see eye-to-eye with those who belonged to the CPP stock and made sure they were not brought into government.

The ‘winner takes all’ syndrome continued when Dr. Hilla Liman took over power until he was removed from power. Since attaining independence there are only two former Heads of State who could be praised for not towing the line of ‘winner takes all’. The two are Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings and Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor.

When Rawlings took over power, he did not rule the country with only the military revolutionaries. He brought people like Obed Asamoah (UP), Owusu Acheampong (UP), John Agyekum Kufour (UP), Alhaji Iddrisu (UP) as well as many dyed-in-the-wool CPP men and women to join his government.

After the introduction of the District Assembly concept by Rawlings, he made sure government appointees who were nominated to join the elected Assembly Members were from different political backgrounds. He emphasized that the essence of the Government Appointee was to introduce technocrats and businessmen and women into the District Assemblies so that they could contribute their quota towards nation building.

Enter President Agyekum Kufour and his New Patriotic Party (NPP). This gentleman too followed the footsteps of Mr. Rawlings by appointing many persons who were not members of his party to sensitive ministerial positions. One can mention Paa Kwasi Nduom (CPP), who held a cabinet position, Freddy Blay (CPP) as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Malam Issah (PNC), Minister of Youth and Sports, Madam Emma Mitchell (NDC) Member of Council of State, P.V Obeng (NDC) Executive Chairman of Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) etc.

He stretched his hand to the Ghana Armed Forces and made sure soldiers of the 64 Battalion, which was literally Rawlings’ private army were incorporated into the regular army to continue serving the nation. Remember General Akafia, a key member of the P(NDC) was appointed Ambassador to Egypt during the Kufuor regime.

Even in the appointment of MMDCEs, the Kufuor administration appointed many people from different political parties apart from the NPP to man the positions as political heads. One particular person whose name keeps ringing in my ears is Mr. Bomfeh, the father of James Kwabena Bomfeh (Kabila) of AFAG fame who was appointed as the Municipal Chief Executive of Kintampo. Mr. Bomfeh was a key member of the PNC. In fact, he is still a leading member of the PNC in the Kintampo Municipality. He was one MCE in the Brong-Ahafo Region who worked so hard to earn the respect of all and sundry. Even though he was not a member of the NPP, he helped in no small way to promote the agenda of the NPP in the Municipality. Many MMDCEs who were not members of the NPP but were appointed to the positions did similar things.

Sadly, two other persons who deliberately reversed the Kufuor “All Inclusive” style of governing the country are the late President Mills and current President John Mahama. If the two had followed what Rawlings and Kufuor started, President Mahama would not have had any cause to kick against the ‘winner takes all’ syndrome. That is why I wrote that he, President John Dramani Mahama has no moral right to talk about ‘winner takes all’ in Ghana politics.

Who is the winner today (despite the Supreme Court petition) and who has taken all? Within the NDC itself there is the ‘winner takes all’ syndrome. People who did not support the candidacy of the National Executive Members during the last Delegates Congress are denied positions even though they are qualified to hold such positions.

Mr. Mahama is very much aware that all the Konadu Boys have been sidelined in his government but he pretends there is nothing like ‘winner takes all’ in his NDC. If you look at the pedigree of people like Kofi Adams, Heyford Amoakoh and the other Konadu Boys and compare them to upstarts like Felix Kwakye Ofosu, Murtala Mohammed, Joseph Yamin and others you will clearly see that there is ‘winner takes all’ in the current NDC regime.

Has Mr. Mahama sat down to count the number of Northerners who hold ministerial positions in his government as compared to other tribes? That also is a typical example of ‘winner takes all’. During the 2012 electioneering campaign, Mr. Mahama went to the Northern Region to tell the people there that the time had come for a Northerner to become the president of Ghana. In fact, he said the Northerners are tired of playing the second fiddle, apparently referring to the late Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama. And so when he came to power he made sure people from the North held sensitive positions. And this is a man who is lamenting over ‘winner takes all’ in Ghana’s political dispensation.

As at the time the NDC II took over power with Professor Mills as the Executive President of the nation, the Ghana Armed forces was in the process of training some soldiers after their recruitment exercise which was done nationwide. We woke up one morning to hear that all those who were recruited during the Kufuor administration had been sent home.

Even the officer in charge of Manpower in the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel Damoah, was booted out of office. The Mills/Mahama administration referred to policemen who were recruited during the Kufuor administration as NPP party policemen. Many of them were clandestinely dismissed as if they were not Ghanaians. That was another example of ‘winner takes all’ for you. And so if Mr. Mahama thinks the ‘winner takes all’ in Ghana’s political dispensation is not helpful then he must clean his own house and toe the lines of Rawlings and Kufuor. Merely paying lip service to the ‘winner takes all’ syndrome will not solve the problem. Come again, Mr. President Winner Takes All.

Source: Eric Bawah/Daily Guide



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