A normal, healthy political party should have structures for monitoring the performance of the party at various levels, including the polling station, constituency, regional and national levels.
That is in addition to checking the health of government appointees and how their performance impact on development in line with the party’s mandate and vision of the party and government leaderships.
That is why both government and party are required to have research and intelligence desks that check to see if their files sync in how citizens feel about government or governance, the party or its leadership.
Particularly under President Kwame Nkrumah and Kutu Acheampong, this synergy was complete such that Nkrumah himself knew before he left for Hanoi, China, that he had lost touch with the grounds.
Today, parties in government lose elections before they decide to do post-mortems. That is because those who are required to ensure that government and party intelligence sync fail at their desks.
Last Friday, the governing New Patriotic Party held a press conference to announce that it was embarking on a membership drive.
Of course, data is at the back of every worthy enterprise in today’s global space, hit by COVID-19, with its pluses and its minuses
Fortunately, the NPP now appears to be catching the drift since it lost the war on galamsey, though Tarkwa still burns, and some sincerity must rule in the turbulent space, with an unnecessary mix of politics and skulduggery tainting the licensing processes.
Thank God that the essence of the membership drive is to generate discipleship and facilitate advocacy in getting party officers at all levels get off their comfort zones and help tell the story about development in their own backyards.
True people participation
While press conferences may be effective, party chiefs must admit that it caters largely to the sensibilities of middleclass, elite groups, rather than John Mahama and Asiedu Nketia’s ‘public opinion’ population segments.
The days when constituency executives fought party chairmen over who should lead in compiling registers, or the days when organisers fought chairmen over choice of polling agents should end.
Similarly, the days when chairmen fought MPs, or MPs fought municipal, metropolitan and district executives over political space should also end. We believe these issues arose because responsibilities had not been properly spelt out.
The new membership registration should culminate in drawing up reformed structures that truly encourage competition and expose laziness and mischief in constituencies, regions and even the national headquarters.
That is true people’s participation; and that is the only way to get people contributing and asking questions; or monitoring development and verifying if contractors are working to schedule and quality. That is also the way to avoiding defeats through wrong choices of parliamentary candidates.
The decision to embark on the exercise shows how those in charge of the party are learning. Five years in government, in which it has proved to the whole world that Africa has the capacity to produce quality leadership, is also enough time for parties in Ghana or Africa, for that matter, to move away from cult worship to organic growth and development.
That is the way to fight mis-governance, as we see in Guinea, for instance, or gangsterism as see in the opposition National Democratic Congress.
While we commend the party for the initiative, we trust that it truly gets rolled out with all the good intentions and commitment that support good governance and the campaign effort to win the crucial 2024 general elections. That is how the party can be repositioned better in the years ahead.