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NDC general secretary says NPP treats northerners as second class citizens and he may be right.


Mr Asiedu Nketia, the general secretary of the ruling NDC  is a man who does not run away from controversies. Widely known as “General Mosquito” he does not mince words, and is prone to outlandish pronouncements. In the past, he has uttered provocative statements to the consternation of the main opposition party, the NPP.

His latest salvo, in which he essentially accused the NPP of outright tribal discrimination, is bound to cause discomfort and raise eyebrows.

This is what Mr Nketia said: People of northern extraction including the late vice president, Alhaji Aliu Mahama and Dr. Bawumia are seen as second class citizens by the NPP and then used for a purpose and dumped.

As proof of the NPP’s tendency to treat northerners shabbily, he cited the 2008 sidelining of the late Aliu by the hierarchy of the party when he was logically expected to be the party’s nominee after dutifully serving the nation as vice president for eight years. Mr Nketia is forewarning that Bawumia would be similarly treated.

Much as one would want to discount Nketia’s assertion as political invective, there is absolutely no doubt that tribalism has underpinned some past decisions of the NPP. The steamrolling, indeed, the whole-scale abject rejection of the late Aliu was a deliberate, calculated move orchestrated by the party’s southern leaders to guarantee that a northerner did not lead it into the 2008 elections.

The rejection of Aliu paved the way for the three-time presidential candidacy of Nana Akuffo Addo. It was a southern strategy, simple as that; push aside a northerner and allow a southerner to head the party.

In fact, the pain of Aliu’s rejection among northerners, regardless of their political alliances, was raw and has festered to this day, cementing widely held perceptions that the NPP is unfailingly tribal.  To date, no explanation has been trotted out by the party for the way it treated Aliu.

After withering criticism for its poor handling of Aliu, one would have expected the party to have an internal house cleansing and subsequently commit itself to fairness and equity, with much emphasis on the decent treatment of all its members irrespective of their origin or tribal affiliation.

Sadly, however, the party worsened matters with its ill-advised harsh treatment of Mr Afoko, its erstwhile chairman who hails from the north. His election four years ago was greeted with euphoria, and there was much hope in the air that at long last the NPP has made amends for its past missteps. But this feeling of renewal was short-lived; Afoko suffered the humiliation of being ousted as chairman for allegedly disrespecting party elders.

And the utterly absurd statement of Mr Sarfo Marfo, a party elder of the NPP, that southerners deserve to lead the nation because much of its wealth is derived from their region is still fresh in the minds of northerners and others who don’t hail from the south.

Northerners are still suspicious of the NPP and its general attitude towards them—–despite the party’s overtures—- which explains why the party finds it extremely difficult to make headway in the north.

A political party that elects, as a matter of internal policy, to treat some segments of the population as second class citizens, skates  on thin ice and ultimately pays a huge price at the ballot box.

Nketia thinks, and he may just be reflecting the mindset of northerners that, Bawumia, based on the NPP’s treatment of Aliu and Afoko, would also suffer the same fate; sidelined and thrown overboard when it comes to his turn to lead the party.

After all, Alan Kyerematen is still waiting in the wings, ready to pounce on the leadership mantle as soon as it becomes vacant to realize his often postponed presidential ambitions.

And, who else is patiently bidding their time? This is the conundrum in which the NPP finds itself. Bawumia is a superstar in the party and is hugely respected by the rank and file for obvious reasons.

Will Bawumia’s superstar status preclude him from being shoveled aside for the likes of Kyerematen and others of southern extraction? The NPP can ill-afford to commit political hari-kari, political suicide by sidelining its darling boy.


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