The minority leader in parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has cautioned the rank and file of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to avoid being complacent.
This was when he was doing a diagnosis of the 2016 general election at the party’s national annual Delegates’ Conference which was held in the heart of the Central Region, Cape Coast, over the weekend.
Calling for all hands to be on deck, he stressed the belief that the NPP could have inflicted what he described as pulverizing defeat to the NDC in the 2016 elections, reducing its (NDC’s) number in parliament to less than 90 seats. The election results, he said, bore testimony to that.
There are about 17 seats he said the NPP could have won additionally nationwide, if they had worked slightly harder.
He indicated, “There are constituencies in this region that we won but in which we could have yet increased our figures in both presidential and parliamentary elections if available resources had been better applied.”
Aside that, he said, “There were petty squabbles and quarrels that ensued from the conduct of our parliamentary and presidential primaries which did tend to distract the army that was marching.”
Without those internal conflicts, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was sure the NPP could have done better than it did.
As a party, he noted, “We should confront the reality and not pretend that everything is right with us”
The crust of his argument was, “The conduct of elections at all levels of the party is increasingly polarizing the party.”
He also had cause to complain about the fact that people who offer themselves to serve the party have to criss-cross the length and breadth of the country spending huge sums of money in order to get elected, saying “regional officers spend wads of cedis and constituency executives spend excessively to get elected.”
But he had a word of advice for the party. “In politics, let us remember, there are no father Christmas; people who spend amounts thereafter form groups and take positions on who their preferred candidates should be,” he entreated, noting, “this is none but a recipe for factionalism.”
One thing that seemed to have annoyed the majority leader most was how people pride themselves as kingmakers and queenmakers whom he accused of often positioning themselves to extract monies from aspirants and even potential aspirants. That system, he stressed could only breed corruption.
As the only remaining NPP MP in parliament among his colleagues who entered the house in 1997, he claimed that many of his colleagues at the time were pushed out because of hostilities in their various constituencies.
For him, what this tends to do is “the party is left poorer as a result of the unthoughted high attrition rate…are we building the party or bringing the party down.”
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu therefore had a word of advice for the rank and file of the party. He said, “The constant peeling off of Members of Parliament is not helping to grow the party in parliament; it explains why championing the cause of the party in parliament is often left on the shoulders of very few Members of Parliament.
“So if you are not hearing much about your MP in parliament, it is in part because you are not growing the party in your constituency; let us reflect critically on what to do to reposition the party in our constituencies.
“We shall have a long stay in government, if we stay united and focused, remembering that if it is not your turn today, tomorrow may be there for you.”
Eight months of the inauguration of parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, “I am aware that in the backyards of many of our Members of Parliament, including even first-time legislators, some NPP members started conspiracies to remove those Members.”
He therefore, cautioned, “We should reflect, we should pause and consider the repercussions on the fate of the party on the next elections.”
The majority leader also had cause to caution against corruption in government since “that was part of what sent the previous Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration into opposition.”
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu recalled, “The nation was fleeced and bled profusely under the previous administration. The then president lost the fight against corruption; and it was one key reason why a deputy minister in that administration could declare boldly that her purpose in that government was to make at least $1 million in four years.”