Lessons of loyalty from our elections

One of the interesting stories and a great lesson I learnt from the 2000 elections was from a certain Alhaji, a very close friend of Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, then candidate Kufour.

  It is said that it is always expensive to learn from one’s own mistakes and it is a philosophy I identify with. Loyalty in friendship is something that should not be toyed with and betrayal has its consequences.

 A great lesson was learnt from the behaviour of the said Alhaji and it is a lesson I would never forget for as long as I live. The drama that unfolded just before the elections and after the final elections is one that will be difficult to forget by any political watcher or student of politics.

The former President had started his quest for the presidency in 1996 after the first elections of the fourth republic in 1992. The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) candidate was then Prof. Adu Boahen but after the NPP lost the presidential election under controversial circumstances, Prof. Adu Boahen decided not to contest the primaries leading to the 1996 elections.

 Out of the primaries for the 1996 elections John Agyekum Kufour emerged victorious and became the flag bearer of the NPP. In the subsequent general elections he lost to former President Rawlings.  Four years later he was the flag bearer of the NPP again and contested the 2000 elections. 

Just before the elections however, this longtime close friend and a prominent member of the NPP, defected to the NDC not only betraying his loyalty to his friend, then candidate Kufour but also to the party he had belonged to all his life.

Then comes the election and no candidate had the required 50 plus 1 per cent and so a second round was required.  The second round was carried out and lo and behold, candidate John Agyekum Kufour had won.  I wish I had the power to know what went through the mind of the Alhaji when the results were announced that candidate Kufour had won the elections. 

I definitely would have hated to be in his shoes with regards to the degree of regret the Alhaji would have had, after such a flawed decision to betray and therefore part ways with a longtime friend.

Having realised the enormity of the consequences of his unwise decision in relation to the victory of Candidate Kufour, the Alhaji quickly embarked on a damage control exercise. He immediately organised a press conference extolling the virtues of the NPP, the very party he had a few weeks earlier denigrated. He became the joke of the moment with various media houses making fun of him regarding his sudden turn around.

 He went on to state publicly that the NPP is the most transparent party making some incredible statements that their transparency is as clear as crystal. Why should anyone put himself through such an ordeal? 

Can anyone doubt the opportunities that could have opened up to the Alhaji had he remained loyal to his old time friend? I am sure that one of the factors that led to his death was the guilty conscience and the deep regret he experienced after the elections.

We should not allow current hardships we are going through influence us to sell our conscience to the highest bidder. We need to be principled in life and that is the surest way to go in order to earn the respect of people.

There is a man who displayed a principled stance when he lost an election. In the primaries leading up to the selection of a presidential candidate for the NPP in the 2000 elections a man contested and lost to candidate J. A. Kufour who later became the eventual winner in the 200 general elections.

 The candidate who placed second in the primaries took a principled stance and supported the winner J. A. Kufour and campaigned with him throughout the breadth and length of this country.  His contribution to the party’s effort in no small way, contributed to the success of the NPP in the general elections.  This endeared him to the rank and file of the party and as a result when Former President Kufour’s tenure was about to end, the party chose him during the primaries to be the flag bearer. 

Although he lost the general elections on two different occasions, they still stuck with him as the flag bearer and today he is the President of our dear nation, Ghana and is in the person of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. This must serve as a lesson to all who want to indulge in political activity as well as all endeavours in life; loyalty pays, I mean legal loyalty and not the kind of loyalty that condones illegality.

In the new Juaben South Constituency, a similar attitude played out where a young man contested and lost but continued to support the winner and the incumbent MP to campaign for the party.  Come the next primaries for the 2020 general elections the party delegates voted for him to represent to contest the general elections as their candidate. The incumbent who lost has graciously accepted defeat and is also supporting the party campaign in the constituency.  That is the way to go because another elections will come and people will remember your previous actions when you decide to contest and act accordingly.

There was an election in the primaries in Bekwai constituency, some years back in which one of the participants felt that he was not fairly dealt with when he was disqualified from the contest. He subsequently decided to go as an independent candidate for the constituency contrary to the party’s regulations and fortunately he won. 

Many years later a similar situation has reared its head in that same constituency and one of the disqualified persons also feeling dissatisfied with his disqualification has also decided to go independent and as they say what goes around comes around. Whatever seeds we sow today would definitely germinate some day and if it is a good seed we would harvest a good fruit and vice versa. 

The motivation for such disloyalty has almost always been selfishness and people must be made to understand that loyalty is important to the aspirations of any group or society.  Justice denied is also a strong motivation for people to sometimes go against the regulations and party leaders must also ensure fairness in the processes leading to such contests. 

Selfish mentality would always create problems for those who indulge in them and if the Alhaji were alive, I believe he would advise people not to be selfish and indulge in disloyalty. 

Laud Kissi-Mensah, Social commemtator

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