I have always been an advocate of the concept of PARTY FIRST: and I am not about to ever depart from advocating, and insisting that at all times, political parties must be, FIRST!!! My holding on to, the philosophy of, PARTY FIRST; stems from the firm and consensual belief that, at all times, Political Parties must be valued over and above the existence of any single individual.
Political Parties are Institutions; and all Institutions must live over and above any particular individual. In 2010, when during the period of President John Evans Atta Mills, President Barack Obama paid his historic visit to Ghana, he admonished us to invest in building “Strong Institutions”; and not invest in building “Strong Individuals”. At the time that President Obama visited Ghana and admonished Africa to invest in building “Strong Institutions”, President John Evans Atta Mills was Leader of the Republic of Ghana. Is President John Evans Atta Mills still the Leader of the Republic of Ghana? Certainly not!!! When Barack Obama visited Ghana, he was President of the United States of America. Is Barack Obama still the President of the United States of America? Certainly not!!! Although It is a truism that it is the strong and solid visionary thinking of individuals that result in the building of strong institutions, It is also a truism that visionary Leaders are only remembered for building strong institutions and NEVER outlive nor outlast whichever/whatever “Strong Institutions” that they helped build. Is it not a fact that it is the visionary and strong Leadership of the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which led the Gold Coast out of the cold and dark rooms of colonialism and walked a vassal state into the light of Independence and statehood with the new name of the Republic of Ghana?
Is it not a fact that it is the visionary Leadership of the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah that laid the strong foundations on which the Republic of Ghana continues to stand? The question is; has the Republic of Ghana not outlived and outlasted the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah?
Who can deny the fact that, until his ousting from office recently, Comrade Robert Mugabe remained the last bastion of the Liberation Struggle to free the African Continent from the shackles of Imperialism?
Who can deny the fact that it was Comrade Robert Mugabe who created a new and independent Zimbabwe out of the vassal state known as Southern Rhodesia? Who can contest the fact that Comrade Robert Mugabe gave birth to the, ZIMBABWE AFRICAN NATIONAL UNION, PATRIOTIC FRONT (ZANU, PF)?
At 93, and after close to 4 decades of riding the Zimbabwean horse of state, the ZANU, PF flexed its muscles in the acceptable “PARTY FIRST” manner, and “respectfully” ousted Comrade Robert Mugabe after he unacceptedly attempted to change the Constitution and make it possible for his wife, Grace, to take over as President of Zimbabwe.
The ZANU PF, was not ready to cede its SUPREMACY and allow Comrade Robert Mugabe to do the unthinkable and get his wife, Grace, to become the President, when the Party was patiently waiting for Comrade Emmerson Mnangagwa to mount the horse of State after the exit of Comrade Mugabe.
For close to 40 years, the ZANU PF, never relented in backing Comrade Mugabe on all fronts and carried him shoulder high. Obviously, Comrade Mugabe must have convinced himself that he had become more important than the ZANU PF, and valued himself and his wishes over and above the wishes of the Party.
Well, Comrade Mugabe woke up one day and realised that he was NOT BIGGER than the ZANU PF, as he was FORCED to walk out of office! Why Comrade Mugabe allowed himself to become a willing and hapless tool in the hands of his wife, Grace, is a matter that I chose not to delve into for now.
I was honestly sad, when I sat behind my television set and watched the scenes unfold as Comrade Mugabe ushered himself out of office in a way that did not befit the status he once occupied as an astute Freedom Fighter as well as an astute Leader of the ZANU PF.
In as much as I had a soft spot for Comrade Mugabe as he exited office, I SALUTED the ZANU PF, for assuming its SUPREMACIST role and not allowing the whims and caprices of a single individual and his “stranger” wife, to act in ways that were ominously deeply sinking the ZANU PF, ship.
Should the unacceptable conducts of Comrade Mugabe and his ungracious wife, Grace, have been allowed to sink a whole political Party? NO WAY!!!
Where was Grace Mugabe when the Liberation Struggle was being fought?
How dare she attempt to destroy a whole INSTITUTUION with her, vexatious, impulsive, bellicose, and capricious desires?
In the case of Comrade Jacob Zuma, let us just say that he was given a bitter taste of the medicine he fed to Comrade Thabo Mbeki about a decade ago when he led the African National Congress (ANC) to show the MIGHT of the Party and oust Mbeki as Leader; and went on to force him out as President of South Africa.
I had no tinge of pity for Comrade Zuma as the ANC flexed its muscle in an accepted PARTY FIRST manner and yanked him off the horse of state. Is not a shame that Comrade Zuma decided to go off the radar of the ANC and chart his own destructive course of “Zuma and friends first”; instead of walking up the accepted path of “Party First”?
I may be able to excuse Comrade Robert Mugabe to a little extent, because he led the Liberation Struggle and so could afford to assume that he was BIGGER than the ZANU, PF. In the case of Comrade Zuma, he was certainly part of the struggle but for goodness sake, he was nowhere near the main architects such as, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Thambo, Steve Biko.
So, what is it that made Comrade Zuma believe that he would be allowed to continue to single-handedly whittle away the political fortunes of the ANC?
Was it not the unacceptable ways of Comrade Zuma which caused Julius Malema and other comrades to break away from the ANC in 2013, to form the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Party?
As I watched Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa being sworn-in as President of South Africa, I could not help SALUTING the Supremacy of the ANC.
Those who do not know; must know that Comrade Ramaphosa was billed by the ANC to become next President after the tenure of Madiba Nelson Mandela but the same ANC decided to shelve Ramaphosa.
Comrade Ramaphosa dutifully obeyed the voice of the ANC and did not agitate when he was shelved and sidestepped to allow Thabo Mbeki to take over from Mandela.
Well, years down the line, the ANC has taken Comrade Ramaphosa off the shelf and beautifully dusted him and sworn him in as Leader of the ANC and President of South Africa.
How beautiful it is, to see the ANC assert its supremacy!
I have always believed in the Supremacy of Institutions as opposed to the supremacy of Individuals and the recent happenings in Zimbabwe and South Africa have only come to reinforce my clutching-on strongly to my PARTY FIRST convictions and God forbid that I ever compromise on my stance and convictions.
As a firm believer in the National Democratic Congress (NDC); I SHALL always uphold the strong tenets of PARTY FIRST!!! No individual has ever been; nor shall any individual ever be bigger than the NDC!
As a patriotic son of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana and a nationalist, I SHALL always uphold the tenets of GHANA FIRST!!! No individual has ever been; nor shall any individual ever be bigger than Ghana!
I rest my case for now.
Deputy General Secretary, NDC
Founder/CEO, Atta Mills Institute
Vice President, Council of African Political Parties (CAPP)
President, CAPP (West Africa)