The Author: Ebo Buckman is a Political Analyst and Writer
As the 2023 NPP presidential primary approaches, many arguments are being sashayed across the political space for one candidate or the other. Whereas some of the arguments have been very cogent, others have been anything but cogent.
Yet, a few of them, per their nature, can best be likened to a borrowed oversized smock. The more people try to put it on their candidate to make him look good, the more it looks odd and ridiculous on him. One of such arguments, in my opinion, is the Dombo argument, which is currently being made for the Alhaji.
Before I proceed to share with you my thoughts on the Dombo argument, which is disingenuously being championed by the likes Nana Obiri Boahen, Atta Akyea, Napo, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and other anti-Akan Crusaders for their personal interest, let me respectfully doff my hat and salute the late great Simon Diedong Dombo, for his astounding political loyalty and selfless leadership. May his selfless soul continue to rest in peace.
Those making the Dombo argument for the Alhaji, usually present it like this: the NPP is Busia-Danquah-Dombo tradition. We have had Mr. J. A. Kufuor from the political loin of Busia to become the President. And, the current President, Nana Akuffo Addo, came from the political loin of Danquah. So, this is the time for someone from Dombo’s loin to lead the party to become the next President.
There is no gainsaying that Dombo occupies a significant place in the soul of our political tradition. However, it is imperative to mention that what Dombo represents in our tradition, transcends geographical location. Dombo represents a unique political philosophy characterized by unyielding loyalty and conviction. That’s why Kwame Nkrumah could get his friend through a juicy appointment, but not him.
It is, therefore, very unfitting to link the Vice President to the late Simon Diedong Dombo by virtue of the fact that the Alhaji also hails from the northern part of the country. If only we can stick to the historical facts, and be fair and objective in the way we present some of these issues, we would be doing the party and posterity a great deal of service.
Ex-President Kufuor, an Asante man, is usually linked to Busia, a Bono man, because he served as a Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister in Busia’s Government. However, it has to be said that Kufuor never rode on the back of Busia’s past contributions to lead the party. He rose to the top on his own merit.
In the case of Nana Addo, it can be said that Danquah’s blood runs through his vein, as he directly comes from the same family as Danquah. In the same way, we know Nana Addo never rode on the back Danquah’s contributions to our tradition. He also rose to the top on his own merit.
So, why should some people try to force that argument on us, when it’s really untenable. You see, when it comes to Dr. Bawumia and S. D. Dombo, the only connection that can be established between them is the one traceable to his late father, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia (May his soul rest in peace), which happens to be so malodourous that Dr. Bawumia himself doesn’t want it to be told.
Our tradition’s history would teach you that if there is one particular name that makes Dombo turn in his grave, it is the Vice-President’s name – Bawumia. His late father was the first friend to betray S. D. Dombo and the other leaders of the Northern People’s Party and, for that matter, our political tradition and crossed carpet to CPP in 1958 for political appointment as the Northern Regional Minister.
In actual fact, his late father, from that time, stood in opposition to our tradition throughout his political career. He supported Limman’s PNP and Rawlings’ NDC against our tradition in 1979 and 1992 respectively. So, you can understand why his son, the Vice President, had nothing to do with our party from 1992 to 2007.
As a result, he cannot be put on the same political pedestal as Kufuor and Nana Addo in the making of the Dombo argument. We shouldn’t make that historical error and distortion. In any case, our tradition is a united tradition; not a segregated one. The NPP is the offshoot of the UP tradition, not the so-called segregated Busia-Danquah-Dombo tradition being highlighted for parochial political gains.
I really don’t know where the Ewes, Gas and Nzemas, for instance, fall under this segregated tradition. Do they fall under Busia, Danquah or Dombo? In any case, since 1992, no Ga person, Nzema person, Ewe person has had the opportunity to lead the NPP as a flag bearer or become a running mate before, not to talk of becoming the President or Vice President. So what should they also say?
Therefore, it is only fair and right to ask that anyone who wants to lead the party is personally measured with a higher standard yardstick. It is highly unreasonable to argue that because someone is from a particular part of the country, the person should be elected as the party’s presidential candidate on the basis of someone else’s contributions, in this case, S. D. Dombo’s. What have we even done for Dombo’s blood descendants? The hypocrisy in certain quarters of the party must be nipped in the bud.
For me, considering presidential primary aspirants on the basis of their own merit and contributions, in addition to the almighty marketability factor, should be the way to go. Besides, in my opinion, it is highly hypocritical to make the Dombo argument now when the same argument could not be made for the late Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama (may his gentle soul rest in peace), who was with party from 1992.
Note this, when the 4th Republic began in 1992, the Vice President was old enough to join a political party of his choice. Yet, he didn’t join the political tradition S. D. Dombo had risked all his life defending and promoting passionately, until 2008.
Not even President Kufuor’s appointment of him as Deputy Governor at the Bank of Ghana in 2006, could make the Alhaji join the NPP. Wow! The only thing that could persuade him was a running mate appointment. Wow! How many people would reject such juicy opportunity and privilege offered in a golden cup.
So, on what basis are his supporters trumpeting about his loyalty and love for the party from the roof top. That the Alhaji stood in the box at the Supreme Court in 2013 as a key witness to defend the party? I hear this argument very often. But, hold on for a second, who would have been the Vice-President if the NPP had won that case? The Alhaji of course!
Let’s be honest here! Any person with such interest in the case would have done what he did or even more. Therefore, it is highly unreasonable to use that as a justifiable rod to measure his loyalty and love for the party, and rather question the loyalty of founding members who have been with the party through thick and thin from day one. Did the Queen change the meaning of loyalty before her demise? It’s really baffling!
Besides, isn’t it strange and ironic that the Alhaji now wants to, through a cash coup, overthrow the very party strategy or formula that made it possible for him to be picked from outside to become a running mate and, for that matter, the Vice-President of the country, ahead of many highly qualified persons who had suffered for the party in those early dark and difficult years (1992-2000)?
I really share in the view of most of the party bigwigs that the eight years at the presidency is enough for the Alhaji. When we weigh his gains and sacrifices since joining the party in 2008, it is obvious no individual in the history of our political tradition has ever been as fortunate as him.
Let’s be sincere to ourselves, he was made a running mate in 2008 when he had not contributed a pesewa to help finance the party, as he wasn’t a member. In actual fact, at the time, he had not even contributed a drop of sweat to the party. I mean the kind of sweat people contribute by way of participating in the party’s electioneering activities like keep-fits or demonstrations. Should a conservative party like NPP sacrifice the party on this kind of questionable loyalty?
And, guess who subtly started the Dombo or Northern candidate argument! It was NDC’s John Mahama. Yes, it was the NDC that started it. They are waiting for us to swallow their bait so they can play the religious card against us. Anyone who has seen the video that depicts how the NDC successfully played propaganda with the galamsey issue, and still thinks that Dr. Bawumia should be our candidate, simply wants to see the party in opposition.
Let me conclude by saying any political party that doesn’t respect its own constitution, history and tradition, has already failed. We have a constitution, history and tradition to guide us as a political party. Let’s respect them so we don’t fail.
E. G. Buckman