2024 Polls: New political party emerges, to be launched on July 1

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A new political party— Progressive Alliance for Ghana (PAG) — is set to be inaugurated on Monday, 1 July 2024, in Cape Coast, the capital of Ghana’s Central region.

One of the founding members of the party, Dr Nyeya Yen, announced at a gathering on Friday in Bolgatanga, Upper East region’s capital, that the party’s “presidential candidate and potential members of parliament” also would be introduced at the upcoming Cape Coast congress.

The party was established five years ago by members of the Social Justice Movement of Ghana (SJMG) and the Concerned Nkrumaists of North America (CNNA)— organisations set up by some highly respected Ghanaian scholars home and abroad who feel honour-bound to continue the things Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, stood for.

The PAG’s logo.

The scholars, according to Dr. Nyeya, were people who had been part of the country’s post-independence social justice affairs for decades, serving in various roles. Some of them are serving on the party’s board.

They include Prof.ThaddeusUlzen, aFoundation Fellow of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and former president of the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America, as Chairman;Dr. Nyeya Yen, a co-convener of the SJMG, as President; Dr Kofi J. Roberts, a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, as Secretary; Dr Eugene Asola, Managing Editor for the Multicultural Learning and Teaching Journal, as Chief Finance Officer and Dr Nicholas Atampugre, co-founder of London-based African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), as Member in charge of Orientation.

From left: Dr. Nyeya Yen and Prof. Thaddeus Ulzen.

The others are Ms. Phyllis Bourne, head of the PAG’s recruitment and membership affairs committee, as a member; Daniel Bentil, a Construction Management expert based in Florida, as a member and Max Vardon, head of the PAG’s resource mobilisation committee, as a member.

The party also has an interim National Coordinating Committee made up of members from zones across the country headed by Stephen Koduah as National Coordinator and supported by zonal coordinators.

From left: Dr. Nicholas Atampugre and Dr. Kofi J. Roberts.

A member of the PAG’s orientation committee, Hillary Adongo, stated that the party had met the Electoral Commission’s criterion for political parties seeking registration to have offices in at least two-thirds of the country’s 275 constituencies under the Political Parties Act 2000 (Act 574).

Left: Dr. Eugene Asola. Right: PAG members taking the party’s message to the public.

Adongo also disclosed that the party had set up about 143 offices so far across the country.

PAG intends to end foreign exploitation in the mining sector

Despite being resourced with gold, manganese, lithium, bauxite, iron and diamonds among several other expensive minerals in vast deposits, Ghana has remained underdeveloped and largely dependent economically on foreign aid since gaining political independence in 1957.

This is so because the extraction of these mineral resources generally has been under the one-sided control of foreign mining companies that allocate very little royalties and meagre shares to the country by the agreements they sign with it.

The agreements mostly lack transparency and they end up not serving the general good but just the interest of the foreign investors and a few indigenous government appointees found at the forefront of the deals.

Locations of gold deposits in Ghana. Credit: Isaac Kojo Arah.

While the towns where the expensive minerals are being extracted in the country are left in ruins and their people groan in severe hardship, the foreign companies earn very big and their towns, where the lion’s share of the mining profits end up, grow and glitter.

In addition to that, Ghanaians employed or contracted by foreign mining firms do complain about some human rights abuses willfully perpetrated by the companies against them or the host communities.

Map showing some natural resources found in Ghana.

While addressing the gathering, Dr Nyeya said PAG would restructure the mining sector in the country’s interest. He said the planned reform was part of several socialist policies the party had outlined in line with the vision Dr. Nkrumah had for the country decades ago.

“The major problem facing this country is who controls the economy. We have a lot of gold around us. In the Upper East region, almost everywhere, there is gold.

“But just see how some foreign companies are plundering our resources everywhere. We are of the view that our extractive sector must belong to us,” Dr Nyeya told the gathering.

“At least 51% of the [mineral] wealth must belong to us,” he added. “And it is not only the 51%, but you must also know what is being taken out, because even if you own 80% and you don’t know what is going out, it’s useless.”

Why PAG was formed and why it rejected merger proposals from some parties

Dr. Nyeya said PAG came into being “not because we wanted a different political party” but after members of the SJMG and the CNNA tried unsuccessfully to reunite some political parties that emerged from the Nkrumah ideological bloodline and had remained disconnected from one another for years.

He was referring to the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

The power struggle within the PNC gave birth to the All People’s Congress (APC) in January 2016 and, very recently, the People’s National Party (PNP) in April 2024.

Members of the party share the party’s ideas with the public.

Dr. Nyeya revealed that some political parties approached PAG recently with proposals for a merger ahead of the 2024 general elections but their requests were rejected because their ideologies did not fall in line with Nkrumah’s ideas. 

“All the 600 factories the NDC, the NPP, and the PNDC sold out and destroyed were built by Nkrumah. Even now, if you walk around, you can still see Nkrumah’s unmatched impact in the areas of education, health, agriculture, mining, the national economy, et cetera, all of which are now in tatters and which the PAG is determined to revive and restructure,” he emphasised.

The abandoned rice mill in the Upper East Region.

“The party was formed to fight for our economic independence. It was formed to complete the battle for independence. It was formed to continue what Nkrumah stood for,” he stated further.

The abandoned meat processing factory in the Upper East Region.

The gathering was chaired by one of the party’s co-founders, Richard Asueme, who in his closing remarks urged Ghanaians, particularly the youths, to hold those in leadership positions accountable and follow the path of self-discipline, self-confidence and selfless service charted by Nkrumah in the interest of the country and Africa.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org

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