My unsolicited advice to our and yet to be elected PCs.
The New Patriotic Party conducted Parliamentary Primaries in 100 orphan constituencies on Saturday, September 28, 2019 as part of our preparations for the 2020 general elections. On the 25 April, 2020, the 2nd and final phase of the Primaries will be conducted in our parent constituencies to firmly conclude this important item on our electoral activity planner.
The contest in the first phrase was exciting and re-energized the base of the Party. It was a spirited contest and produced excellent PCs for the orphan constituencies. The winners were excited and celebrated their victories. The losers were disappointed and down. Majority of the losers demonstrated maturity and love for the Party and accepted the results in good faith. Others went to town crying wolf and casting aspersion on the Party and the delegates. It was distasteful to listen to some of these unsuccessful aspirants publicly discreditting the polls and making unsubstantiated and disparaging allegations that the elections were rigged.
I cannot accept the conduct of these former aspirants who in the campaign suggested to the delegates that they had the competence to lead. It was improper for them to ignore the Party structures and chose to publicly vent their resenful anger on the Party and its officers who constituted the electoral college in the constituencies. I pray that, the results of the 25th April primaries; to be held in our holding constituencies will be accepted by all and sundry. The upcoming primaries is a huge challenge to the Party. If we get through this successfully, we will go into the campaign with greater optimism and gigantic consolidated workforce. This will provide us the energy and motivation to positively impact on the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary campaigns.
I dare say that, the PCs, have been handed one of the most difficult assignments they can ever imagine. All the issues they discussed in the campaigns will come back to their doorsteps. You, the reader; and I were not there but I presume that the then APCs now PCs explained to the delegates who they were; and what they could do to win the seats for our Party in December 2020. I believe they aslo articulated their competencies and probably assured the delegates their abilities to unite the Party, raise the required logistics and funds for the campaigns, run efficient campaigns to win their seats and increase the Presidential votes in their constituencies.
If you; the aspirants stated the the solutions raised in the preceding paragrath as campaign messages, the Party membership and supporters will hold you to your promises, keep your feet to the fire and push harder for them to be fulfilled. You will have no excuse for not demonstrating the competence you claimed you had in the campaign. In the same vain, you will be obliged to make available the logistics you promised.This calls for tact, diplomacy and credence.
So what do you do?
Below is my unsolicited advice.
1. You must avoid running into difficulties with your Constituency Executives. Ensure that you work closely and peacefully with them. Lobby those who did not support you and get them on board. Constituency Executives are your first point of call and they will defend you if you run into trouble. They will worsen your plight if you are not in their good books.
2. Be open, transparent and genuine in your dealings with the constituency Chairman in particular and the rest in general. Openness helps in dealing with a complex team.
3. Consult with the entire executives any strategic decisions you wish to implement. Consultations take care of mischief and disquietedness.
4. Be available and accessible to them and be extremely tolerant in your dealings with them. Tolerance is the key to building a trusted and solid team.
5. Hold periodic meetings with the Electoral Area Cordinators and Polling Station Executives to update them on the campaign. Lack of infomation will endanger the campaign. Motivate the executives at the base by appreciating the work they do as unpaid officers. Empower them in your own small way. Motivation increases the efficacy and dedication of the team.
5. Try and fulfil your promises or work demonstrably towards fulfilling them. Their confidence in you shoots up if you deliver most of the promises you made during the campaign leading to your election as a PC.
6. Do not get fed up with demands by constituents for financial assistance. If you can; help. If you cannot; find a way to commiserate with them and reassure them. Never say; “I don’t have money” to some one seeking financial support from you. It is politically unwise and potentially deadly to your campaign.
7. Your leadership style will make or unmake you even before the elections. Show exceptional leadership skills. Remember you will be dealing with people with varied backgrounds and cultures, etc. Do not “universalise” your dealing/approach with the people. Treat them individually and employ specific technics to addressing their specific issues/needs.
8. Communicate decently, clearly and without jargons with the people. Demonstrate appropriate body language, correct gestures and engage meaningfully with the people.Do not be rude or arrogant in your workings and dealings with the constituents. Be down to earth, smart and reduce yourself to their level. Do not try to be a “boss” because you are not. The people are the bosses because they “hired” you.
9. Do not reject proposals/advices by constituents publicly. This may hurt the proposer. Accept the views/opinions of the people by taking physical notes; especially when you are visited at home/office. Mental notes taking is not strategically plausible.
10. Do not rely heavily on the Headquarters for logistical/financial support. It may come late or may not come at all. Assemble a competent and credible fund raising team. Do this with the approval of the Constituency Executive Committee.
As a former PC in the 2012 general elections, my experience has been mixed. It was tough, exciteful and offered me a fantastic opportunity to learn, and to get to know the people and my community. My participation in grassroots politics and what I have learnt is one of my greatest achievements aside of the increment of votes I together with the Party executives at all levels in the constituency garnered in both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in one of the strongest constituencies of the NDC.
All the best to you and may Allah see you through.