10 December 2012

Ghana: Waiting for the Final Verdict

The elections are over. Results so far indicate that Ghana is gravitating towards a two-party society. The Chronicle would have hoped that at least one of the smaller parties would make a case for a third party representation in the country.

As it happened, all the four minor parties - the Convention People's Party, the Progressive People's Party, the People's National Convention and the United Reformed Party, together with the independent candidate, could not muster two percent among them.

What this means is that this country is in danger of losing the thrills of these parties, which help to enliven the political atmosphere at election times.

One other incontrovertible fact is that the National Democratic Congress is a formidable electoral machine. By winning in eight of the 10 regions, the NDC has proved to be a dominant party in the Republic of Ghana, in spite of a number of misgivings about the quality of people presented for the Parliamentary seats especially.

The Chronicle is disappointed that someone like Mr. Ebo Barton-Odro was endorsed by the people of the Cape Coast North Constituency to be part of the law making process of Ghana, after virtually parceling GH¢51 million of state cash and doling it out to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a well-publicised financer of the ruling NDC, and telling the nation that the state had no case in law to retrieve the money in court.

As Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Barton-Odro is duty bound to protect the public purse. In the case of Woyome's GH¢51 million, he aided the raid on the state treasury, and justified that with a posture that suggested that the state could not be aided to get the money back.

The victory of George Aboagye in the Ahanta West Constituency could also be termed as a vote for corruption. Barely a week before the nation went to the polls, evidence emerged that as the Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Mr. Aboagye doled out GH¢4,000 to a group of people, whose sole aim was to get President Mahama elected as President of Ghana.

In addition, Mr. Aboagye also issued a cheque of GH¢20,000 belonging to the state for Mr. Ishmael Yamson's 70th Birthday. At least GH¢9,000 of the money belonging to the state was used to buy booze, so the old man could enjoy his birthday.

We do not believe the NDC should have allowed him to contest in the first place. But the history of the NDC seems to suggest that corruption has never been a worry to the party. With this posture, The Chronicle expected the people of Ahanta West to give the former Chief Executive a bloody nose, to set an example to top officials that corruption does not pay.

We are disappointed that Mr. Aboagye has been allowed to enter Parliament. Next time a goat belonging to the government strays anywhere near Parliament House, be sure that there would be a member to identify it as a cow. Mr. Mohammed Baba Jamal, who asked journalists working for the state to magnify government achievements to make it look good, is now in Parliament after several attempts.

The Chronicle wishes him well. We hope he would be moderate on how he describes NDC proposals and achievements in court.

Yesterday, the New Patriotic Party Chairman addressed a press conference in Accra and raised a number of concerns, and asked the Electoral Commission to conduct an audit of the entire ballot results before declaring the winner of the presidential vote.

In the Ekumfi Constituency, for instance, the winner of the vote, Mr. Abeeku Crenstil, has no classmate. He contested against an Accountant with a second degree, who would have given Ekumfi quality representation. It looks like other considerations than the quality of the candidate influenced the vote.

The Chronicle would wish that the quality of representation would matter in our votes in the future. Meanwhile, the people of Ghana are waiting for the official declaration of the results.

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