Ghana: NPP's Street Protests...

editorial

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) carried its protest over the Electoral Commission's declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as President-elect in the 2012 presidential election to the streets yesterday.

The NPP had last Sunday evening called on the Electoral Commission to delay declaring the winner of the this year's presidential election, and rather undertake an audit of the election results, because polling station results available to it suggest that its candidate, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had won the election.

However, after a two-hour meeting with officials of the NPP, the NDC and the Chairman of the Peace Council, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, went ahead to declare President Mahama winner, having polled 50.70 per cent of the valid votes cast on December 7th and 8th to Akufo-Addo's 47.74 per cent.

The NPP boycotted the declaration, claiming that the declared results included cooked figures from about 20 constituencies, and that it would challenge the declared presidential results in court.

Yesterday, barely 24 hours after the NDC victory rally at the Obra Spot, NPP faithful and footsoldiers carried the protests from the NPP headquarters onto the streets.

In Accra, they laid siege at the ever-busy Kwame Nkrumah Circle, closing it to both human and vehicular traffic, and consequently forcing drivers and pedestrians alike, to make long detours to reach their various destinations.

There were also one or two reports of the demonstrating NPP supporters vandalising vehicles carrying the president-elect's posters.

Generally, The Chronicle finds the development healthy. Our elders say one cannot beat a child and then forbid him from crying. Sunday's declaration was akin to koboko lashes on the back of NPP members, and they have a right to cry to relieve their tension and pent-up anger.

We believe it was for this reason that the police contingent dispatched to the scene watched them eagle-eyed, but did not interfere with them, in spite of the hardship the blocking of the road to Circle inflicted on the general public. They obviously saw it as a necessary catharsis.

The Chronicle calls on the NPP leadership to live up to its responsibility to guide the footsoldiers alright. They have a duty to impress on the demonstrators that while they have a right to vent their anger and frustration over the 2012 presidential election, they also have a duty to remain peaceful and non-violent.

We also call on the NPP leadership to expedite their preparation and lodge their petition with the Supreme Court, so as to assure their supporters that they are serious with their challenge to the declared result.

The Chronicle sees no basis for any delay. After all, the NPP leadership have the blue print of the polling station results that they presented to the EC last Sunday, to support their call for an audit of the results. Besides, they have some of the best legal brains in the country.

Of course, candidate Akufo-Addo cannot be part of the legal team, as it is popularly held in legal circles that a lawyer who represents himself in court, largely has a fool for a client, his emotions would overrun his better judgement.

The Chronicle also hopes the Chief Justice has already set up the Secretariat for elections petitions, as she promised before the elections, and that she and her colleagues would sit on the electoral suits round the clock. Ghana expects nothing else of them.

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