13 December 2012

Ghana: Circumspection, Please, in These Tense Days

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About half past eight on Tuesday night, news broke that a combined team of police and soldiers in about 10 vehicles had raided the NPP headquarters at Asylum Down in Accra.

To NPP Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, and his national executive, the intent was obvious: President-elect John Mahama and the ruling NDC had sent the men to seize the polling station results the NPP was using to build its court case of the alleged fraudulent manipulation of the 2012 presidential election result to make President Mahama winner, instead of their candidate Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

In their defence, the police denied raiding the NPP headquarters, but rather a guest house in which they had received a tipoff that arms and ammunition were being stockpiled at.

The Chronicle is alarmed at this development, especially over the semantics of the location and the mischief it could imply: was the place the NPP headquarters or a guest house, as the police say, or the research office of the NPP, as reported in some newspapers?

If it is not the NPP headquarters but a guest house, or an unlabelled research office, in the opinion of The Chronicle, the police need not stand on any ceremony in raiding the place. Even on a good day, the police have a duty to look out for arms stockpiling, not to talk of the prevailing tense atmosphere, after the NPP's vehement public rejection of a presidential election result that everyone has acclaimed.

Besides, in the heat of the campaign, a youth leader was heard loudly on public radio, urging his colleagues who cannot afford guns to look for old fufu pestles. The NPP leaders must have heard their boy, just as many others, including the police, did. But did they or have they reprimanded that youth leader? We cannot say for sure.

Given the circumstances, the police need not wait to see physical evidence of arms before moving in. They need to be proactive, especially if they see a continuous stream of boxes that could contain small arms into a place. And the NPP admits that such boxes were indeed carried into the place, but that they contained polling station results, which its people were tallying.

The Chronicle finds it is rather unfortunate that the place that the police raided turned out to be the venue where the NPP was marshalling its evidence of alleged gargantuan fraud against the 2012 presidential election results.

And it is understandable the party leaders should jump to the conclusion that the objective was the snatching of their copies of the polling station results to frustrate their accumulation of the necessary evidence for their case. We are happy that in the event, the possible seizure of illegal arms was the objective. After all, no polling station result has been reported missing from the venue of the raid.

However, it would appear that the NPP leadership has not been too proactive about collating the polling booth results. The tally of such a fundamental data should have been ready, latest by Monday, December 10. The imputing of the necessary data ought to have started on the night of December 7, and concluded on Sunday, and the totalling done on Monday.

If the imputing had been done, as suggested, the party would have had enough compelling evidence on Sunday to stop Afari-Gyan in his tracks. The fact that the party is still rummaging for the necessary evidence to file its case in court reinforces the EC Chairman's decision not to delay the declaration of the result on Sunday. The nation could still be waiting for them.

The party would also do well not to over taint the results of the 2012 election results with fraud, and the government with duplicity towards that end. Such a posture can be a two-edged sword. Its future win could be painted as black, if not blacker. Abaa wo dzi bo Baah ...

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