14 December 2012

Ghana: When the NPP Is Unhappy With EC's Verdict


For a party or candidate to concede defeat to another in a keenly contested election is not an easy thing to do. Facts and figures must prove that really there is a win and a loss. Defeat in any contest at all is not only embarrassing, but also heartbreaking.

Many commitments go into producing a successful political election. Political parties and candidates, with support from other bodies, have the onerous task of ensuring that citizens express their democratic rights freely, fairly, transparently, and peacefully.

The Electoral Commission (EC) is the referee for all national elections, using laid down rules and regulations. Apart from overseeing district level elections and political parties' primaries, social organisations and schools can also contract the services of the EC.

An election is seen more as a process than event. The success or otherwise of any electoral exercise must concern all, including political parties, security agencies, the media and other related bodies, like the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE).

As the EC organises workshops for party candidates and agents, the security agencies also map out plans on how to maintain law and order, as the media work towards responsible reportage.

A series of workshops were organised for party agents across the country, where some electoral handouts were given for close study and adherence.

Many parties and candidates did select smart, intelligent persons to serve as polling, collation agents and observers. Vivid narrations of happenings on that fateful day of elections can't be told here.

Around 11:38 a.m. at the Legetsi Polling Station in Ave-Dzadzepe, within the Akatsi North Constituency of the Volta Region, I had my votes cast freely and peacefully.

EC Boss Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan did declare John Dramani Mahama of the ruling NDC winner of the 2012 presidential contest in the evening of Sunday, December 9. The total registered voters were about 14,158,890, but only 11,246,982 came out to vote, with 10,995,262 of them producing valid votes, and 251,720 being invalid.

John Mahama is said to have bagged 5,574,761, representing 50.70%; 5,248,898 (47.74%) for Nana Akufo-Addo; 64,362 (0.59%) to Papa Kwesi Nduom, Henry Herbert Lartey managed with 38,223 (equivalent to 0.35%), PNC's Hassan Ayariga went home with 24,617 (0.22%).

Abu Sakara Foster of the CPP was credited with 20,323 (0.18%); 15,201 (0.14%) for independent candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah, and Akwasi Addai Odike of the UFP managed the remaining 8,877, which translates into 0.08%.

Unlike the main opposition NPP, smaller parties saw it cool to concede defeat after the crucial elections. After all, what were their results to have warranted any argument of cheating? We can only commend them for having deepened the culture of multi-party democracy and constitutional rule once more.

Following the EC's declaration of John Mahama as winner, some leaders and past diplomats, like President Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Barak Obama of USA, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings and Mr. Kofi Annan have congratulated the president-elect on his victory.

But, is that enough? The citizens would want to experience absolute peace and unity in the country. The refusal of the main contender, Nana Akufo-Addo, and the NPP to concede defeat and salute the electoral process with reasons of foul play on the part of the EC, must be a matter of concern to us all.

The NPP's protest rally at Obra Spot near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle on Tuesday, December 11, must start sending shivers down our spines. Party top guns, including Jake Otanka Obetsebi- Lamptey, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, Otiko Afisa Djaba, Anthony Karbo and Osafo Maafo expressed their discontent with the presidential results of some constituencies, as announced by the EC.

Flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo and running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia used the platform to tame members and sympathisers of the party. They said all available legal means would be used to seek redress, and possibly, annul the "stolen verdict" of the people.

Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey told Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, prior to the Sunday declaration: "We (NPP) request that you (referring to Afari-Gyan), as the returning officer of the presidential elections, cause an audit of the verification machines to establish that it tallies with constituency collated signed results, and order a re-collation of the presidential ballot at the constituency level to help establish the credibility and accuracy of this year's presidential election."

Some of us fully support the NPP's move to court for redress to any misunderstanding other than using violence. The EC and other institutions must be tolerant and listen to the concerns of aggrieved parties and candidates, so we can find amicable solution(s) to these worries.

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