7 January 2013

Ghana: A Temporary Inauguration?


The inauguration of the sixth Presidency of the Fourth Republic takes place today at the Independence Square in Accra, sequel to the December 7, 2012 presidential election, based on which the Electoral Commission declared the NDC candidate, John Dramani Mahama, President-elect.

About 20 heads of state and foreign dignitaries are expected to be present.

Usually, not everyone or party that participated in an election celebrates on inauguration day. While the winners post toothpaste smiles, the gallant losers wear long faces, but show up, even if grudgingly.

However, today's swearing-in of President John Mahama would wear totally different atmospherics; the unhappy faces will be off the TV screens, and the smiles would be somewhat strained, but jubilant all the same.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana's largest minority party, and its presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, have vehemently rejected the results of the election, which saw Mahama winning with 50.7 percent of the popular vote cast, to Akufo-Addo's 47.79 percent.

Consequently, the NPP has filed a writ at the Supreme Court, urging it to hold that Mahama was wrongly declared president-elect, and instead, declare that Akufo-Addo was the winner on December 7. The writ alleges that about 1.3 million votes were wrongly awarded Mahama, which, when deducted from the total votes that the EC announced for him, would make him the loser, and not Akufo-Addo.

A joint national executive committee and elders council, at a meeting last week, ordered all NPP members, including its 120 MPs, to boycott the inauguration, except its former President John Agyekum Kufuor, whose statesman-decision to attend is causing quite a furore among the party rank and file.

That is the cloud hanging on today's inauguration, and feeds the suggestion that there could be another presidential inauguration before Easter or sometime thereafter, though not predictable conclusively. It is a sort of maybe. A second inauguration would definitely take place if the Supreme Court upholds the NPP writ as filed. However, Mahama and the EC are unable to undermine the NPP argument for the declaration of its candidate as winner, and a run-off is ordered, a second inauguration would occur, only if Akufo-Addo wins it. Of course, there is also the possibility of the application being struck out outright, as having no merit.

The unsavoury situation may have already claimed its first casualty: indications are that the convention in Parliament, since the beginning of the Fourth Republic 20 years ago that gave the 2nd Deputy Speakership position to the largest opposition party, has been shoved aside. If the majority NDC MPs carry out their threat to punish the NPP MPs for boycotting the swearing-in, a party that has only one candidate in Parliament would have that slot.

Though there has been unanimous international acknowledgement of the freeness, fairness and transparency of the December 7, 2012 general elections, the sixth of the Fourth Republic, the NPP's obduracy and insistence on getting the results upturned in court could have started questions being popped mentally in international circles.

Even though The Chronicle finds it embarrassing that such a log-jam could arise over an election in Ghana, the acclaimed democratic showpiece in Africa, and would like to get the root of what is causing the angst, we would like to caution that care be taken not to throw away the baby with the bathwater.

The Fa Ma Nyame syndrome in our national psyche has served us well so far. Where others would reach for their cutlasses, the Ghanaian has always desisted from such a course of action, because he has faith in God's declaration that vengeance is His.

All these might be the machinations of the devil who may be peeved that Ghana has escaped its dragnet of blood, chaos and confusion. Remember how angry Satan was that Job's faith in God was unwavering, and dared God into giving him permission to test Job's. We, therefore, call on all the prayers warriors to put on their prayer robes and beseech God not to give in to Satan's taunts to allow him to test our collective decision to remain an oasis of peace in a desert of drought and broken skulls.

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