14 January 2013

Ghana: When Kufuor Graces Mahama's Investiture


The year 2012 has many stories to tell, including the controversial GHC51m judgment debt paid Alfred Woyome, the sudden fall of President J.E.A Mills with subsequent rise of Vice-President John Mahama to the status of president and Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur as his vice.

The December 7 polls, the sixth of its kind since 1992, summed up the year 2012. Detailed account of all happenings within the country as at the close of 2012 would be hard to do now.

Normally, as elections are over and a new government installed, the next thing to expect is how government business would be run within the period of rule following a manifesto. But is that so in our case now?

Notwithstanding the multihued inauguration of John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as president of the republic last week, opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by its Flag bearer Nana Akufo-Addo, running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey are in court to contest the EC's verdict.

Election, they say, is a process other than an event. Stakeholders, including parties must ensure that activities before, during and after any electoral exercise are properly conducted, coordinated and reported. Genuine electoral process must be free, fair, transparent and peaceful.

Recent elections were biometric in character, a great improvement over the previous ones (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008), yet still there were reported cases of irregularity.

Before and during the elections, slogans like, "No verification, no vote" were trumpeted all over. To what extent that was obeyed still lies in the bosom of the Supreme Court for determination.

About 26,000 or so polling stations had battery-operated machines to verify eligible voters prior to voting. The machines, however, were unable to identify who were minors, foreigners and lunatics; vigilance of polling agents was therefore necessary.

In the midst of some challenges, EC Boss Dr Afari-Gyan on December 9, last year went ahead to declare John Mahama winner with 5,574,761 votes, representing 50.70%, as against 5,248,898 (47.74%) of his main contender Nana Akufo-Addo.

To avoid contempt of court, this piece pleads to set aside details of the case and self emotions and rather focus on the president's inaugural ceremony.

In exception of Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, who was said to have made some distasteful suggestions regarding NPP's decision to contest the EC's verdict in court, party top guns, including former President J.A Kufuor are reported to have given their blessings for the move.

Ex-President Kufuor did register his discontent at the EC's verdict when AU Chairman and President of Benin Dr Thomas Yayi Boni visited him after the polls, warning that should any violence erupt, the blame must be placed at the doorsteps of the EC.

A couple of days to the inauguration, we were told the State Protocol Department extended invitation to stakeholders, including former presidents, parliamentarians and parties. However, NPP parliamentarians and apparatchiks dishonored the invitation as a way of backing their claim that the presidential results were fraud.

To protect his status as an ex-president and statesman, Mr. J.A Kufuor defied all odds and attended the ceremony. In the early hours prior to the investiture, media reports said a horde of NPP youth invaded the precincts of ex-President Kufuor's residence ostensibly to deter him from honoring the invitation.

Earlier, NPP party youth group, The New Patriots also expressed disquiet over their former leader's decision to be in attendance but later came out to say that having listened to him and executives of their party, they did understand why he needed to be there.

In an interview with the media recently, Mr. Kufuor debunked claims that his presence was a betrayal of the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo. To him, the decision to go or not to go was really hectic for him and that he understood why some party members and executives might be incensed with his move but reassured his unflinching support for the legal tussle.

Per the constitution, any party or individual who feels dissatisfied with an election result could seek redress at the law court. Inauguration, per se, can not be a cloud over an electoral fraud, we're told. What is required is inconvertible evidence to that effect for the court to determine. Let's all remain calm and resilient as our country goes through an important democratic process.

NB: Wishing President Mahama, Nana Akufo-Addo and cherished readers a happy new year...!

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