24 January 2013

Ghana: Court Must Extract Undertakings From NDC, NPP

editorial

The Chronicle is totally worried by positions taken by stalwarts of both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its most potent rival, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), over the possible outcome of the petition challenging the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as President-elect of the December 7, 2012 presidential election, sequel to which has been sworn as the Fourth President of the Fourth Republic.

From statements reportedly made on public radio and in official party statements, clear signals have been given that either the NDC or the NPP would refuse to accept the final decision of the Supreme Court on the election petition, if it did not go the way either of them had primed its supporters to believe it would.

That would be the recipe for disaster that could cost us the peace we are famed for in a desert of chaos.

It is for this reason that The Chronicle would like to call on the Supreme Court to make written undertakings from the two parties, that they would peacefully accept the decision of the court, a condition for beginning hearing into the election petition. The National Executive of the two parties or their general secretaries and chairmen should be required to read the undertakings in open court, and then lodge them with the court.

A member of the NDC communications team is on record as having said that he would support "a coup", if based on the petition currently in court, the Supreme Court declares Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2012 NPP presidential candidate, as winner of the December 7 presidential election. That, reportedly, nowhere in the world has a presidential candidate won in only two regions and been declared the overall winner.

The Chronicle concedes that this could be the opinion of that member alone and not that of the generality of NDC members. But no one can thump his chest that it is a personal opinion. In all probability it could be the general consensus of NDC members ...

On the other hand the NPP in all its posturing since the EC's December 9 declaration of President Mahama as winner of the December 7 presidential election, has left no one in doubt that Mahama's sojourn at The Castle or Flagstaff / Jubilee House as a temporary aberration that would end as soon as the Supreme Court finished with the case.

A signed official statement released on Tuesday to explain why NPP legislators who are members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament would boycott the vetting of President Mahama's ministerial nominations and reported online, reads in part:

According to the party, "the current John Mahama administration is temporary and transient and would not last beyond the determination of the case... The NPP would, however, not participate in any deliberations and decisions on matters which would evaporate upon cessation of John Mahama administration.

An NPP member of Parliament, commenting on President Mahama's nominees said: 'Thankfully, we are hopeful that this "caretaker ship" of the current administration will be very brief, because as we are expecting the Supreme Court to look into this matter, we are hopeful that this phase will be mercifully cut short and then the Ghanaian will receive value for their money.'

Could it be that God Almighty is now resident at the NPP headquarters? Being confident is one thing but being over presumptuous is dangerous, as it often leads to unreasonable obduracy. No matter how solid a litigant thinks his case is, it shows fear of God to consider the possibility of "if things go the other way".

And in a court case, anything can happen; arguments are submitted to a panel of judges who then decide which to accept and which to reject. The outcome of the motion for joinder should be instructive here.

Amidst the uncertainty over the crunch intentions of the NDC and the NPP, The Chronicle thinks Ghanaians should start taking precautions and, in our considered view, a written undertaking by the two parties to abide absolutely by the Supreme Court decision in the election petition, SHOULD BE THE STARTING POINT. And it should be extracted now.

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