30 August 2013

Ghana: Country Back On Track!!


Ghana, our beloved motherland, was graciously pulled back from the brink of the precipice yesterday.

Our Supreme Court, exhibiting a welcome unanimity on three of the six issues in contention in the 2012 Presidential Election Petition, and splitting by majority on the other three, settled once and for all, the dispute over last year's general election that was gradually grinding Ghana to a halt.

The nine justices of the court ruled that President John Dramani Mahama of the NDC had been "validly elected" President of Ghana, as declared by the Electoral Commission on the night of December 9, 2012.

And magnanimously, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2012 NPP presidential candidate, whose rejection of the December 9 declaration resulted in the first presidential election petition in Ghana's democratic history, promptly conceded victory, and declined to seek a review.

Though he stated his disagreement with the verdict, which, he said, had saddened him, Nana Akufo-Addo, nonetheless, confirmed his acceptance in good faith. Saying that by his upbringing and professional training, there was no way he would reject the decision of the highest court in the land, and appealed to all his supporters to also accept the verdict.

With that acceptance, Ghana was providentially spared the anticipated descent into violence, the fear of which had grown a peace campaign of alarming proportions, as a result of which the American Embassy in Accra had alerted American citizens to lie low and avoid certain suspected flashpoints in the city from yesterday.

The Chronicle joins all peace-loving and patriotic Ghanaians in thanking God Almighty for this reprieve, and Nana Akufo-Addo for choosing the court option.

We also appeal to members of the NDC to celebrate their victory moderately, and without taunting their NPP opponents. In the same vein, members of the NPP ought to concede that a victory has been won, and some celebration is in order.

The Chronicle advises the Electoral Commission to realise from the split voting of the Supreme Court that the issues of over-voting, voting without biometric verification, and absence of signature of Presiding Officers, are grounds on which the results of an election can be overturned henceforth, and take steps to ensure that they do not recur, or are drastically minimised.

We would also urge the EC to do well to harmonise its calendar with that of the Ghana Education Service (GES), to ensure that teachers are always available for election duties, as in the past. Truth is most of the mistakes that grounded the election petition occurred because, for once, teachers were not available, and greenhorns with no experience in electoral matters had to take over.

Teachers have been at the centre of all electoral exercises in this country since time immemorial, and they should continue to be at all times.

We have been bitten once, and ought to become twice shy.

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