Ghana: Avoid Unguarded Comments About Election Petition Hearing

21 January 2021

History, they say, repeats itself, and the Good Book also says there is nothing new under the sun.

Truly, history repeats itself in all fields and in Ghana history has repeated itself on the political landscape. There is a petition against the results of the 2020 presidential election eight years after the 2013 petition against the results of the 2012 presidential election.

It is interesting to note that the same personalities and political parties are involved in the petition being heard by the country's same Supreme Court.

In the 2013 case, the then flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was the petitioner and then President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, who was ruling on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was the respondent.

Today, it involves the two personalities but with the positions sort of swapped. Nana Akufo Addo is the respondent and Mr Mahama is the petitioner.

Going by the axiom of the Good Book, we agree that to Ghanaians, Presidential Election Petition and associated events like the legal arguments and counter-arguments may not be new to us.

However, the reality is even if we would not call them new because nothing remains permanently new, we may describe or classify certain events that have already happened and those yet to unfold as different.

Therefore, we would like to make a few comments that, we think, should be regarded as very important to all of us.

The first is that the 2013 petition took eight months and put almost every one of us on edge and even though life seemed to be going on, the anxiety was too much to bear. Some thought the verdict could even spark unrest in the country.

Maybe this informed the decision by the Supreme Court to, this time, prescribe a shorter period to prosecute the case in 42 days. This is heartwarming because everyone now knows that, at least, if we have any anxiety to contend with, we would do so within a specified period, and that will help to manage emotions and also prepare for the verdict.

In 2013, some of us thought the petition hearing was business as usual and so went round making unguarded remarks against it.

We recall that people like Ken Korankye, a journalist, Stephen Atubiga, an NDC communication team member, Sammy Awuku and Sir John, two NPP stalwarts, were charged with contempt of court and brought before the Supreme Court. Ken Korankye was given 10 days' jail term, whereas Atubiga got 3 days for criminal contempt, with Awuku and Sir John cautioned.

The Ghanaian Times, therefore, wishes to appeal to the public to swallow their unguarded comments and leave the job to the Supreme Court panel to do.

The truth is that, if we become so partisan and self-conceited and throw out caution to the wind, it can put us in trouble, and we should not forget that apart from denting our own integrity and image, we bring pain, worry and suffering to our loved ones. Our unguarded comments may also disturb the peace and tranquility in the country.

Therefore, let's swallow our comments in order to stop history from repeating itself by way of contempt trial and save loved ones from pain and suffering and, in a worst case scenario, avoid disturbing the peace in the country.

More From: Ghanaian Times

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