Feature Article of Friday, 16 November 2012
Columnist: Agyepong, Benjamin Opoku
; Every indication points to his effort to rig the elections for NDC on December 7th.
It might seem so farfetched but when examined critically, it reveals a truth. I did not believe it when I heard for the first time that Dr. Afari Gyan (Afari Gyan) may have been bribed by the NDC to help them win the elections. Yes, I discarded that as unfounded rumor that deserves no attention, but recent chain of events have me very worried as to what Afari Gyan is all about. This is the same man who got international acclamation for conducting very successful elections not only once but five times. However, recent behavior of this same Afari Gyan leaves much to be desired and points to his conscious effort to help NDC win power by any means possible. What is the basis of this assertion? Why do I now concur with the rumor mongers?
When Afari Gyan wanted to create the controversial 45 electoral constituencies for this year’s elections, many well-meaning Ghanaians pleaded with him to stop because the timing was not good, and besides, the voters register had already been compiled for this year’s elections. The clergy, businessmen, Farmers and indeed ordinary citizens including some Ghanaians in the diasporas all added their voices to the call for Kwadwo Afari Gyan to stop the creation of the 45 new constituencies and do that after the elections but he was very adamant and insisted he would do it come what may. Many people with political lenses contended that the 45 new constituencies heavily favored the NDC as against the other parties and had the potential to disrupt the elections but still Afari Gyan would not yield to pressure and went ahead to create them.
To the surprise of many, whilst parliament had not yet approved the legislative instrument (CI75-78)which was the bill to create the constituencies, the NDC as a party was conducting primaries all over the proposed 45 new constituencies at the time that the bill to create the constituencies was going back and forth in the parliament. Afari Gyan allowed those NDC primaries to go forward when as a matter of law; the 45 constituencies did not officially exist. Afari Gyan had every right to stop them but he chose not to.
Now when it became known that, journalists and other media practitioners would not be voting early in this year’s elections (something which has been the norm since 1992) Dr. Afari Gyan hurriedly called a press conference and reiterated that journalists will be voting as everyone else would on December 7th. He further asserted that his hands had been tied behind him by the law; therefore, he had no power to change the situation. Considering the fact that these same journalists play very key role in making our elections look credible with their reportage, how would their absence from the electoral process be interpreted? The question is this, if it is the CI-78 which has created this situation, who laid that bill before parliament to deliberate and pass it? Wasn’t it this same Afari Gyan? Could he not envisage the problem he was creating for the credibility of the elections he is going to conduct? Who does he think he is kidding?
On another occasion, this same Afari Gyan came out to say that children under 18 years have been found to have registered for the elections, my question is this: who registered them? Is it not the same electoral commission? Why could they not find out at the time those kids were registering? What has changed between the time of registration and now to make him come out with this news? Is it because the plot had been leaked to Sir John and his men? Ghana is not like the USA where individuals sit in their homes and fill out registration forms and mail to the board of elections. In Ghana, people walk to the registration centers to register with photo identity cards so if Afari Gyan and his men could not figure out at the time of registration that those kids were in-fact minors who did not deserve to register but now turn around to tell the world that kids under 18 have registered in Ghana, then I have only one thing to tell him;”Give me a break”. Dr. Gyan, we have seen this movie before and we know how it will end.
I caution the opposition parties to prepare for any eventualities before they are overtaken by events they could have prevented. They cannot rely on the police for help during and after the elections, because time and time again, the police service has demonstrated bias in favor of NDC. We have seen this in the Atiwa and other by-elections, the police stood by when NPP supporters were maltreated and some killed. Nobody had been arrested to date. We’ve seen how the CID arrested Kennedy Agyapong on flimsy charges. Charges which they knew were bogus, we’ve seen how NDC’s women organizer ran her vehicle over NPP supporters and went home to live her normal life without any investigations, we’ve seen how the CID handled the Yaw Boateng’s murder plot tape even after he himself admitted to owning the voice on the tape. We have also seen how the same police CID have invited Anthony Karbo for questioning, when in-fact; every sane person in Ghana knows that the message on the tape was concocted by Felix Ofosu-Kwakye and his cohorts as payback for the Yaw Boateng’s tape.
The multimillion cedi question is this; why is Afari Gyan behaving like this after a very splendid performance over the years? Why has he changed so suddenly? Is it because he realizes that he is about to retire “poor” and that this is his last chance to make money? If so, then I would remind him that good name is better than riches. He better protects his integrity which is sinking every passing minute than any material thing he wants to gain. Has he seen the handwriting on the wall that this is probably going to be the last elections he is conducting? Well, like you, I do not know his motivations for behaving the way he is doing of late. All that I can say is that, his actions can break or unite the country and if the country breaks, everybody including himself would suffer, therefore, the earlier he puts the interest of the nation above his personal interest, the better it would be for all of us.
Benjamin Opoku Agyepong