General News of Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Political scientist and social policy analyst Dr. Theophilus Richardson has criticized President John Mahama's swiftness in celebrating his reelection, urging him instead to focus his energies on preparing his supporters to accept the outcome of the opposition party's challenge to his victory.
The president celebrated his declared victory at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Monday, describing his triumph as a victory for all Ghanaians.
He drew 50.70% of all votes cast according to Electoral Commissioner Dr. Afari-Gyan. But the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has challenged the results, alleging that the numbers were massaged to favour the president. They have threatened to head to court to challenge the results.
Meanwhile, Dr. Richardson, speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday, stated that President Mahama should have waited for the allegations of electoral fraud to be settled before beginning his victory celebrations.
Monday, President Mahama addressed a gathering of party faithful, thanking them for their support and calling on his opponents to eschew pettiness and forge national unity.
The political scientist said that his act was in and of itself a form of pettiness. Given that the slim margin of victory recorded in the 2012 elections depicts a sharply divided country, he explained, Mr. Mahama should be circumspect in his remarks.
He said that although Mahama may have won, he should have exercised more restraint in celebrating while the opposing party is still contesting the outcome of the election.
He insisted that the president must prepare his supporters to accept the outcome of the contestation, whatever it might be, adding that the time to celebrate will come after Mahama has been sworn in. He asked Mahama to emulate what he described as a laudable example set by former President Rawlings, who after his 1992 victory asked party supporters not to jubilate due to the tension that hung in the air at that time.
Dr. Richardson also questioned President Mahama's characterization of his victory as one for all Ghanaians given that his supporters were clad in NDC colours during the celebrations at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, which itself was also decorated with party paraphernalia.
All inclusive government Dr. Richardson said that the new government must rid Ghana of what he called the politics of exclusiveness, claiming that the practice of treating people who disagree with the governing regime as ‘enemies of the state,’ a practice he says was established in 1992 President Rawlings, still exists.
The president must reach out to all political leaders to see how he can best collaborate with them, the analyst charged, adding that Mahama should ensure that unity in Parliament is forged “with that spirit of Ghanaianness.”
He said that government must appoint people who have the competence and are committed to work for the nation and not just those “who are seen to have worked for him.”
The economy He stated that the most daunting problem facing the nation is “the sliding of the cedi and various sources of instability in the country.” He said that in spite of the much touted single-digit inflation, the cost of living is very high and he wonders whether Ghanaians voted based on issues.
“If they did vote on issues maybe the results would have been different. I suppose the Ghanaian society is still very gullible and can still be manipulated using all kinds of sentiments.”