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Feature Article of Saturday, 22 December 2012

Columnist: Sarkodie, Benjamin Dabo

I Fear For Elections 2016

LAST week, as I was driving from Korlebu towards my house I had a call from my wife. She was worried about news of post-election disturbances around the Kwame Nkrumah circle she had picked on radio.

She advised me to avoid that road. An hour later I got home at Spintex only to hear that an NDC supporter had been stabbed and vehicles with NDC posters vandalized at the Obra spot, at circle(the later incident vividly captured on camera and circulated on social media). Few days later, the Ashanti region NDC chairman was also attacked and is currently on admission at the komfo Anokye Teaching hospital with jaw fracture and multiple cutlass wounds.

Sadly, this is what I’ve come to expect from post election ghana : a doomed sense of déjà vu.

I have witnessed and participated in Ghana’s elections since 1992 and tensions seem to rise proportionally with the number of times we hold elections. Four years ago, almost about the same time, there was so much tension in this country following the elections. The electoral commission’s office was besieged and nearby offices closed for fear of vandalism and attacks With earlier elections the euphoria of the elections died a natural death without any tensions. Ghana has to be careful not to tread the ugly destructive paths of other countries because there would be serious retrogressions of what we have build as a country. I have read about what war has done to countries like the Ivory Coast, Liberia, DR Congo and many other African countries. That of Congo saddens me the most:

Congo has become a never-ending nightmare, one of the bloodiest conflicts since World War II, with more than five million dead. It seems incomprehensible that the biggest country in sub-Saharan Africa and on paper one of the richest, teeming with copper, diamonds and gold, vast farmlands of spectacular fertility and enough hydropower to light up the continent, is now one of the poorest, most hopeless nations on earth-culled from the NY times.

The Congo story is not peculiar. We have seen the worst face and scars of war on this continent and the last thing we want to see is to plunge Ghana into another. We must all say no to war and we must all be responsible for our actions and inactions during elections.

The contributions of the national peace council towards peace before, during and after this election is worth mention. Am proud of this group of highly respected Ghanaians whose role ensured that we do not veer off the road to peace and stability.

I wish they continue to interact and dialogue with all stakeholders even until the next elections.

I also encourage all parties with grievances to seek redress using the appropriate channel such as the Supreme Court of Ghana with concrete evidence. How about making it illegal for anybody to declare election results except the electoral commissioner of Ghana and severely penalize any other person who dares to do so ?This penalty could include a jail term or ban from politics . Some of us are already dreading another election in 2016 and I hope Ghana will pass that test.

Dr benjamin Dabo Sarkodie

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