Feature Article of Tuesday, 25 December 2012
Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa
Institutional Corruption: Is Afari Djan’s Electoral Commission the most Mischievously Corrupt Institution in Ghana?
Lessons are taught and lessons are learned hence it is only fools who don’t learn lessons but it appears some people and some institutions refuse to learn lessons no matter how much is taught. Across the developing world, electoral disputes have cost precious lives of several innocent citizens including women, children and even the unborn as well as the old and weak; properties have been damaged and in most cases destroyed; nations, societies and communities have not only been displaced, they have been dispersed and accrimoniously set against one another with very bitter lasting consequences. Are these not enough lessons taught to be seriously learned for others who have not yet fallen prey to such unfortunate situations to guard against them? The cause of most strifes have been attributed to the respective countries’ electoral commissions whose role responsibility in conducting free, fair and tranparent elections have been flawed with blatant inaccuracies whereby the commissions accord clandestine unfair huge winning advantage to either a prefered contestant or a contestant who pays his way through at the expense of other equally competitive contestants. In many cases of electoral factional violence, the electoral commission so appointed may not be culpable but in others the institution could be jointly and severally answerable for such cheating cunducts involving fraud and unfair advantage.
It would be said that once bitten twice shy, but this adage seems to apply only to those societies, communities and countries who have gone through such bitter experiences as those who tend to learn lessons out of their past. Others who only observe the fallout attrocities that import sufferance, misery, death to persons and damage and destruction to properties seem to have nothing valuable to learn from such calamities until and unless they have by themselves had same or similar such bitter experiences. But in this context, it would take only a wise person to take measures to avoid untold situations of any nature just by learning about them but a fool would wait until sufferance arrives and enters to do mischief.
All said and done, some people who hold political and ultimately financial power have all tendencies to use all means availably possible to corrupt and drag institutions into conducting themselves mischievously to their favour. It would take only and only principled and strictly law-regulated and law-enforced human institutions to resist the temptations of compromising their trust and responsibilities that would cost lives as innocent as those of women, children and the aged as well as a nation’s peace and quiet. Not only does the greed and interest of the unprincipled institution affect the nation and its especially innocents, it affects the international communities in diverse ways too numerous to mention for lack of space, though some would gloat because it would enhance theirindustrial and financial interests.
Post-election blues have gripped Ghana and its entire communities by reason of some suspected and yet to be proved underhand dealings perpetrated by the electoral commission during the just ended 2012 general and Presidential elections. The victors subconsciously see a doubtful victory so they could not spontaneously welcome their victory won; having to wiat until there came a directive from the top hierarchy of their Party goading them on to celebrate. Could such a directive-oriented celebration be a heart-felt genuine pageant festivity of a true reflection of victory or a victory celebration that would be short-lived and merely epidictic? The ‘vanquished’ are dissatisfied by claiming ‘clever’ technological underhand dealings to the advantage of the victors that need to be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Ghana. The supposed ‘vanquished’, on the contrary see a clear victory-denied therefore justify a reason to blend a complexity of gloom and sullen yet feel hopeful; hope that would tilt the scale and turn tears not only into joy but joy that would come with a huge spontaneity of response to victory. It would only remind me and discerning readers of the truth-emerged Seoul Summer Olympics 100 meters championship hot contest between Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis in 1988, an aftermath eventual dope test of which went to perpetually disgrace an all time celebrated ‘champion’ Ben Johnson. Is the NPP juridical challenge an expected kind of ‘Deus ex machina’ that the ‘vanquished’ expect to be the eventual result of the of the electoral commission-declared results? Let us wait and see.
The electoral commission is a major if not a main claviger of Ghana’s fledging democracy. The institution has won several international communities’ acclamation and glory which they have apparently deserved but as to whether they rightly and genuinely deserve the performance glory lavished on them by the international communities remains to be tested affirmed and confirmed by the impending Supreme Court case yet to be filed by the ‘vanquished’ NPP. If the Supreme Court, in fairness, rules for the appellant that the electoral commision accorded unfair clandestine advantage through technology fraud, and thereby applies an order of mandamus to compel a review of the electoral results so announced, the commission stands to lose both its national and international credibility.
So, what did the Kwadwo Afari Djan-led seven member electoral commission intend to achieve? One suggested answer is that they took Ghanaians for granted as they have always done in most elections since they began presiding over elections, that the gyae ma no nka spirit in Ghanaians would prevail to cover their misdeed. Did they reasonably foresse a possibility of mayhem following thereafter in case the Ghanaians’ forgive, forget and let it pass spirit had died and been buried at the so called ‘Asomdwe’ park to share company with JEA Mills? I think they reasonably foresaw dissatisfaction and discontent but not an ensuing Supreme Court matter that would expose every misdeed about the EC. If the EC are unable to successfully defend their about to be exposed misconduct, it would be tantamount to committing high treason plus various other criminal offences relating to the Theft Act. In order to conceal ther misdeeds, information reaching me indicates that the Commission has ordered among other things resetting of the verification devices used in the elections to zero, a kind of obliteration; printing and filling-in new electoral blue/red/pink or whatever colour sheet for the NDC with figures that correspond to the figures announced by the EC that declared John Mahama winner of the Presidential elections, another kind of forgery. If this is the fact, then the EC must better think twice because by so doing, I can advise that they are compounding further offences. The international communities must not tarry until Ghana is set ablaze before they intervene because the John Dramani Mahama-led NDC do not intend peace; a situation which their activities such as parading security forces’ armoury across the country manifestly expose. A word to the wise is enough.
Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa; (London, UK)