Feature Article of Monday, 29 October 2012
Columnist: Boateng, Chris Gyamfi
So much noise has been made about the late President Mills’ speech regarding the violence that visited Kenya’s 2008 elections to the extent that the NPP, led by Anthony Karbo in particular, hinges on that speech as a yardstick to call for violence in Ghana if the electoral commission does not declare them winners of the forthcoming elections. Anthony Karbo is heard on a tape screaming that”… if the NPP is not declared winners of the 2008 elections, Afghanistan…” whereby he juxtaposes his call for blood shed in Ghana to that of Afghanistan in the event his NPP does not emerge victorious to that of late President Mills’ call for electoral integrity in that country and that of Ghana. Karbo’s assertion however, is far from the truth as that particular speech which is culled, unedited from Modern Ghana website and published below has nothing indicating that Ghana will become like Kenya “if” the NDC had not been declared winners of the 2008 elections.
By this publication below, I challenge anyone who harbors the notion that President Mills called for a Kenyan-like electoral violence to bare it out for all to see or forever hold their peace.
Prof Mills condemns violence in Kenya
NDC flagbearer, John Evans Atta Mills has condemned the post election violence in that country. He says , the country's leaders should do all in their power to restore the country back to its glory. The NDC flagbearer was addressing a news conference in Accra. Flanked by party executives, professor Mills did not mince words at accusing the political leaders for the spate of violence in that country.
WEDNESDAY,9TH JANUARY, 2008
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS,
I have invited you to the first Press Conference of the National Democratic Congress in the year 2008 on the specific subject of the NDC?s reaction to the serious aftermath of the recent Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in Kenya.
But, before I proceed to the substance of that matter, permit me to welcome all of you sincerely to this event. I thank you for responding so positively to our invitation at short notice.
I also wish to take the opportunity to convey to you and your loved ones my best wishes and those of the NDC for a Happy New Year.
It is my expectation that the cordial and fruitful co-operation between the NDC and you, media practitioners, will be deepened even more as we go through this significant year leading to the country?s Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in December, 2008.
May I also use this opportunity to formally introduce Mr. Alex Segbefia as the NDC campaign coordinator for the 2008 general election. Mr. Segbefia is the Chairman of NDC UK and Ireland and a lawyer by profession.
Many of you have had dealings with him in the past and are aware that he has a total media friendly approach which he aims to cultivate further.
I will also like to announce that Honorable Mahama Ayariga is my campaign spokesperson with Mr. Eric Ametor Quaryme as his deputy.
I am also happy to state that the NDC remains united for victory in this year?s general elections as is manifest in the presence of Dr. Ekow Spio Gabrah and Mr. Eddy Annan.
Alhaji Idrissu Mahama is unfortunately not in Accra currently but is an integral part of the campaign effort as well.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You will recall that an initial reaction to the regrettable violence that has followed the puzzling declaration in Nairobi, Kenya of the results of that country?s Presidential Elections was made public a few days ago by, Koku Anyidoho, the Communications Director of my Campaign Team.
However, The NDC has since then had the opportunity to further discuss the difficult situation in Kenya in all its aspects and would now like to make known its considered opinion on the serious developments in Kenya.
The decision to make public the NDC?s reaction to the violent conflict currently raging in certain parts of Kenya is especially informed by the following facts:
a) That the alleged rigging of the polls by the Kenya African National Unity party (KANU), the incumbent President?s party, if true, is of serious consequence for democracy in the whole of Africa;
b) That the overwhelming judgment by international observers that the Presidential Elections especially was not free, fair and transparent is a cause for concern;
c) That the gruesome losses of life in Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa and elsewhere in Kenya are unacceptable, constitute a threat to international peace and security, and must therefore be brought to an end as soon as possible; and
d) That there are serious implications and lessons for other Africa countries, especially Ghana, which is to hold similar elections at the end of this year.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The sequence of events attending the final phase of the Kenyan elections leaves the claim of victory by the ruling party very much in doubt.
This is made worse by the significant admission by the Electoral Commissioner when challenged by the Orange Democratic Movement, the Opposition Party of Raila Odinga, that he could not say for sure if Mr. Kibaki had won the poll fairly.
Moreover, the indecent haste with which President Mwai Kibaki was privately sworn in on Sunday, 30th December, 2007 and the initial rejection of international mediation by KANU Ministers have also deepened suspicion about the intentions and actions of the incumbent party.
KANU?s claim of victory is even less credible considering that it lost six out of eight provinces and over 20 cabinet Ministers and the Vice-President also lost their seats to other parties.
Indeed the scale of Parliamentary losses nationwide makes the claim of a Kibaki victory in the Presidential polls highly unlikely.
The National Democratic Congress is therefore of the considered opinion that the declared results have been vitiated by rigging and the manifest intention to cheat and must therefore not be accepted.
We also urge that immediate measures must be taken by Kenyans, supported by the international community, to ascertain the true choice of Kenyans.
In this regard, the National Democratic Congress firmly supports the emerging consensus among the parties to the conflict that a re-run of the elections, supervised by the international community, should be held as soon as possible.
We expect that a more credible election will bring the violent dispute to an end and put Kenya back on the path of reconciliation and democracy.
Having said these, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I wish to now turn to the most important aspects of the recent events in Kenya as far as Ghana is concerned.
The regrettable outcome of the Kenya elections is of great significance and direct relevance to all of us in Ghana not only because we have important elections coming on in December, 2008 but also especially because the ruling New Patriotic Party Government created conditions that could have brought the country close to violent confrontation at the end of the elections held in 2004.
The similarities in the unfortunate situations in both Ghana and Kenya are too glaring to be ignored, especially as there is a high probability of their repetition in our forthcoming general elections.
It was clear that the illegal declaration of the results of the Presidential Elections by a Minister of the ruling NPP party, and not by the Electoral Commissioner, created the grave possibility of plunging the country into chaos and violence.
The NDC averted that potential disaster on that occasion by advocating calm and subsequently seeking redress through our courts.
Our judgment that the results were rigged and fraudulently proclaimed has been subsequently borne out by the inability of the judiciary to call for the hearing of the case made against the Electoral Commission until now.
A further similarity in the Kenyan situation and the Ghana situation is the sanctity of the ballot papers. In both countries, ballot papers have been destroyed illegally before a possible recount.
The Kenyan opposition has called justifiably for a re-run of the election due to the fact that the ballot papers have been destroyed and therefore there cannot be a recount.
The National Democratic Congress supports that demand as the most likely route to the determination of the unequivocal wish of Kenyans in the Presidential elections.
In Ghana, notwithstanding an injunction preserving the authenticity of the ballot papers, the Electoral Commission and its agents have tampered with and destroyed some of the ballot papers thus affecting the outcome of any subsequent recount that may occur.
This has completely frustrated the process and reduced, the court case to what appears to be a mere exercise in futility. We leave the good people of Ghana to draw their own conclusions about such a serious irregularity perpetrated with impunity by the New Patriotic Party.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press
Towards the end of the 1990s?s, African Governments in power led by the then NDC in Ghana, were keen to advocate transparency, free speech and free elections for the benefit of opposition parties.
It is significant to note that many of these opposition parties, now in government, are manifestly frustrating the tenets of transparency, free speech and most notably credible elections that brought them to power in the first instance.
We have seen the electoral process made mockery of in Togo, Nigeria and now Kenya in order to save unpopular and corrupt parties from being thrown out of power.
Indeed, the notion is growing that you can get away with rigging in spite of the true wishes of the people, if you display enough political bravado and can rely on the security services to shore up palpably fraudulent acts.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
I want to repeat with all the force at my command, the warning note that I sounded last year that should there be another attempt by the ruling or any other party at the December elections to steal the verdict of the people the National Democratic Congress and all fair minded Ghanaians will categorically reject out of hand the fraudulent results so proclaimed and will adopt all legitimate means, to seek redress to any such political misconduct .
The NDC would therefore like to assure every Ghanaian that it will not allow the NPP in the coming elections to repeat such a disgraceful conduct as it did in 2004. The electorate alone shall be the judge of the eight-year stewardship of the NPP.
The NDC has not only put total confidence in democratic governance, including the holding of free, fair, transparent and credible elections, but has also demonstrated the virtues of a peaceful transition of administration as everyone witnessed in January, 2001.
It therefore urges all Ghanaians and the international community to draw useful lessons from the on-going Kenyan conflict situation and the unacceptable conduct of elections held recently in other African countries with a view to ensuring that they are not replicated in our dear country at the next general elections.
We wish to take this opportunity to warn also against the kind of pre-election violence that has taken place in Pakistan with the unfortunate assassination of Benazir Bhutto and to urge the ruling NPP government to ensure the safety and security of Presidential and Parliamentary candidates as well as all citizens in the coming elections.
In conclusion, let me convey the sincere condolences of the National Democratic congress to the families of the more than 500 people who have lost their lives needlessly in the conflict in Kenya and also express the hope that the over 150,000 displaced persons in that country would be returned to peace and their homes as soon as possible.
In the same vain, we extend these sentiments to our very own people in Bawku.
The point is not lost on many Ghanaians that President Kuffour has not yet visited the Bawku area but has managed to visit others in similar difficulties.
President Kufuor must not forget that it is his position as president of Ghana that propelled him to the AU position.
God bless our homeland Ghana.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Chris Gyamfi Boateng, Philadelphia, USA