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Opinions of Sunday, 9 March 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Have You Ever Rigged Elections In Expectation Of Bribes?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The most appropriate caption for the write-up on the interview granted by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan to Power-Fm's Sammy Darko ought to have been the one that appears as the title of this article, and not the following: "I Have Never Taken Bribes to Rig Elections - Afari-Gyan" ( 2/18/14). What is clear, though, is that Ghana's longtime Electoral Commissioner does not seem to have learned anything either substantial or meaningful from the epic humiliation that he suffered during the deliberately, albeit unnecessarily, drawn-out Election 2012 judicial proceedings.

Maybe he ought to have listened to Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo's confession, rather illogically, that she made her decision purely on the basis of which judicial outcome stood the greater chance of fostering peace and security for the country, rather than what actually transpired at the polls. Now, if Dr. Afari-Gyan firmly believes that Justice Akoto-Bamfo's confession closely approximates the gold-standard of the judges on the Supreme Court of Ghana, then, of course, he can continue to live in his veritable fool's paradise in perpetuity.

The tragedy here, though, is that Dr. Afari-Gyan may well be, once again, afforded another opportunity to rig Election 2016. But whether this time around, Ghanaian voters will sit duck while the most incompetent gang of hawkish and thuggish politicians are foisted down their throats, remains to be seen. Indeed, were he smart enough, the former University of Ghana political science lecturer would have long realized that his scandalous and cavalier attitude towards the inalienable right of Ghanaian voters to democratic governance, may well have also cost the Supreme Court irreparable damage to its credibility as the court of last resort.

Already, some political operatives who sincerely believe that the Atuguba-presided panel has given them a raw deal have vowed to avoid the highest court of the land at all costs, come Election 2016, and would rather settle matters on the killing fields. It is also nothing short of the criminally unconscionable for Dr. Afari-Gyan to claim that so procedurally advanced has Ghana's electoral system become that it is virtually synonymous with some dubious concept called "fail-proof security systems." Were there in existence any such systems, why did Dr. Afari-Gyan find it so cognitively staggering to define for even the proverbial average Ghanaian, what constituted "over-voting," and whether such an incident had, indeed, occurred at the polls?

And then to be so humbly forced to eat his egregious, and mischievous, mendacity! I really don't see the man leaving his clearly oversized post with dignity and poise anytime soon, short of him being forced to resign; for he has absolutely no iota of dignity to boast of. He may also not have taken a bribe to rig Election 2012, as he cynically claims, but could Dr. Afari-Gyan also look Ghanaian voters straight in the eyes and confidently declare that he had not rigged the Election 2012 ballot in expectation of some modicum of material relief from the Mahama government? And had he also paid sedulous attention to the written opinion of Justice Julius Ansah, he would not be making the absurd claims that he made to Power-Fm's Mr. Sammy Darko, regarding whether, indeed, Election 2012 met the gold-standard of a rig-proof electoral system.

I mean, how does Dr. Afari-Gyan go to bed with an unblighted conscience, knowing fully well that at the mischievous instigation of the then-Transitional President John Dramani Mahama, he had permitted biometrically unverifiable people to vote? It is also quite interesting to hear Dr. Afari-Gyan pooh-pooh the possibility of any of his staff members' having been bribed by some shady political operatives, when in the wake of the same Election 2012, he had publicly stated that he had fool-proof evidence pointing to the fact of some staff members of the Electoral Commission having been bribed to rig the electoral process in favor of these payola payers.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Feb. 19, 2014