Feature Article of Monday, 7 January 2013

Columnist: Rii, Jedd

The Elephant Must Have Its Day In Court

A lot has been said about the election and the controversy surrounding its result. Many questions have been posed and mused over by millions. Sections of the population, unperturbed by the furore would like to believe and would like all to believe, that what has happened is correct and without fault. To the party that won, all the hullabaloo, is much ado about nothing.

It will be unjust, to deny the wishes of a significant number of the population the right to self determination for any reason. If the New Patriotic Party really won the last election, it is their right and they should have the mandate to determine who leads the nation for the next four years. If there was an infraction which was lost to the population and the world, the nation should use this challenge to examine it and effect a remedy. On the other hand, if the status quo is the correctly determined mandate of the people, then all credit should be given to the tolerance of the people of Ghana and the integrity of the constitution.

The significant question is: Is it possible ,and how easy is it, to rig an election, with all the transparency that was accorded the last election and in the full glare of local and international observers? The answer to that is; Yes! In fact, it is very easy.

With influential statesmen like Mr Agyekum Kuffour and Ft. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings adding their voice to the call for verification, it is the integrity of the process which must be tested, if only to prove that President elect John Mahama, won the elections without recourse. It is a very daunting task, with the veracity of the courts, observers, Electoral Commission, the New Patriotic Party [NPP], the president and other national figures riding on it, not to mention that an outright win for the NPP will lead to implementing the biggest post election climb-down in Ghana’s political history.

To have any chance of success, the NPP should bear in mind that the case is about the process and not about the people involved in the process. The action it has embarked on is not a unilateral one but carries the motion of party members and significant number of the population and people both at home and worldwide. It is not just a question of the New Patriotic Party proving what it is alleging, but a test of the integrity of the judicial process and the constitution. There are people on both sides of the divide, who would like to be certain of the fairness of the election and its result.

Nothing as yet, has been revealed about the evidence that the New Patriotic Party intends to put before the court. Whatever that may be, it is important, that the judicial challenge is not treated as a personal vendetta or war with either the National Democratic Congress [NDC], the Electoral Commission or complicity with individuals. Such an action will be certain to result in failure, unless substantive proof of direct involvement can be produced.

First of any such mistake, will be an attack on the integrity of Dr Afari Djan, the head of the Electoral Commission. A man of unquestionable integrity, he is held in high regard at home and abroad. It will be a unforgivably bad call, for the National Democratic Congress to level any allegation without substantive proof, that he is anything other than a man, who can be trusted to carry out an election fairly. No judge, will countenance any action to discredit an outstanding national figure, on some whimsical allegation without substantive proof linking him directly. It will be detrimental to the case; it will change the balance of payment and it is bound to fail.

It is entirely possible, that what is alleged [if true], could have occurred without full disclosure or any disclosure to either the Electoral Commission, International and Local observers and other personalities currently suspected of criminal malfeasance. It is therefore proper for the New Patriotic Party to pursue the case for veracity, without dragging men of integrity [who most likely played no part,] through an unjust quagmire. Testing the truthfulness of the process will be enough to prove the point, but whether the evidence will be sufficient to change the current outcome, remains to be seen.

It will be proper to discuss the manner and framework of the case that the New Patriotic Party will present to the courts and try to discover, if the evidence will be strong enough to compel a change to the nation‘s current course of history. It is important to remember; You cannot fabricate evidence over which you have no control and that assertion will be instrumental in proving their case.

Jedd Rii.

This article was produced by Abigail Asantewaa Coleridge, with and on behalf of Jedd Rii, a regular visitor to Ghanaweb. It was prompted by the ongoing debate about the just ended 2012 Ghana elections.