General News of Monday, 14 January 2013

Source: The Catalyst

How Jake Misled Kufuor

PATHETIC KUFUOR! How Jake Misled Him To Attack EC And Lie To Yayi Boni

When former President John Agyekum Kufuor engaged Benin’s President, Yayi Boni, on his snap visit to Ghana on the onset of agitations by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) leadership, two days after the declaration of the 2012 election by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), it was an explicit statement loaded with incontrovertible falsehoods by the former Ghanaian President to the AU Chairman. In his words, the election had been fraudulently rigged for National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama and if Ghana burns, the Electoral Commission must be held responsible.

Little did the former President know then that the twice defeated flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, the chairman of the party, had misled him into committing a major diplomatic gaffe in spewing the blatant untruth on such a high platform of international diplomacy.

This, according to a retired diplomat, who does not want to be named, has gravely dented former President Kufuor’s image internationally, as he is seen as an integral part of, what he described as “the ill-intentioned political gimmick that has taken centre stage in his party, the NPP, after a most credible election.”

Former President Kufuor believed the leadership of the NPP, who visited him at home on Monday 10th December 2012 and deliberately misled him that the election was ridden with massive fraud and showed him ‘cooked’ figures from some constituencies across the country as proof. This was after the party had failed in its attempt to trick the EC with the same ‘cooked’ figures as the true reflection of the election in those polling stations across the country. The NPP leadership had, at a meeting with the EC under the auspices of the Peace Council, requested the electoral body to delay the declaration of the results for 24 hours pending their discovery of further proof of an alleged widespread fraud in the election. The EC dismissed the allegations after satisfying itself they were baseless.

The EC has since exposed the NPP’s falsehood by publishing the full details of the results of the 2012 election from the 275 constituencies on its website. This has put former President in a tight corner since the publication by the EC has established that his information to the AU Chairman was totally false. It is for this reason that the NPP was quick to change its original position of “rigging” and “fraud” in the election to one of “irregularities” in the electoral system as per their petition to the Supreme Court, which they openly admitted the party also benefited from but claimed “largely” benefited President Mahama.

According to an Akufo-Addo relation and right-hand man, Nana Fredua, the alleged irregularities favoured both President Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo by 70% and 30% respectively. He made this known via a text message on Asempa FM’s Ekor Sii Sen programme. The party’s decision to conduct its search for the alleged electoral fraud in only 24,000 instead of the entire 26,000 polling stations has also raised eyebrows with some describing it as disingenuous. The areas covered include, among others, all the strongholds of the NDC, leaving out 2,000 polling stations which are predominantly in NPP strongholds of Ashanti and Eastern regions where previous elections had produced over 100% voter turnouts in some polling stations.

Former President Kufuor, who demonstrated total belief in the blatant falsehood by the NPP leadership, in his obvious ignorance, rushed to launch a blistering attack on the EC, which had declared him victorious in two major elections of 2000 and 2004.

The NDC however says NPP’s move is aimed at subverting the will of the electoral mandate of the people of Ghana. The move which is consistent with the notice served by the leadership of the opposition party through its deputy communications director, Sammy Awuku, prior to the election stipulated that the party would oppose any result not declared in its favour. It is not surprising to many a Ghanaian therefore that the party continues to engage in a ‘goalpost-shifting’ strategy, as it has since shifted from its initial position of ‘the election has been fraudulently rigged for Mahama’ to ‘electoral irregularities largely favoured President Mahama.’ In its petition to the Electoral Commission on Sunday 9th December 2012, seeking to cause Dr Afari Gyan to delay the declaration of the result for 24 hours, the NPP led by its chairman presented a list of ‘cooked’ figures from some constituencies across the country to the Commission, insisting those were the right results. These included Tamale South, Ledzokuku, Savelugu, Ablekuma West, Dome/Kwabenya, and Lower Manya constituencies among others. On the basis of Jake’s ‘cooked’ figures, Mr Kufuor went ahead to tell President Yayi Boni that the NPP has enough evidence to show that figures were massaged to favour the ruling party.

For example, he told the AU chairman that as many as 16,000 votes were added to a President Mahama’s votes to guarantee victory for him in the election. It turned out that the former President had relied on Jake’s falsehood that 16, 000 votes belonging to Nana Akufo-Addo in Savelugu constituency were stolen for President Mahama.

Jake and his NPP also indicated that the Returning Officer announced 67,710 votes in favour of the President Mahama instead of 53, 710 in the Ledzokuku constituency in the Greater Accra region. However when the EC cross-checked the figures it turned out to be false because the true figure recorded was 53,710 votes for the NDC.

After an hour of scrutiny, at the meeting with the EC featuring the NDC and NPP under the auspices of the Peace Council, the EC saw through the mischief of the NPP regarding the cooked figures and therefore went ahead to declare President John Mahama winner of the 2012 presidential election.

Former President Kufuor has brought this embarrassment on himself since he chose to ignore the option of validating the wild claim by the desperate NPP leaders before unjustifiably going to town on the EC in the despicable manner he did. Now, he finds himself entangled in the quagmire of a diplomatic gaffe that he may never be able to disentangle from.

Some have suggested that the former President’s insistence on attending the swearing-in ceremony of President Mahama on January 7th, despite frantic attempts by some within his party to hold him hostage and prevent him, was borne out of a struggle to control the damage caused to his image by the monumental faux pas.