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Opinions of Thursday, 5 September 2013

Columnist: Okofo-Dartey, Samuel

Post 2012 presidential election petition reflections (part 2)

I have long held the opinion that all men must be held accountable for whatever they say. And if they must be made to face the law for their unguarded comments, so be it. So, before the declaration of the election petition verdict by the nine Justices, I felt that the call by National Media Commission and other civil societies for media houses to avoid or suppress post election verdict comments was quite misplaced. This difficult-to-obey call by the NMC bore a semblance of trying to hide a bone from a hungry dog. The practical approach to this was an appeal for decorum and circumspection from all and sundry.

For now, the victors and the vanquished are all venting their thoughts in a manner that is most expected. The Second Gentleman of our realm, Mr. Kwasi Amissah Arthur, in his unusual elements suggested that he expected a nine-zero knockout in all the reliefs the petitioners sought to secure. One can understand his frustration in the light of the fact that the court triumph appears to be a pyrrhic victory. A careful scrutiny of the judgement painted a picture that portrayed some of the judges supporting the argument of malpractices and other electoral infractions raised by the petitioners, which of course, the respondents vehemently argued nothing of that nature occurred. In short, as the respondents held that there was no merit in the petitioners’ case, some of the judges thought otherwise.

Other comments from leading personalities in this landmark case have fouled the already charged or delicate atmosphere. For Gabby Otchere Darko to suggest or define the verdict arrived at by the judges as a ‘corrupt judgement’ all because it did not favour his expectation is most unfortunate if not a despicable utterance. And for Tsatsu Tsikata to openly drape Justice Anim Yeboah with the political colours of the NPP and allege political bias against the venerable judge because the said judge was appointed by President J.A. Kuffour is really unfortunate and petty.

Admittedly, Judges are not super humans and above criticisms but they cannot be mocked and their personalities tainted and slurred with mud and mucus. The fact that we hold certain prejudice against someone does not necessarily mean that we must at all cost at the least opportunity throw them through the windows when any window of opportunity is created. The image and sanctity of the office they hold are so sacred that they are the last line of defence and resort in situation like this. And the public may lose confidence in them if we continue to exercise such amount verbal carelessness.

As I watched the interview that Kwasi Pratt granted to Mr Tsatsu Tsikata on TV3, I realised that the latter was committing the sin he told his former student, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the chief scribe of the NPP not to commit: To openly attack the integrity of a judge. I guess Mr Tsatsu Tsikata during that interview could not resist that temptation just as Sampson of biblical narration could not marshal all his arsenals to turn his back on the charms of venomous Delilah which resulted in his hellish doom.

Aside the above, one remarkable statement that seems to receive public commendation and approval is the notion that Nana Akufo Addo is a true statesman. This observation is borne out of Akufo Addo’s display of maturity when he readily accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court through a speech he delivered although he did not agree with it. His decision to call the President to congratulate and his preparedness not to seek a review of the verdict through the same speech, though hasty, also consolidated his desire for the nation to move on amidst criticisms from his own political bigwigs.

Concerning Nana Addo’s decision to hibernate from the main stream politics in order to ponder over his political career, I am part of those who support the call for Nana Addo to take a befitting exit from politics now and assume the statesmanship tag tagged on him. It is better for him to bow out of politics with his pride and high praise intact than to contest in 2016 and bite the dust. Election 2008 and 2012 were his heyday in Ghanaian politics but as fate would have it, fortune did not favour him.

The premise for my proposal pivots on the position that there are marketable, experienced, popular and above all young politicians within the NPP fraternity who are well able to match the NDC presidential ticket boot for boot and eventually win. The likes of Dr Bawumia, Allan Kyeremanten, Dr Frimpong Boateng, Dr. Addo Kuffour among others are possible candidates for election 2016. I would be glad to see an Allan K and Dr Pink sheet ticket in the 2016 election inshah Allah.

Without any shadow of doubt, the NDC ticket for 2016 is President John Mahama and his veep, Mr. Amissah Arthur. I do not foresee any change to this ticket unless the NDC would want to shoot themselves in the foot. Politically, these are fine gentlemen who are solidly backed by a well greased propaganda machinery that is able to turn a lean goat into a well fed cow overnight. This is an enviable feat that has secured for the NDC electoral fortunes that the NPP find very difficult to emulate if not destroy.

The NPP must not lose sight of the fact that politics is not like wine which becomes better with the passage of time. Politics is just like a woman in her prime, so, it becomes prudent to get presidential candidates who are in their prime and not in the twilight of their political career. I wonder how Nana Addo can appeal to younger voters. I may be wrong since I have not conducted any research to that effect. But I can assure the NPP that if Nana Addo is made the presidential candidate come 2016, they have given enough weapons for the NDC to win the election. And the excruciating truth will be that the relatively younger politicians will be kept in the political abyss for a long time to come.

Imagine this scenario: When President J.A. Kuffour and Nana Addo team up to support the presidential candidate of the NPP in election 2016, do you know the sort of experience and support these politicians will add to the fortunes of the NPP? The NDC I must say would not have it so simple. Unfortunately, I foresee certain individuals within the NPP who will be bent on advising Nana Addo to pursue his political interest at the expense of party interest.

That notwithstanding, what I consider as the major determinant forces that will play a crucial role in the 2016 would be presidential personalities and politics of policies. It appears a huge portion of the Ghanaian populace is becoming wide awake of the challenges confronting the economy despite our huge natural resources. Therefore, they would want to see or hear the pragmatic policies that will be brought to on board to alleviate their economic challenges.

In this vein, I am not ignorant of the tribal politics that inevitably sweep a section of voters to cast their ballots in favour of their parties. However, I am highly optimistic that the floating voters who are monitoring events in the country will tilt the scale not in favour of the garrulous politicians but those who possess the magic wand to turn the fortunes of the country in a positive way.

As I wind up, I must reiterate what all well meaning Ghanaians have been saying, ‘The election petition is a victory for Ghana’s democracy and not any group of Ghanaians.’ The time has now come for the government of the day to put in place policies that will better the lot of Ghanaians alive and those unborn. I trust our politicians will go beyond the rhetoric of the all inclusive government and champion developmental agenda that will retain the best of brains in the country instead of kith and kin offering themselves for voluntary slavery in other people’s countries.



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