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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Why not July, for example?

As I have already noted in a previous column, there is absolutely no stone-etched rationale for Ghana’s quadrennial general election to have been constitutionally scheduled for December 7 or the first Monday in December, for that matter, knowing fully well that general elections in the United States were held on the first Tuesday of November quadrennially. For a country whose most dominant political party is socialist-oriented and one with a publicly avowed hostility towards the United States – remember President Mahama’s recent riposte in the Ford Expedition payola scam exposé, “I don’t even like or own an American car. My choice of the ideal car is the Japanese-made Toyota”? – the decision to redesign Ghana’s general election calendar to either synch with or strikingly coincide with that of the United States ought to arouse reasonable suspicion, especially in the wake of the scandalous decision by President John Dramani Mahama to play host to two U.S.-released Arabo-Islamist certified terrorists who served more than a decade, apiece, at the Guantanamo Bay Maximum-Security Prison.

On the face of it, the reason given by the Mahama Posse for moving the date of Ghana’s general election down to November makes perfect sense, that is, vis-à-vis the provision of adequate time for an outgoing administration to hand over notes and other items pertaining to the state of the stewardship of the nation to an incoming administration. However, upon closer scrutiny it becomes patently clear that there are other ulterior motives besides what is being smugly paraded as the sole reason for the desire, rather than the need, to scheduling the date for the country’s general election a month in advance of the current schedule. For one, it makes absolutely no difference whether the handing over of power from one government to another occurs within a two-month period, as is being presently proposed, or a month-long period, as has been the case since the inception of the country’s Fourth Republic, because neither of the two major political parties in the country, namely, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), have been known to studiously pursue a synchronous policy agenda.

In other words, handover notes or not, either party has always single-mindedly pursued its own policy agenda, having long arrived at disparate understandings that the faux-socialist populism of the National Democratic Congress was diametrically antithetical to the neoliberal capitalist orientation and agenda of the New Patriotic Party, and vice-versa. So far, though, it has been largely the NDC operatives and such leftist ideological kinsmen as Messrs. Kweku Baako and Kwesi Pratt who claim to be disappointed by the blistering defeat of the December election date proposal. We shall examine this aspect of the issue in due course. But for now, suffice it to observe, at least in passing, that the 1969 general election that brought the Busia-led Progress Party (PP) to power had been held in July. Likewise, the general election that led to the handing over of power to the Limann-led People’s National Party (PNP), by the Rawlings-led junta of the so-called Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), had been held in September. As well, the seminal election that ushered Ghana into its era of sovereignty had been held in July 1956!

That the Charlotte Osei-led so-called Independent Electoral Commission (EC) should be leading the effort to have the date of the country’s general election moved down to November is all the more reason to be suspicious about the motive behind this scheme. It is a scheme, and a suspicious one at that, because under the specious guise of “anti-elitism,” Mrs. Osei has systematically engineered a tactical go-slow and judiciary-scoffing modus-operandi to ensure that the outcome of Election 2016 would serve the especial interest of her paymaster and queen-maker, rather than improve upon the quality and credibility of Ghanaian democracy.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

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