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Opinions of Friday, 21 December 2012

Columnist: Appiah, Papa

Democratic Terrorism- Akuffo-Addo Style

If you are a Ghanaian, I implore you to get on your knees and thank God, that that vertically challenged apology of a party leader never had the opportunity to lay hands on the sacred throne, for believe me when I say, that this man would have led us into an abyss worse than ever been experienced anywhere in Africa. For in Akuffo Addo, I see a Gbagbo, a man determined to hold on to power at all cost. I promise you that if Akuffo Addo had won this election and then lost the next, he would never have relinquished power. He would have had an excuse. He would have cried robbery. He would have preached the preservation of democracy for his actions, but he would never have relinquished power and Ghana would have been thrown into war.

What a fool I had been to have thought at a point that Ghana had over-reacted to the all-die –be die mantra of my good friend. Akuffo-Addo actually meant every bit of that and everything he has said and done after this election has gone to show that he would not have cared a jot if blood had been shed so long as it meant that he became president. All-die-be-die, a strategy to make Ghana ungovernable in the event of an NDC win was not a harmless off-the cuff muttering of a stupid man but a carefully thought-out strategy that started the moment they realized the election was not going as they had intended, with the premature announcement of an electoral victory and imploring supporters to go on the street and celebrate the next day. Therein lay the recipe for a bloody confrontation with NDC supporters and we owe our security men a depth of gratitude that any such events were nipped in the bud.

I bowed my head in shame when that pitiful little man stood there at Obra Park and as if reminiscing what could have been, spoke in four languages including, for some bizarre reason, French. I could sense a victory speech rehearsed over generations shattered to pieces and a career in politics shot up in flames. And sensing that becoming a president of Ghana had perhaps, been his fathers dyeing wish, I shed a little tear for the ghost of the poor old man. For In the end, no one person has the divine right to be president of Ghana. It is a right that has to be earned with humility, a unifying attitude, charm and an understanding, that Ghanaians as a people are generally peace-loving and not many of them, excuse me to say, are stupid enough to want to die so you become president.

But he was not going to go quietly. In fact it would have been out of character if he had done so and many of us would have been surprised. There was too much at stake. Money had been lost. The twenty sixteen agenda of sections of NPP had been in full flow even before the election. Obetsebi Lamptey was not going to be able to steal his government bungalow. The expectations of supporters had been raised beyond the horizons and the very credibility of the NPP was at stake and last but by no means least, oil money was now out of reach. First they tried, rather cheekily, to intimidate the wiry old Afari-Gyan to avoid announcing the results with a couple of blue papers they claimed was evidence. Two weeks after their bluff was called, they are still looking round for real evidence- that gargantuan, mind-blowing, earth-shaking, volcanic evidence that seems to be only present in the warped imagination of the disgraced lot.

Our electoral system is far from perfect but no single electoral system anywhere in the world has been under as much intense scrutiny and endured as many adjustments as ours. There was a time in the not two distant past when the NPP would not allow elections without the presence of independent election observers. Now, the views of not one, but five or more independent observers count for nothing. So why do we bother? We have gone from opaque ballot boxes, snatching of ballot boxes, stuffing of ballot boxes, multiple voting and picture ID cards to transparent boxes, biometric verification and polling agents at every step of the way and yet the NPP would like us to believe they are so daft, and the NDC so clever, that massive rigging has taken place countrywide in favour of Mahama. How can we trust people like that with our government?

It seems to me that the only free and fair elections in Ghana are always one won by the NPP. When Atta Mills, may his soul rest in peace, lost elections, even when he expressed reservation about incidents of election malpractice and reserved his right to go to court, he still congratulated the president-elect for the sake of peace in his motherland. There is a man who knows, that democracy is not all about winning and that losing gracefully is an integral part of true democracy.

When a party has to compete with a man who has barely two months to campaign and is leader of a government tainted with gargantuan Woyome corruption and ridiculous and offensive propaganda; a party that buys jets to chase armed robbers and cuts the sod for massive projects that never materialise and manages to win only two regions out of ten and 120 parliamentary seats against their opponents 151, then the least they could do is exhibit a bit of modest introspection to see who and what was the problem and proceed to court quickly as per the constitution if they have good reason to believe they’ve been hard done by.

What we are getting from the NPP is arrogant contradictory claims and counter-claims, a call to their supporters to carry catapults, senseless and useless demonstrations, attacks on journalists, destruction of cars and other property and stabbing of innocent people, all with a view to, wait for this, entrenching Ghana’s democracy.

Papa Appiah