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Opinions of Thursday, 4 July 2013

Columnist: Assan, John Fuo Nidjon

Election 2012 in Ghana was a real test

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for Electoral Commission’s independence and our democracy

“you cannot always get what you want but you cannot also always stop chasing what you want”. The die is cast and God has spoken through the electorates but the electoral commission (EC) only accentuated and proclaimed what was obvious. Rule of law and democracy were made by human beings and in this context the majority of electorates spoke and our cherished EC and other para electoral stakeholders also confirmed, they say there was a winner. Presidents of USA ,China, the EU, AU, former president of Nigeria Olusegu Obasanjo and team of observers, the CODEO, the Ghana peace council and some respected chiefs, some respected media houses, some men of God, civil societies and many more saw one party emerge as winner and said the elections were transparent, peaceful, free, and comparatively fair for all. All these stakeholders say NDC won, so let sleeping dogs lie. Some day another party will win and they will say so too. I do not intend to repudiate NPP and its claims but only to uphold the constitutionality of the EC and its electoral mandate, after all the stakeholders aforementioned and others exculpate the EC. When I hear the spin doctors wrongly comparing our past elections especially the 1992 to the current 2012, 20 years down the line I laugh, laugh and laugh, but I console myself because the facts are still there for us to ponder. We had the Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) headed by Mr. Justice Ofori-Boateng , but now EC Is fully independent. We used to have the media that lived in fear and despair but now there is media freedom, playing watchdog role and proactive. The security in uniform and non-uniform are now more professional and tolerant, the electorates now vote with little or no coercion, they read in-between lines before casting their votes in secret. Though the first time biometric verification introduced had it’s own natural challenges it was far better than the 1992, 96….. systems, so we’ve progressed in quality. Therefore we should not repeat the past actions because the political socialization in Ghana has nurtured our political culture to that of tolerance and respect for the outcome of our elections, our state institutions have the fullest mandate to superintend our elections. Lets say they are doing it well, and where they go wrong we suggest appropriate ways to correct them. PREVENTION THEY SAY IS BETTER THAN CURE. Ghana and its electoral democracy have moved pass the days of “I was cheated” by who, how and where were you, may be to something else like disability and aged consideration in voting on time during election periods. God bless Ghana , but the EC spoke without fear of intimidation or favor, and let me also add that my feelings and just like others is that, if the electoral commissioner had any assistance to any party, I tell you not the NDC and not NPP, but may be some other party, guess which! I know as you may do that NDC recognizes the opposition because, no vibrant opposition no democracy, at the same time NDC knows for sure that it’s not possible to be in power forever - one party state - not in Ghana because our electorates will maximize the secret balloting to our dismay.

EC says President John Mahama won, let us respect that pronouncement and move forward. But I think every Ghanaian and other foreigners within and abroad recognizes and respects the fact that Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo is an astute politician and has contributed his quota. His contribution in Ghanaian politics could be equivalent to the contribution of a president, I guess, but because the nature and approach to our political work differ, and because we attach and give all powers to the presidents and the vice, important politicians efforts are not seen and appreciated except the P&VP . Who says Prof. Adu Boahen, D.F. Annan, Dr. Hilla Limann in the 4th republic, the committee members in charge of the referendum to multi- party democracy hence the forth republic, the team that formulated the current constitution for which the president and the likes were and are made and will continue to be, among others have not contributed their part, some of them were politicians too. Even some individuals who were not politicians as such, their attitudes and contributions eventually were seen as an appropriate force to the birth of the 4th republic. Their thank you is a merit one. Nana’s personal reputation was gained by him, though with the support of others, I think he is the only one to protect this important political reputation. Nana lost to a political heavy weight, the weight of President John Dramani Mahama was a combined one with the late president Atta Mills. It is not a shame at all to lose to president Mahama, this is a fact across the world anyway, and Nana does not also lose any political face for losing to president Mahama so long as Ghana’s politics is concerned. I believe president Mahama knows about this guess too.

The protest and refutation of the 2012 electoral results by NPP is a legitimate one but respecting the verdict of the independent EC is also the supreme legitimacy in this context.

It is gratifying to hear that the elephant is still alive and undergoing strategic training in electoral vigilance, tolerance, grassroots mobilization and campaigning, couching the best campaign message for the next presidential and parliamentary elections just as the umbrella is being patched to give enough shade to Ghanaians and deliver on their campaign promises that gave them the nod to power. “who knows tomorrow”, only God. Will a stronger third party emerge in the next election? We wait to see. Both the winners and those who did not win the elections have contributed their part to Ghana’s multi party democracy; their legacy will be remembered in Ghanaian politics and history. Congratulations. Let us put NPP protestation aside and just call it a real test, a test to test EC independence and our progressive democracy. Ghana passed this test and Ghana won. So, let us allow the winning team to serve Ghana in the best interest for us all. Ghana first. The majority of the electorates made their choice, we must respect it, one day NPP or some party will win. 7th December as our election day is a good one, this is because the losers who are Christians will adhere to the preacher men preaching on 25th December and say enough is enough, to a large extend everybody will be consoled to move forward with the new year’s agenda. Another one, I hear people say (all inclusive – or winner takes all ), any time that NDC included other personnel from the other parties to work with they eventually become sympathizers of it, same to NPP , they turn to become their loyalties , so all inclusive does not generally work in practice but must be encouraged, emphasizing be encouraged. Winner takes all is not good but the winner must take it all then share with other opposition, this is because there is no practical option for now except working with persons from other political parties who did not win the power with the winning team-but I suggest that policies from other parties be adapted and worked with, as the saying goes no bad ideas exist anyway, it is how you use what idea that matters.

I am sure the Supreme Court represents the entire nation including the electorates and, also Supreme Court as a state property behind the scenes may be working with the EC for the betterment of the nation which includes the electorates as well. At this point, we only pray to God for long life so that we witness 2016 election, whether the status quo of two terms will be broken or maintained only God can tell. NDC, NPP and the other parties must live to contest that year’s election so that Ghana’s democracy will be entrenched and grow. Everybody feels and sees the active participation of our professional security forces, their understanding and appreciation of the importance of democracy hence the integral part of it. Ghana will grow, Ghana will always move forward, democracy has come to stay, multi party elections will be held and the electorates as I call them the kingmakers will be decisive so that the EC will proclaim the choice of the voters, nothing but the wish of the majority in our elections is the winner. Who wins this contest, let’s wait and see. Election 2012, Ghana triumphed so let us rejoice, today NDC won, some day another party will win and on and on we go, we grow, we improve and leave behind a legacy of fortified multi party democracy for Ghana. Congratulations to all the election 2012 contestants. Your legacy is indelible for generations to witness. I think the Electoral Commissioner Dr. K Afari Gyan deserves emeritus. Happy New Year and a Prosperous one for all.

I am responsible for the outcome and any excoriation of this piece. Thank you


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