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Opinions of Monday, 2 November 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Don’t You Go There, Mr. Karbo!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Oct. 30, 2015
E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

Mr. Anthony Abayifa Karbo’s vow that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will not participate in the 2016 general election, unless a wholly new National Voters’ Register is established, is not a constructive solution to the present impasse. Needless to say, the NPP has gone down this self-destructive road before; and it did not redound to the benefit, either long-term or short-term, of the then-Adu-Boahen-led New Patriotic Party. And neither did it serve the interest of the nation at large. To be certain, this 1992 epic blunder of the NPP’s ended up unwisely facilitating the establishment of a one-party state, precisely as Chairman Jerry John Rawlings wanted it. This was also, of course, very much in keeping with the pathological tradition of Nkrumacracy (See “NPP Will Boycott Polls If Current Register Is Used – Karbo” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 10/21/15).

Of course, my regular readers are quite familiar with the fact that I am not in favor of a knee-jerk establishment of a New Voters’ Register. And my stance is instructively based on the fact that the present contamination of the Voters’ Register was clearly engendered by acts of flagrant electoral criminality on the part of key operatives of both major political parties. This may explain why the plaintiffs, to wit, Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Bawumia, are not calling for the vigorous prosecution of the criminal suspects. Besides, it is a well-established fact that the deliberate bloating of the Voters’ Register fairly equally occurred in both New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress (NDC) strongholds. What the likes of Mr. Karbo, a former Youth Organizer of the NPP, appear to be trenchantly decrying is the fact that the operatives of the NDC appear to have become more adept at this opprobrious game of electoral fraud than their main political opponents of the New Patriotic Party.

In the gaping absence of any call for a thorough investigation and the relentless prosecution of any forensically culpable criminal suspects, the demand by the leaders of the New Patriotic Party for a new Voters’ Register rings annoyingly hollow and a total waste of time. The proposed hosting of a forum – it is actually already in session, as of this writing – by the Electoral Commission will not amount to the proverbial hill of beans, unless steps are taken to ensure that such act of fraudulent criminality will not be repeated in the foreseeable future. So far, none of the key operatives of both major parties have given any worthwhile signal, or indication, that the sort of electoral fraud being heatedly debated in the national political arena will not recur in the offing.

If, indeed, the Electoral Commission has woefully failed to satisfactorily clean the Voters’ Register, as Mr. Karbo, the Deputy NPP Communications Director, claims, the problem may very well inhere in the fact that the New Patriotic Party’s leaders appear not to have amply demonstrated adequate seriousness in this aspect of our national political culture, short of screaming at the top of their voices to be permitted to have their stance on the debate canonized as the new standard for conducting elections in the country. Such my way or the highway approach to democratic political culture is simply not constructive, and one hopes that Mr. Karbo and his associates would recognize this rather disturbing trend before it is too late.

What the leaders of the NPP, in particular Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Bawumia, ought to do is to force the Electoral Commissioner to respond to Team Bawumia’s forensically damning evidence of widespread Voters’ Register bloating or compromising. And then a serious national conversation on the electoral culture and destiny of the country can healthily begin. If Mr. Karbo and those among the top-hierarchy membership of the NPP are not willing to embark upon an armed struggle of the highest order and for the long haul, then I am afraid that merely boycotting Election 2016 is as good as summarily and immediately calling for the dissolution of the New Patriotic Party as a legitimately registered and recognized national political organization.