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Opinions of Thursday, 5 September 2013

Columnist: Adjei, Samuel Appiah

Ghana after election petition

: redirecting on strength toward nation building


appiahadjei281@gmail.com

Election over the years has been the major yardstick for measuring the strength of democracies in every state especially on the African Continent. Over a decade now most of the African Countries have been able to build their “brittle” democracies through the organisation of elections. One trend that has developed mostly on the continent is the rate at which elections are petitioned in Court. Countries like Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe have peacefully petitioned various courts in their respective countries to seek either annulment or re-election.

Elections in Ghana since the inception of the Fourth Republic has generally been free, fair and peaceful. In deed since 1992 elections, results has been seen by the main political parties that are the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress with a different spectacle depending on who wins. One thing worth noticing is the gradual reforms the electioneering process has evolved since its inception.
The strength of Ghana’s young democracy was put to test when the NPP led by Nana Akuffo Addo decided to contest the election results in court citing various irregularities like unsigned pick sheets, over voting, voting without biometric verification and duplicate serial numbers, Through the process many street lawyers were evolved in Ghana with the use of words like “contempt”, “pick sheet”, “my lords”, “my learned friend”, “amicus curie” and host of others. In addition to the various vocabularies used jokingly by Ghanaians it offered them opportunity to learn the various process undertaken in the court room and the laws governing elections in Ghana. Close to the declaration came the call for peace from all quarters. Various groups including the National Peace Council, National House of Chiefs, Institute of Economic Affairs and Clergy got involved in the peace crusade. Over-emphasizing the peace mantra led to the development of fear in the hearts of Ghanaians. A visit to the various banking halls revealed a staggering scene where Ghanaians were redrawing their monies for the fear of war. Though the peace crusade was necessary it was over emphasized.
After going through eight months of election petition the Supreme Court Justices dismissed
the case by the petitioners and re-affirmed the presidency of John Dramani Mahama. In deed there has been varied opinions on the verdict. The statements made by the protagonist to the case has further deepened the democratization process of the country. Nana Akuffo Addo made this historic statement after the verdict that “…whilst I disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept that what the court says brings finality to the election dispute.” This statement is and will remain historic for the numerous Ghanaians who would have suffered most if Akuffo Addo had thought and perhaps acted otherwise. The president’s message also reinforced the political leadership stance for peace and tranquillity in Ghana.
A major hurdle has been passed by Ghanaians but a lot need to be done to better lives of Ghanaians. Just as the president reiterated the country has to deal with problems confronting us in the areas of education, health, agriculture, economic, transportation, and energy. Labour strikes, unemployment, issues on single spine salary structure and our decentralization process stares us on the face every blessed day. If the coordinated efforts with which the country stood for peace is redirected to the nation building process Ghana would definitely be a better place to live. Development in its entirety should not be left in the hands of the three arms of government alone. If the amount of airtime and attention given to the peace crusade is given to social cankers like sanitation problems, most of our health related issues would be dealt with. Peace is a prerequisite for development but peace in itself is not an end state. Ghanaians from all walks of life should rally and join forces to wage war against all problems confronting the nation. In deed democracy has come to stay in Ghana but it must be matched equally with the improvement in people’s life through a coordinated manner. Long Live Ghana.