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Opinions of Saturday, 6 December 2008

Columnist: Afful, H. G.

If NPP wins, NDC might dispute results…

I have a strong feeling that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) might win this election, albeit by a small fraction and may possibly force a second round but the National Democratic Congress (NDC) might dispute the results should the NPP win and push for a power sharing deal.

I have applauded Prof. Evans Atta Mills for the way he conducted himself and led his party in both the 2000 and 2004 elections by conceding defeat even though some key members of the NDC were not satisfied with the outcome of the elections. Some people even went as far as castigating him for being so peace-loving. He was given the title ‘Asomdwe hene’ because of his love for peace in his beloved country. I personally think Prof. Mills is under so much pressure to win this election for his party due to the fact that this will certainly be the last time he can lead his party and stand a realistic chance of becoming the President of the Republic of Ghana.

This was evident in his press conference on the post-election events in Kenya. You could feel in his tone that the lover of peace was becoming a bit rough and tough even to the extent of drawing references between Ghana and Kenya (suggesting Ghana might become another Kenya) which in my opinion wasn’t necessary. I read an article on Ghanaweb by fellow columnist Eric Boafo, entitled ‘Why Kenya will not happen in Ghana’(19th January 2008) the writer rightly expressed disgust at some of the comments made by Prof. Atta Mills and the NDC and lamented the extent to which some politicians can go just to win power.

You could pick from the press conference that this was not like Prof. Mills the asomdwe hene some of us have known him to be but ladies and gentlemen when a man is under pressure especially for the founder of his party, he can do anything. This has led to some strongly believing that Atta Mills is not a man of his own but he is strongly being manipulated by the king-makers and the powers that be in the NDC. Implying strongly that someone might be making the bullets for him to fire. It is quiet clear he has not been on the campaign trail as much as some other party functionaries and therefore the decision to concede if it so happens might not rest solely with him.

Already, former President Rawlings has already gone on record for complaints he’s made about elections not been free and fair even before voters cast their vote. Comments like this can harm the trustworthiness of the electoral process and also strain our infant democracy. Obviously our democracy is still not perfect so there will be some issues here and there but all political parties will have to work it out together for the good of the country and not to use issues of electoral flaws to beat war drums.

I must advice that what ever the outcome of this election, all candidates and parties involved must be magnanimous in defeat and humble in victory in order to prolong and perpetuate the long standing peace the nation has enjoyed over the past few years. The interest of the ordinary Ghanaian must take prominence over the ambition of any politician or political party to rule. Anyway no prudent man will like to rule over a war torn country.

In order to avoid a situation where a particular party would dispute the election results, the President Kufour administration and the Electoral Commission has to ensure a free and fair election not just by word of mouth but by positive action. This would ensure that no political party would have an iota of doubt in the electoral system.

The media houses must be very circumspect of the reportage of election events. The proceedings and the final announcement of results should be approved and confirmed by the electoral commission before its made public by any media house.

No political party should be overly confident of their ability to win the elections until the results have been declared by the Electoral Commission. Anything is possible. Just consider the NPP primary when many people forecasted Alan Kyeremanteng will nick it but it turned out that he was well short of the requisite number of votes needed to clinch victory. No one should claim victory until declared winner.

To all party supporters, please exercise restraint at polling centres and if possible don’t wear party colours during polling times. People need to understand their political opponents aren’t their enemies. Again the ordinary man on the street without any political affiliation might suffer just as a staunch political party member, should trouble break out. Certainly our politicians who start the trouble will stand aside and watch on TV or fly their families out of the country for refuge and quality medical attention.

To be honest with you, I haven’t got any political affiliation but I believe people should vote not only for the best candidate but more importantly for the party with the right team of potential ministers that can do a good job for mother Ghana. Let’s us exercise our franchise wisely without resorting to any disruptive behaviour that would derail the long standing and hard earned peace the nation has enjoyed. I hope and believe Ghana will come through this one with joy, not only for the winner of this election but for all peace loving Ghanaians who has the interest of the nation at heart.

I want the NDC to prove me wrong in this one not to dispute the election results and allow the voice of the good people of Ghana to be heard through the ballot box. Likewise should the NDC or any other party win, I expect the NPP to concede and allow the due winner to rule successfully.

God bless you all.

H. G.Afful, Croydon.