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Opinions of Thursday, 27 December 2012

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.

Inauguration of President Mahama: Will Kufuor attend?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Even though the NPP is yet to file its case at the Supreme Court to fight the EC (the NDC and the media too) over the outcome of the Presidential elections, I am quite certain that the matter will not be determined before January 7, 2013, when President Mahama will be inaugurated into office.

Time and tide seem to confirm that the proceedings will even not begin by then. Thus, we expect the normal course of action to be taken by the state to pave the way for President Mahama’s instatement into office.

The very Chief Justice who is to empanel the Supreme Court to hear that case is the legitimate authority to swear the President into office; and she can’t shirk her constitutional obligation just because the NPP is up in arms against the Electoral Commission’s certification of President Mahama as the winner of the Presidential elections, meaning that she will participate in the ceremony.
The NPP has already given us an inkling of what it has up its sleeves to either frustrate official action to legitimize President Mahama in office or to simply attempt stalling the smooth transition from the caretaker administration to a substantive one.
By boycotting the inauguration in Parliament of the three-member Advisory Council on the Presidential Transition Team, the NPP Minority has set the tone for what seems to be a concerted effort to boycott ceremonies that will culminate in the inauguration of President Mahama on January 7, 2013, to begin his four-year term.
Of course, the boycott was premised on reasons best known to us: the NPP’s rejection of the results of the 2012 Presidential elections and consequent threat to seek redress at the Supreme Court over its allegation that the Electoral Commission aided the NDC to rig the elections in favour of the incumbent. As a matter of course, then, refusing to participate in any ceremony that might legitimize President Mahama’s status is the logical step to take, right?
The NPP might also be doing so to agree with the Institute of Economic Affairs’ objection to the appointment of the Vice President as Chairman of the Presidential Transition Team. The IEA sees his appointment as an illegality, noting that it should rather have gone to the Administrator-General. I don’t think Ghanaians know who that person is, but the IEA’s stance creates appealing moments for the NPP to plug itself into with the justification that the NPP will not condone illegality.
This boycott seems to have blazed the trail for others, which we will definitely have to prepare for. It is instructive to note, however, that despite the NPP Minority’s boycott action, the Advisory Council on the Presidential Transition Team was inaugurated and it has already begun functioning. The implication is that the NPP Minority’s boycott didn’t have any effect.
If that boycott is ineffectual, how does it create favourable conditions to spawn others? And by choosing the boycott option, is the NPP Minority setting a good example to be emulated in future for a good cause or is it doing so out of mere spite?
We have one consequence to consider. We do so with a question: Will former President Kufuor participate in the inaugural ceremony on January 7? We’ve asked this question because he was one of the first to condemn the EC over the alleged rigging of the elections, joining hands with his fellow NPP members to discredit the general elections as unfair, opaque, and fraught with irregularities to the disadvantage of Akufo-Addo.
Together with Rawlings—who congratulated President Mahama but also called for an investigation into the manner in which the EC conducted the elections—both Presidents seem to have created the impression that contrary to the reports of the election monitors, a lot went wrong against Akufo-Addo.
For Kufuor, particularly, Akufo-Addo’s defeat has dealt a resounding blow because of how heavily he had invested himself in the NPP’s electioneering campaigns. Having done so much yet being told that the elections didn’t go Akufo-Addo’s way must be the least to enthuse over. He has so far not made any other public statement, even though we can infer that he is hands-in-gloves with the NPP’s legal team in its pursuit of the case at the Supreme Court.
This case will definitely not be determined before January 7 when the inauguration of President Mahama is to take place. Not until it is clear that the case will go against the NPP, one wonders whether Kufuor will honour the invitation to participate in the inaugural ceremony.
If he does so, what will be the signal to his NPP camp? That he has betrayed them? Obviously, we strongly opine that Akufo-Addo and the other bigwigs of the party will not attend the ceremony. Their strident criticism of the EC, the NDC, and the media won’t allow them to attend that function without being pricked by their own conscience—whatever will be left of it by then.
But for Kufuor, as the former President who has all along indicated support for a smooth transition from one administration to the other in this 4th Republic, what will he do? If he chooses to participate in the ceremony, he will be going against the NPP’s grain and legitimizing President Mahama’s status.
If he chooses not to participate, he will be giving a bad signal. So, now torn between the devil and the deep blue sea, what will Kufuor do? Will he follow the herd and create the impression that he is not helping our democracy thrive at that level or will he be pardoned for identifying with his party’s cause and not interested in sustaining the Presidency of John Mahama? A conundrum of a sort to ponder.
One may be asking about Rawlings too. I have no doubt that he will attend the function because he has indicated his inclination toward a Mahama-led administration, even if he has already created hiccups with his wavering (as was clear before the elections when he said he wasn’t sure whom to vote for). We don’t care whether he voted against Mahama or not, but he is still considered as the Father and Founder of the NDC, even if somehow sidelined because of his own miscalculations.
He has more to gain by participating in President Mahama’s inauguration than by abstaining from it. He has no immediate justification to boycott it. He does so to distance himself all the more and lose out.
One may be wondering whether he will attend the ceremony with his wife, Nana Konadu, whose posture and public utterances have confirmed her as a bitter opponent of the NDC and all that it stands for. She has also been heard adding her voice to the NPP’s dissension.
So, it shouldn’t be difficult to guess that she won’t participate in the ceremony. Probably, it will be better for her not to. At this stage that she has flogged a dead horse and lost face, she has nothing more to look for. Her formation, funding, and monkeyshines for the National Democratic Party has ended up in smoke, leaving her bewildered and stupefied before the mountain of problems facing her in terms of her future viability in Ghanaian politics.
At this stage, she has been reduced to a tree stump standing in the river that fears no cold any more. She appears to have sharpened her fangs in readiness to pounce on any unfortunate political foe or prey that enters her lair. Such a person evokes dread, not awe, to be invited to participate in such a ceremony. But it could be a toss-up. Let’s tentatively agree that her own conscience will not allow her to participate in the ceremony. For want of any better reason, let’s just lump her together with the NPP folks and end matters there.
Here is the real snag, though: What about if both Rawlings and Kufuor decide to boycott the ceremony?
The next issue to consider is the fate of the newly elected NPP MPs. Will they also boycott the inaugural ceremony? I don’t know but can hazard a guess that they will be motivated by the herd mentality to toe the line that Akufo-Addo and his team have already drawn. But at what cost to them?
Their situation is quite dicey because the 5th Parliament of the 4th Republic will be “dissolved,” prorogued, or abrogated on that very day just before the inauguration of the President. Then, the 6th Parliament will be inaugurated into office. And here comes the conundrum:
Will these new NPP MPs allow themselves to be invested into office as Parliamentarians who duly won the Parliamentary elections at a time that their leaders are challenging the validity of the Presidential elections, which casts very serious doubts on the genuineness of the elections, generally? Which also rubs off on the results of the Parliamentary elections—even though the NPP leaders have toned down on this aspect in their intended legal battle?
If the suit turns out to include the Parliamentary elections too, then, the situation will turn really ugly, and it will not redound to the image, status, and fate of these newly elected NPP MPs. We assume that those of the majority NDC and the three independents will fully participate in everything that legitimizes the 6th legislative and executive arms of government and ushers them into office.
Thus, the NPP MPs-elect appear to be tied to the apron strings of Akufo-Addo and risk losing out, especially if they boycott their own swearing-in ceremony. Not participating means not being sworn into office as MPs. Our Constitution is silent on when again such people should be sworn into office.
Will that mean that they have automatically disqualified themselves from Parliament? A grave issue to ponder. Why will they want to tie their fate to that of Akufo-Addo when the NPP’s court case won’t involve the results of the Parliamentary elections—and being in the minority in Parliament too? Mere party loyalty?
On the other hand, if they choose to participate in their own instatement into office but refuse to take part in the ceremony to inaugurate President Mahama into office, they will be thickening the controversy, which will open to question the NPP legal team’s challenge of the election results because of technicalities. The Presidential elections have a reflection on the Parliamentary elections and vice versa, implying that no challenge of the general elections can be holistic without either side being covered.
Indeed, the NPP has embarked on a journey that it may not be fully prepared for. I wonder what we can learn from this movement to enrich our democracy. The situation lends itself to further monitoring.
Let me take this opportunity to wish a Merry X’mas and a happy, prosperous New Year to all those who continue to read my opinion pieces and offer alternative or dissenting ideas to enrich the discourse on our national life. As we prepare for the NPP’s case at the Supreme Court, we will continue to monitor the situation and throw in ideas to sustain the conversation. If for nothing at all, we must all be united in our common resolve to work for the betterment of our country.
That’s our bounden duty to ensure that we preserve the unity, tranquility, and stability of our country for posterity. We must not do otherwise. Our differences shouldn’t divide us but make us strong and focused enough to see national development from more than one angle and work for it, regardless of which political party exercises the citizen’s mandate. May your days be blessed. Thank you.
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