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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

Musings of a worried voter!


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“I always say the truth is best even when we find it unpleasant. Any rat in a sewer can lie. It is how rats are. It is what makes them rats. But a human doesn’t run and hide in dark places, because he is something more. Lying is the most personal act of cowardice there is”—Nancy Farmer, The House of the Scorpion.

My late father has taught me many things for which I would be eternally grateful. One of such is the application of wisdom and patience in judging a dispute. He taught me that whenever I saw two people fighting or engaged in a confrontation; I shouldn’t ask of the immediate cause. I should rather ask of what happened “the other day” because there is always a remote cause.

Some people may not understand Osono’s distrust for the Electoral Commission (EC). Others may even say Osono’s posture towards the EC is anything but cordial. But the truth is that the attitude of the EC in court as exhibited through Chairman Afari-Gyan makes it very difficult for the largest opposition party to trust the Commission.

If you would recall, Afari-Gyan did insist, before the 2012 polls, that when ballots in the box exceeded ballots issued, even with one vote, the results of that polling station would be cancelled. But when he sat in the witness box, he semantically gave us a ‘classical’ definition of over-voting. He said the classical definition of over-voting is when ballots in the box exceeded the number of people in the register.

Even I, a poor boy from Salaga without any legal training, would not fall for such a bizarre definition. Indeed, the most rational definition of over-voting is ballots in the box exceeding ballots issued. Without a doubt, it is also the most contemporary definition.

Alas, some very learned justices of the Supreme Court shockingly swallowed Afari-Gyan’s bait. One of the judges was so hoodwinked with the classical definition that he semantically defined over-voting as ‘ballot-stuffing’. The net effect of Afari-Gyan’s ‘classical definition’ and the judge’s ‘ballot-stuffing’ semantics was that an incompetent man was invalidly validated as the validly elected president of this country.

Osono’s distrust for the EC is thus based on the latter’s biased attitude in court following the disputed 2012 electoral results. The apparent aggressive and hostile attitude of Osono towards the EC is because the party does not want to be bitten twice. As the Akan saying literally translates, “Once bitten by a snake, one gets the jitters even at the sight of a worm.”

The distrust is even heightened when the EC leaves no stone unturned in its bid to frustrate efforts being made to make the 2016 polls freer and fairer than before. I still do not understand why the EC is hell-bent in refusing to give signed collation sheets to the representatives of the parties. Is it because they have something to hide? One cannot help but smell a very stinking rat in the collation sheet matter.

It is therefore very gratifying to hear that the Supreme Court (SC) had ordered the EC to give signed collation sheets to all parties in the 2016 polls. The decision of the SC would definitely seal a loophole, thereby improving upon transparency.

As a voter and a patriot, I’m very elated. I’m elated because I want to see the right person on the presidential seat, irrespective of whether I vote for him or not. But I still have some worries and I would soon expatiate on them.

I’m worried because the EC still has some loopholes to exploit. The electoral list of Ghanaian voters in foreign countries is one such loophole. I just cannot forget how Afari-Gyan managed to provide only 919 names in court from a register of over 11,000. With cantankerous Charlotte Osei firmly in charge at the EC, I shudder to imagine the extent to which the loophole would be exploited.

I’m but only a small fish in the ocean. All I can do is to raise the awareness for the big fishes to takeover. It is my hope that the big fishes would act with due haste to avoid being bitten again by the venomous viper.

Indeed, the latest SC ruling has proven yet again that a liar is soon caught than a cripple. And that a lie may please; but it ultimately brings disgrace to the one who tells it.

See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!

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