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Opinions of Thursday, 17 September 2015

Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

Mutiny on the NDC battleship

Electoral malpractice is a huge problem that takes the shine out of democracy. Even well established democracies like United States are not immune to this problem.

The only consolation is that democracy in our part of the world is still work in progress; therefore, it can be tweaked as we go along. The recent press conference held by Dr Bawumia regarding the national electoral register containing a lot of Togolese nationals has made a lot of waves, which the froth seems to rest comfortably on the shores of the country from Axim to Keta.

I have been waiting for the high tide to wash it away for the best part of a month, but the underlying problems still lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. My main worry is the mutation of the scandal being engineered in the NDC political laboratories into a sinister political animal.

It is very sad that there are some NDC political hacks who are transforming this shameful debacle in our border towns through the kaleidoscope of tribalism into a political capital for their party – also known as the party of incompetence. It is despicable.

All the parties, bar none, accept the fact that the electoral register is bloated one way or the other. The question is the degree to which it has been compromised, and perhaps which party the current status quo turns to favour in the next general election. It is obvious that NPP has been in the forefront hollering for a while now about the need for a new register, which has always been brushed off with contempt.

Luckily for them, it received a new boost after Dr Bawumia’s press conference that put a bit of teeth to their claim. Yet, people who should know better are showering his efforts with sarcasm and levity, although I don’t mind those coming from the camp of the NDC. Personally, I have not been totally convinced, because all the parties have been crying wolf since 1992.

However, it is the side show to the whole saga regarding the disgruntled NDC foot soldiers who allegedly stormed the offices of the Daily Guide to spill the beans of their nefarious activities in the Volta Region that changed my mind, and opened a new vista over the horizon. I must say, I would have dismissed the request if not because of the mutineers.

We have chosen a winner takes all form of democracy, which leaves the losers in the withering tropical heat. This makes the contestant not to even contemplate losing as an option, because you will not become even an economy class passenger, but you will be left in the middle of the road. Since 1992, there has never been an election that the loser has not accused the winner of electoral malpractice. It is like a mudslinging match between the two main parties. This is the nature of our politics, and anything that will remove doubt as to the legitimacy of a winner in any future contest is a point in the right direction.

I am basing my comments on the integrity of the Daily Guide report, which claimed that the disgruntled NDC foot soldiers shopped their party; because they believe their mother party i.e. their partner in crime, has been short changing them over the years. In that regard, I honestly believe the Voltarians have themselves to blame. The party machinery of the ruling government have realised that they can have their votes for nothing. They promise them the sun, and even the moon becomes a subject of the magician’s sleight of hand. They know that whether rain or shine Volta Region will always be in their bag. In a democracy that we expect the government to do everything what are they expecting when they know that their votes can be purchased with empty promises.

It is common sense when studying for exams to devote more time to subjects that are difficult to scale. It is a normal practice in our everyday lives, if you genuinely want to succeed, to allocate more energy to areas in your life that turns to give you much difficulty. Politics is no different. Politicians mostly campaign in constituencies that the odds against them is greater though that is not always the case. This strategic campaigning is not limited to only Ghana; it happens in advanced democracies. During the 30s, in America, under FDR his socialist policies were mainly directed to States that FDR was having difficulty at the ballot box. The Southern States that were solidly in his camp were neglected – mainly poor farmers. This is an obvious reason why voters should not allow politicians to take their votes for granted.

Many people have been advancing multiple reasons why a new register is not needed. Frankly, most of them are childish and ridiculous. The first one is that the register has always been bloated since the inception of the Fourth Republic; therefore, nothing can be done to improve it. The most ridiculous one is the comparison to other countries. I have to be honest, I wasn’t keen before and the most serious sticking point against a new register, as far as I am concerned, is the cost. However, I had to change my mind since Dr Bawumia provided his evidence, because that cost cannot be compared to the almost nine months of national life lost due the problem of electoral malpractice during the last election.

Besides, it will not be out of the realms of possibility that there are Togolese who don’t have the interest of Ghana at heart, and wouldn’t mind to destabilise the country. The fact is some of them genuinely believe that Ghanaians have a hand in the overthrow of Sylvanus Epiphanio Olympio. And it is not farfetched, because we still blame the CIA for the overthrow of Nkrumah. The dual citizenship which is being used as a cover is the one that will not stand a minute of rigorous scrutiny. People can exercise their dual citizenship if they carry the passport of the two countries involved. The question is do those Togolese who come to vote in Ghana have both Ghanaian and Togolese passports? This is the question that those who are having field day at the expense of NPP should ponder over.

Kwesi Pratt’s wisecrack that there are Ghanaians who have their bedrooms in Ghana and take their bath in Togo is nothing short of comic relief. I personally think he does not have the interest of the nation at heart. He would have done better if he had called into memory what happened after the last election. The argument that electoral malpractices happens everywhere is not a refined thinking; it is akin to saying that because they are stealing we should also steal. I don’t think it is the best way to build a nation. Currently, I strongly believe that a new register is something that is worth investing into to avoid any future diminution of the credibility of our elections.

Some are querying why the police have not gone after the NDC mutineers who acted in clear breach of our electoral laws. I find it very funny, because unless Mahama decides to put them away without trial it will be nothing short of confessing a murder. That is why they have not been arrested, and it is the best option to the ruling government to allow sleeping dogs to have their peace – they will just be opening the Pandora box. In addition, they have to know that the police are not independent; they are subject to the whim of their paymaster.

The bottom line to the actions of the NDC mutineers is the fact that they have been shut out. And to extrapolate further, it becomes inconceivable to think that of all the massive loot and share that is going on if they cannot extend a very handsome handshake for these people to keep their peace then the NDC echelon are a very selfish bunch of people. I have always been arguing that the ruling party is incompetent and radiate corrupt. I and those who see things through my looking glass have attracted a lot of flak for our trouble. The brouhaha surrounding the revelation is all about the fact that these people are not satisfied. They thought NDC could do a better job of managing the country, and perhaps have a bit of icing on the cake coming their way. The government have failed on the economy, and according to our brothers in the Volta Region the icing did not also materialise. I am, therefore, convinced that even if the Voltarians have lost confidence, and are so dissatisfied to the extent of spilling the beans without thinking about the legal implication to their own mortal existence, then even with the bloated register Ghanaians can still kick these nation wreckers out.


Philip Kobina Baidoo Jnr
London
baidoo_philip@yahoo.co.uk

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