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Opinions of Monday, 9 September 2013

Columnist: Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Otchere-Darko typifies the lazy thinking going on in the NPP

Folks, it is not often that I react to utterances made by some elements in the NPP. For what they are to me, they don't really turn my crank to warrant my wasting my breath on them. One such element is Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the so-called Executive Director of the Danquah Institute.

All this while that he has been in the news, he hasn’t come across to me as a politician of merit or a lawyer of any special designation. He is a noise-maker who is basking in nothing but the faded glory of the Danquah-Busia tradition. I don't really see anything worthwhile coming from him but what he has put out today does turn my crank, and I want to react to it to confirm my poor opinion of him and those behind the scene pushing him to display so much inanity in national politics.

After making a mockery of himself by describing the Supreme Court judgement against his uncle (Akufo-Addo) as “corrupt” (or even after bad-mouthing the judges and challenging them to deal with him if they could), he is out in the news with something totally weird.

He says that the Supreme Court ruled 5:4 in favour of Akufo-Addo and that Justice Atuguba read the wrong judgement to confirm the legitimacy of President Mahama's victory at Election 2012.

In a six-page statement copied to Myjoyonline.com, Otchere-Darko suggested that what the Supreme Court did was "as if the Court’s main duty was to uphold the presidency of John Mahama rather than to uphold the Constitution of the Republic".

"My view, however, is that the decision, in both fact and law, is a 5:4 majority that John Mahama was not validly elected. This is because five justices, Julius Ansah, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin Yeboah, and Baffoe Bonnie, all held that the irregularities found were enough to affect the results and that there should be a second election, but in the affected areas.

Significantly, they were willing to uphold the law but without totally disenfranchising the voters affected."

Therefore, the Danquah Institute will on Monday, September 16, 2013, in partnership with other civil society groups hold a symposium at the British Council for jurists and other legal and statistics experts to critique the decision of the Supreme Court in the presidential election petition.

For purposes of emphasis and reiteration, I reproduce salient parts of Otchere Darko’s full statement, published by Myjoyonline.com and Ghanaweb.com:

• The court mistakenly read out a reversed judgment; • After a careful study of the 588 page-long ruling on the 2012 presidential election petition, five of the judges agreed with the petitioners' case as against four for the first respondent, John Dramani Mahama.

My comments

If this is not madness of a new kind in political thinking, then, I don't know what else qualifies as such.

We all heard the verdict read in an open court by Justice William Atuguba, president of the nine panel Supreme Court judges, which was: • Duplicate serial numbers of pink sheets: 9–0 [UNANIMOUSLY DISMISSED]; • Duplicate Polling Station Codes & Names: 9–0 [UNANIMOUSLY DISMISSED]’ • Unknown Polling Stations: 9–0 [UNANIMOUSLY DISMISSED]; • Voting without biometric verification: 5–4 [MAJORITY DISMISSED]; • Over voting: 5–4 [MAJORITY DISMISSED]; • Non-signing of Pink Sheets by POs 5–4 [MAJORITY DISMISSED]

Where, in this ruling is any confirmation that the verdict was 5:4 in Akufo-Addo’s favour for Otchere Darko to make this ugly noise about?

Only a demented person will go this way. I hesitate to blame him because he is only manifesting the morbid frustration that has gripped his political camp. But he is carrying that frustration to dizzying heights and will soon come face-to-face with the Fate that he has been tempting all this while.

And for him to suggest that the opinion of those NPP judges on the panel that the elections be re-run in the areas that they thought the so-called irregularities occurred is enough confirmation of his claim is not only bizarre, but is shoddy thinking.

Were the judges given pink sheets from all the 26,002 polling stations for them to see the big picture to be able to form any reliable opinion on what transpired as a way of record-keeping?

Or, how did the NPP judges determine that irregularities occurred at all and for which the elections should be re-run in those areas? How did they know which of the candidates the voters voted for or against to determine that a re-run be done?

Again, we have all read the judges' opinions and can tell outright why they unanimously dismissed most of the petitioners' allegations and defeated the rest by a majority decision. Thus, for Otchere Darko to cherry-pick areas that the NPP judges settled on to paint this picture clearly explains why he couldn't even pass his law qualifying exams but was pushed through by faceless characters at the Ghana Law School.

Let these NPP town-criers know that in their own petition, they didn't call for any re-run of the elections. It couldn't, therefore, be tenable for them to go that way as a stop-gap measure.

If they were wise enough to know that elections are won or lost on the basis of ballot basis, they would have asked for recounting of the ballots instead of settling on pink sheets.

That is why I find this part of Otchere Darko’s statement to be particularly ridiculous: “the Danquah Institute will on Monday, September 16, 2013, in partnership with other civil society groups hold a symposium at the British Council for jurists and other legal and statistics experts to critique the decision of the Supreme Court in the presidential election petition.”

Why should they waste time, energy, and resources to CRITIQUE the Supreme Court’s judgement instead of choosing the obvious and reasonable course of action to seek review? If they think that they stand on a strong legal foundation to overturn the Court’s judgement, why won’t they go for a review instead of seeking to critique it?

And by critiquing the Court’s judgement, what do they hope to achieve? That the critique will lead to a reversal of Akufo-Addo’s fate? How mentally and intellectually lazy can’t Otchere Darko and those supporting him be?

Thanks to Kwame Pianin’s wise crack, we know what mental and intellectual laziness can lead to, especially when any fool bears a party’s flag to the elections!

I don't want to be overly harsh but suffice it for me to say that Otchere Darko clearly demonstrates and confirms the lazy thinking going on in the NPP. And this kind of lazy thinking won’t win political power.

Let these idle hands assemble at the British Council Hall to waste their breath. If they are bold enough to fight the Supreme Court, why don't they go for a review? Do they know why Philip Addison, their lead counsel, has chosen silence as his weapon for reacting to the Supreme Court’s judgement? He knows better than they do!

Of course, no matter how long these NPP people sustain their Atuguba-loathing or condemnation of the Supreme Court’s verdict, nothing will change. What is written is written. All this noise-making is part of the grand exit strategy to save Akufo-Addo’s skin. Eventually the dust will settle to reveal to these noise makers how mindless they have been all along. Then, they will barely have time to prepare for Election 2016. Consequently, filing another election petition will be their lot!

I shall return...

E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com.