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Opinions of Friday, 6 July 2018

Columnist: Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

Scary times for Ghana’s democracy

When the Electoral Commissioner and her two deputies are removed in opaque circumstances as a result of obvious political machinations. For how else can we explain the President's inappropriate special interest in the matter when he invited the shadowy petitioners back to the Jubilee House to sign their originally unsigned petition? The Constitution of Ghana does not require the President acting as a conveyor belt to show such inglorious keen interest where he virtually becomes a petitioner himself.

Interestingly, we are also told per her removal letter that Mrs. Charlotte Osei was removed for "stated misbehaviour and incompetence" and yet the results she declared for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary election were so competently done that they must be taken as very credible and allowed to stand;

When two of the judges who presided over the EC petition were promoted to the Supreme Court by the President during the proceedings;

When an internationally acclaimed investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas who has hitherto been widely celebrated home and abroad suddenly comes under the most blatant Government sponsored attack, character assassination, threats to life and vilification, all with full prominent coverage by the State-owned media under a dubious "who watches the watchman" campaign simply because the powers that be are uncomfortable with his latest exposé;

When the Speaker of Parliament prevents and gags MPs from making statements in Parliament because he says they first spoke to the media on the matter in issue when there is absolutely no provision in the Standing Orders or the Constitution to support this cancerous and undemocratic ruling. Meanwhile, the Speaker doesn't appear to care that the lives of hundreds of Ghanaian irregular migrants and that of thousands of fellow Africans are at stake even as the European Union holds emergency summits to find a solution to the crisis in the face of Africa’s abdication. Where is our conscience and our fellow feeling?

When the Voter ID which was used to elect President Akufo-Addo and current MPs, strangely, in a bizarre twist now lacks credibility for obtaining a Ghana Card;

When we fail to realize that incrementally but surely we are setting very dangerous precedents that will come to haunt all of us and ultimately destroy our nascent democracy;

When in the final analysis we leave the people with no other option but to channel their indignation albeit through democratic channels of defiance to end the tyranny and flagrant abuse of power by a few self-seeking elites as history teaches us from Ghana to America to Russia to Iran to Tunisia to Egypt. Then and only then shall it really dawn on those who wield power today that the power does not belong to them for they only hold it in trust on behalf of the people and that injustice and tyranny are always defeated at once by the real owners of power - the people, anytime they rise.

Hopefully, the international community including all Embassies in Accra will be minded to caution this Government, given the precarious circumstances, before the people explode.

While praying for the gentle soul of His Excellency Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur to find a well deserved peaceful eternal rest in the Lord’s bosom, may this Republic Day holiday offer an opportunity for the leaders of this country to reflect and thereafter change course from myopic reckless partisanship unto an inspiring genuine democratic path of nation-building.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP)

Ranking Member, Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.