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Opinions of Monday, 10 June 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

The Arrogance of Johnson Asiedu-Nketia


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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

When it was his turn to mount the witness-box in the ongoing Election 2012 presidential petition hearings launched by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the general-secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, had the temerity to lecture the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel of jurists hearing the case that when he pontifically asserted that no biometrically unverifiable prospective voter would be permitted to cast his/her ballot in Election 2012, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan did not half-know what he was talking about (See "Petitioners' Case Still Rock-Solid - Kweku Baako" JoyOnline.com/Ghanaweb.com 6/1/13).

The reason given by the NDC scribe for questioning the professional integrity of the Electoral Commissioner, is that in making his statement at a pre-election press conference, Dr. Afari-Gyan had rather unwisely presumed to legislate on how Election 2012 had to be conducted. Now, this is a very tough choice of words; but even as Mr. Kweku Baako, editor-publisher of the New Crusading Guide, promptly pointed out, Dr. Afari-Gyan was merely underscoring a set of laid-down rules already approved by Ghana's National Assembly, or Parliament, for the general conduct of Election 2012. And that set of electoral rules, of course, is Constitutional Instrument 75 (or CI-75).

And so, really, at best, the man nicknamed "General Mosquito" had grossly spoken out of order; and at the worst, he had characteristically put his foot in his mouth. But what we are most interested in at this juncture in the petition hearings, is Mr. Asiedu-Nketia's quite significant argument that had Election 2012 not been fair in conduct, polling agents representing the New Patriotic Party would have raised a hue and a cry, as it were.

The fact of the matter is that nearly one-hundred polling-station presiding officers are reported not to have appended their signatures and/or seals of approval to the "almighty" pink sheets. Significantly, also, at a post-election conference in the Volta regional capital of Ho early this year, the Electoral Commissioner readily confirmed the fact that, indeed, some polling-station officials had either flatly refused or simply failed to personally certify the validity of polling results by not appending their signatures to the pink sheets.

Indeed, Dr. Afari-Gyan had also been quick to point out that polling-station presiding officers were constitutionally empowered to obey their conscience, for whatever motivational reasons. In sum, it is not wholly accurate for Mr. Asiedu-Nketia to so cavalierly and cynically claim that none of the polling-station officials, especially those of NPP ideological persuasion, had not registered any protest, whatsoever, regarding the way and manner in which polling was conducted in their particular polling stations.

But even assuming that, indeed, polling agents representing the NPP had not vehemently protested polling conduct at the 26,000 or so polling stations dotted across the country, as Mr. Baako aptly pointed out, there is no gainsaying the fact that such apparent lack of spontaneous protests does not in any way detract from the validity of the Akufo-Addo/NPP petition.

Indeed, knowing what avid students of Ghanaian democracy, like this writer, know about the violent brutality that was liberally visited on many an NPP polling agent by NDC goons and hirelings in the heat of Election 2008, ought to have given Mr. Asiedu-Nketia a heads-up on the fact that the relatively more staid and placid NPP polling agents were highly unlikely to induce any physically unsavory situation as a pretext of having rabid NDC human rotweilers, or bull-dogs, sicced on them.

In fine, the best thing for the NPP polling agents to do about the entire messy electoral process was what they did - which was to quietly and peacefully leave the various polling stations around the country, and then confer with their leaders on the most peaceful means of vigorously confronting the fraudulent collaborative team that were Messrs. Afari-Gyan and Dramani Mahama and the ruling National Democratic Congress, of course!

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
June 2, 2013
E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net
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