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Opinions of Sunday, 28 April 2013

Columnist: Awudulai, Issahaque

What is the rationale and motive in ....

.... joining john mahama in the 2012 election petition suit?

It is common knowledge to Ghana and the world at large that since December 9th when John Mahama was legitimately declared the true winner of the 2012 presidential elections in Ghana, His Excellency John Mahama has not been spared any breathing space by the desperate NPP FOLD. They have seized and used every available space and opportunity to castigate and denigrate the number-one gentleman of our homeland, Ghana. Is it this grand agenda of disorienting the President that has informed the rather infamous decision by the three power-brokers of the Party to seek non-existent reliefs at the Supreme Court? As an active participant in the last elections, I deem it opportune and imperative to contribute and comment on the conduct and outcome of the elections as regards the irregularities, violations and malpractices that are said to have characterized the elections.

Indeed, it would be highly mischievous to posit that just like previous elections conducted by the same Electoral Commission since 1992 that has twice pronounced victory for the NPP, there were no irregularities, violations and malpractices. For all the elections that have always produced a president and members of parliament for our dear country, there has always been a certain level of errors which for me is either tolerable or intolerable depending on the magnitude of the errors since elections basically deal with numbers and hence popularity and majority. This is the more reason why, am not in a position to question the legitimacy or otherwise of the decision by AKUFO ADDO, BAWUMIA and JAKE to keep the whole of the country in a breadth-taking moment by challenging the results of the 2012 elections in court.

As a lay person without the technical knowledge of the law profession, I would try as much as possible to avoid the temptation of swimming in unfamiliar waters as regards the legal rudiments of the case. However, as captured by the title of this article, am one of those people who throughout the proceedings of the landmark petition hearing has not found any basis upon which the NPP through the three leaders had to sue the President accusing him of conniving with the Electoral Commission to rig the elections in his favour and for that matter the NDC. It is common knowledge that, the Electoral Commission is mandated by law to conduct and supervise free, fair and transparent elections in Ghana according to the dictates of the laws of the country. Moreover, the state is enjoined by law to provide financial resources for the EC to carry out that mandate. As such, one would expect the aggrieved party/persons to level charges of irregularities, malpractices and violations against the Electoral Commission and not a fellow contender in the election. It is equally appalling that after having leveled allegations of connivance between john Mahama and the EC; all the evidence of the petitioners as given by Dr. Bawumia has been silent on how that connivance occurred.

As I alluded to earlier, we all as active partners in our electoral system are not oblivious of these irregularities upon which the petitioners have laid their case and thereby praying the Supreme Court to annul as much as over four million, five hundred thousand votes deemed to have been illegitimately cast and/or counted. As a way of exercising their constitutional right, the petitioners cannot be faulted. However, I deem it hypocritical that the petitioners would deliberately include the president in this suit knowing very well that they have no evidence to prove the direct or indirect involvement of the president in the process that produced him as the legitimately elected president of Ghana. I share very much in the issues being raised against the lackadaisical manner in which the electoral commission conducted the elections through its negligent and incompetent or mischievous officials across all polling centers in the country as regards non-signing of pink sheets by presiding officers, mismatching of figures and words, over-counting or undercounting of ballots and allowing voting to go on when biometric machines were not functional, etc. The electoral commission is culpable in all of these since the presiding officers and polling assistance were recruited by it and hence conducted and supervised the elections on behalf of the EC as temporal staff. However, the political parties including the NPP are equally culpable since they (parties) push forcefully for their incompetent sympathizers to be recruited by the EC for such important assignments just to serve their partisan interest during the elections. It is common to find all manner of party executives serving as election officials on elections day. Under such circumstances whose interest would they serve? Your guess is as good as mine. Am convinced that regardless of the outcome of this election petition currently before the supreme court, the electoral commission would be forced to sit up in as far as the conduct of subsequent elections is concerned. The EC would thoroughly screen and engage competent and committed hands to superintend over elections in the country. A step I believe if well-taken and adhered to would not present any opportunity for any individual or group of individuals to take the country and by far all Ghanaians to ransom. Clearly, there is no point denying the obvious fact that the petitioners are exploiting loop holes and gaps created by officials of the EC at polling stations and collation centers in furtherance of their constitutional right in seeking reliefs at the Supreme Court over the results of the 2012 elections.

Yes His Excellency John Mahama was a beneficiary of the December 9th election declaration that was done by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan. But that was because he, just like any other candidate in the election stood a fair and equal chance of winning. It is not by might or by any miracle or favourable consideration that John Mahama was deemed to have legitimately won the elections and declared as such. I therefore pose a question as to the rationale of the petitioners to have jointly sued the EC and the President when clearly there has not been any evidence to the effect that there was a well-calculated scheme to rig the elections. More worrying is the fact that senior and respected members of the NPP make and continue to make comments suggesting that John Mahama needs to be tormented and tortured mentally and psychologically to put him off balance in his strides to redeem the many good promises that the NDC made to the people of Ghana. In all honesty, I believe the Petitioners would have had a better case to pursue in court if they had not shifted and focused attention on John Mahama. The decision to go to court rather than resort to street violence and protests is quite commendable on the part of the petitioners, but before a befitting ruling is given on the matter, let the NPP give John Mahama the absolute and requisite peace of mind to deliver the BETTER GHANA to all Ghanaians. Just speaking my mind.

Issahaque Awudulai