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Opinions of Saturday, 22 December 2012

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.

What the Supreme Court will do to Akufo-Addo

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

As we wait for the NPP to head to the Supreme Court to seek redress over the just-ended polls, we remain baffled by many issues concerning this particular court case. We are not bothered by the NPP’s decision to go to court. After all, that’s their constitutional right.

What bothers us is the purpose the NPP seeks to achieve. In one breath, we are told that the party wants the Supreme Court to ascertain the genuineness and validity of the polls. Inferring from the confident posture and claims of incontrovertible evidence at the party’s disposal, we know that the leaders will urge the Supreme Court to annul the results.

Will that annulment affect the entire gamut of the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections nationwide and a new date set for new elections? Who will be out-of-the-mind to put Ghanaians through this torture, anyway?
Or will the Supreme Court simply rule that the evidence before it made the elections incredible and invalidate in only some constituencies and call for a re-run of the elections in only the identifiable constituencies where the NPP doubts the credibility of the polls and the results?
I don’t know whether that will affect both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections or just the Presidential one, which is the main source of grief to the NPP activists.
There is also the strong feeling—call it optimism—among the NPP activists that once the Supreme Court annuls or invalidates the results, it will declare Akufo-Addo as the winner instead of President Mahama. This aspect seems to be fascinating the NPP leaders and followers, hence, their conviction that Akufo-Addo will be installed in office.
I am yet to come to terms with such a position and won’t bother my head over it, although I can immediately dismiss it as the figment of those whose imagination is doing overtime.
One truth remains, though, that those NPP activists holding this opinion do not to know how the Court will handle the matter and are just indulging in dangerous speculation to tickle themselves. They are already fixated on victory and will definitely spin out of (self-)control again when they lose the case. Such is the lot of over-confident people who know not how to handle matters of this sort or how to position themselves in relationship to dicey issues.
Having expended energy combing for evidence, and having exhausted avenues except the legal one, they have no option but to go to court. As pressure mounts on them, they are fending off criticism, saying that “nobody can stampede them to go to court” and that they will do so when ready.
While some are saying that they will file their case within the stipulated 21-day period for it to begin being heard by January 20, 2013, others are vehemently opposed to any court action at all.
The overarching issue seems to be out of focus. Even though some have explained that all they are seeking is the decision of the court, which should help improve our democracy, it is not clear the relief that the NPP will seek. We know they will say with vigour and determination that the elections were rigged. But what will they want the court to do?
We note that the case will not start being heard many weeks after President Mahama would have been inaugurated into office. The 1992 Constitution approves the inauguration within the circumstance. How will the NPP’s expectation that their preferred choice (Akufo-Addo) rather be installed in office be met within that context?
Or, will they be waiting for President Mahama to be inaugurated into office only for him to be divested of the Presidency by the Supreme Court and Akufo-Addo instated instead?
What exactly do these NPP people think their court case will yield? One irrefutable fact is that it won’t lead to the removal of President Mahama from office to give way to Akufo-Addo. So, what do they hope to accomplish with it?
Or do they think that the court will order full-scale investigation into their allegations that the elections were rigged? To what end? So, we can turn round to debunk reports by the EC and foreign/local election monitors that the elections were fair, free, and transparent? For what purpose?
Or to say that there are loopholes in the electoral system to be plugged to avert any malpractices in future? Good. That will be a viable outcome. But does it have to take the Supreme Court to tell us to do so? Why can’t the EC itself do post-election appraisal of its functions to know what went wrong and why?
Should we not take prompt steps to strengthen the EC and equip it materially to perform its functions or do we have to allow these malcontents to continue undermining its integrity as has been the case even long before the elections were held?
Still, the real purpose of the NPP’s intended court case isn’t clear to me. Let me reiterate here that I still see some serious problems with it. There is nothing concrete to be accomplished from it. There seems to be too much adrenaline at work.
Are these NPP people saying that they are just interested in getting this case tried as a mere formality?
There is too much murkiness here, which tells me nothing substantial about what exactly the NPP’s suit will lead to or add to our efforts at smoothing the rough edges of our democracy.
Now that Akufo-Addo’s supporters have declared him the winner of the elections, will his ego be satisfied? Or will he still want the Supreme Court to confirm his supporters’ claim? What will become of him in the circumstance?
It seems the NPP is even not keen on seeing him installed in office; hence, the diffident claim that all they want is the Supreme Court’s verdict on their suit. If the suit will not lead to his being installed in office, what is its value?
As we wait for them to go to court, we will keep monitoring goings-on to see where exactly the NPP is moving itself.
The majority of those who rejected it at the polls know where they want to go under their preferred Presidential Candidate, John Dramani Mahama. Let the “Concert Party” run on because it has a large and eager audience in place.
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