Feature Article of Sunday, 23 December 2012

Columnist: Manya, Estorme

Ghanaians, Your Patience Is Enviable, Keep It Up!

I have in recent years been observing a very unique situation in Ghana. Dear reader, if you and I can allow our minds to recollect in truth, can we agree that election 2008 was particularly VERY TENSE to say the least? Many of us witnessed and or heard as an already tense situation became even more slippery when no clear winner emerged in round one of election 2008, hence requiring a second and even a third round of elections before any credible results emerged. In the meantime, the very people that these “greedy” politicians had placed in that vulnerable situation, and subjected to vile propaganda, intimidating tactics, were the same people they expected to go back out to the polls to vote for them. So many treacherous events occurred during election 2008, but I do not wish to enumerate them here. However, I will note that those events attempted to create and elevate fear in the electorate and citizens at large. Yet Ghanaians stood firm! Ghanaians “encouraged themselves in the Lord”! Ghanaians prayed “without ceasing”! Ghanaians pledged NOT to accept any political machination that would plunge their “oasis of peace” into chaos. Undeterred and “patient in tribulation”, Ghanaians yet again cued in LONG lines, in the hot West African sun and went to the run-off polls to “ballot” their will to determine their governance. They did it like the champions of democracy that they had become! They did it for the freedoms they enjoy and wanted to keep enjoying! Many manipulating and Machiavellian tactics were staged to try and intimidate their will going into the run-off. The most remarkable one of all was an attempt to subvert the will of the populace by NO OTHER than NPPers in consultation THE EMINENT Chief Justice Wood. They attempted to convene a court of law on a public holiday, seeking to enjoin the EC from declaring results! IMAGINE THAT!

Thank God those “NATION-WRECKERS” were estopped by no other than the GREAT champion of democracy, Justice Asante! They tried for 3 days to stop an authoritative Electoral body from performing its constitutionally mandated duties, just as the NPP tried to do with election 2012 without success. Within those 3 days following the round-off elections of 2008, tension mounted! The people thronged the EC office en-mass in a show of solidarity, to demand their will NOT be subverted! Law enforcement, including the military had lined up, whether to maintain breach of order or intimidate, only God knew. Yet, my PATIENT Ghanaians peacefully assembled only to demand and hear the official results by the EC. They did not move! They did not bow, and in end, they WON and preserved their will, as EC declared the late Professor John Evans Attah Mills as the right winner of election 2008! Ghanaians showed Africa and the world over that strategically exercising of their UNIQUELY GHANAIAN PATIENCE, is one sure way to effectively achieve the greater good!

Let’s fast forward to election 2012. Whereas similar political machinations existed, this election was very different in my opinion, and tested the Ghanaian “PATIENCE genes” in a different way. It has become very clear that the Ghanaian people love to determine their future through the ballot boxes, after a tumultuous history of military coups and governance. Hence, they started cueing from 10pm on the eve of the December 7th elections in some cases. By the time the elections were on the way around 7:30am, an exigent situation developed. Many polling stations, particularly those in the greater Accra region with some of the highest populations in the country, were in near disarray; complaints about polling stations not opening on time; polling agents missing; electoral supplies not having arrived. In other parts of the country, where the elections had started, there were mechanical and other problems with the biometric equipments. One could sense frustration mounting up as the hot December sun climatically rose to its peak and cues grew larger, and people grew hungry, thirty, and tired. In many places, particularly in Africa, such set of circumstances would have pushed the entire electoral process into chaos and or confusion. YET, Ghanaians only activated their “PATIENCE GENES” into “HIGH and SUPERNATURAL” gear and endured; some happily, some murmuring, and some even insulting officials, the process, and law enforcement at large. But is that not the Ghanaian way too? I never said Ghanaians were perfect, dear reader, I am only saying they are “Angels” of African election and democracy!

Some voters had to be turned away because even thou they had valid IDs and were on the voter register, the biometric machines could not verify their thumb prints. They left quietly and PATIENTLY, knowing that giving up their votes for the greater good would go light years towards deepening the stable democracy that Ghana enjoys. The biometric verification was one way to decrease flagrant fraud in the system starting with election 2012. This way of voting may be one innovative way to ensure that the true will of people emerges, minimizing fraud in elections going forward. Some voters had to be turned away because of the technical problems enumerated above and told to return the next day to vote. My Ghanaian people were not deterred! NO WAY! They cued again at dawn the following day excitedly! Despite all of the above, election 2012 was incredibly peaceful, albeit not without glitches. It was hailed a GREAT SUCCESS by national and international observers. The Ghanaian people dutifully fufilled their end of the “Kumasi Declaration” to the letter. Can we say that of their politician counterparts who are vying for their mandate to rule, have duly lived up that declaration as well?

So, why is it that after all that the people had invested and contributed to make election 2012 the MOST peaceful, free, fair and transparent election ever in Ghana’s 4th Republic administration, they cannot be allowed to go on with their lives without this SHAM of a protest that NPP is staging about some SHAM electoral fraud? WHY the violence, intimidation, and ongoing Machiavellian tactics being meted on the populace in the days following that peaceful election? Dear readers, you be the judge!

My Ghanaian people give GLORY to GOD for all that he has done for Ghana!

My Ghanaian people, YOU ARE WINNERS! Continue forward as a shining example of Africa’s deepening democracy!

My Ghanaian people let Hebrew 6:12 see you through these trying times you are being FORCED to go through, and those that may well lie ahead. “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through FAITH and PATIENCE inherit the promises”. Amen

Etsorme, Manya, December 2012.