August 29 2014, will be exactly one year when the country’s apex court gave its infamous verdict on the 2012 election petition. I say infamous because no follower of the court proceedings during the eight-month hearing imagined the verdict the court pronounced.
In fact, the expectation was that given the revelation of the magnitude of irregularities and the concomitant dismal performance of the Chairman of our Electoral Commission who could not even define basic terms of his portfolio, Nana Akufo-Addo would be declared the winner of the elections.
But, alas, this expectation did not come to pass to the chagrin of not only Ghanaians but the whole world. The obvious “political” nature of the Supreme Court’s decision was underscored by the court’s directive that the Electoral Commission cleans the voters’ register to ensure free and fair elections in the future. On the face of it, this directive contradicted the ruling but it still stood!
While many people were disappointed in the so-called Atuguba verdict, upon hindsight, one realises the wisdom in the judgment as far as national stability was concerned.
Given the fact that a flaw in the Constitution had allowed Mahama to be sworn in as President in spite of the massive electoral fraud, these learned judges could perhaps not foresee a situation where such a violent party as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would agree to relinquish power once they had tasted it.
I agree that all this is now water under the bridge, as they say. While we cannot address the issue of the legitimacy of the presidency under Mahama now because it is moot, the issues raised during the petition hearing must be dealt with as a matter of extreme urgency not only by the NPP but by all Ghanaians, since they speak to the issue of the orderly evolution of our nascent democracy.
The magnanimity with which the New Patriotic Party (NPP) through Nana Akufo-Addo accepted the verdict amidst heightened political temperature could only be explained by the expectation that the irregularities exposed by the election petition hearing would be addressed before the next local and national elections.
The recent massive endorsement of new executives by the NPP delegates in Tamale was further manifestation of this expectation on the part of the party’s rank and file. The old executives had slept on the job as far as the electoral fraud was concerned so they elected people whom they believed could arrest that situation in the future.
The election of Kwabena Agyepong was based mainly on the man’s credentials as the party’s representative in the so-called “strong room” of the Electoral Commission over the years. The man has established a reputation as a number cruncher who can be trusted to ensure that the party is not cheated in the crucial 2014 and 2016 local and national elections respectively.
This is the background to what I prefer to call the New Mandate of the party. This mandate is dual in nature in that after much soul searching, the party has entrusted administrative power to a group that it believes can unify the party and also ensure that the electoral fraud that robbed it of power in 2012 is never again perpetuated.
It is within the context of the New Mandate that there is a growing disillusionment on the part of party members around the globe that instead of tackling the crucial issues of the voters’ register and party unity the party seems to be dancing in the opposite direction.
Until the call by Mr. Boakye Agyarko, a fellow of the Danquah Institute last week that the EC should stop the registration of new voters before they have heeded the Supreme Court’s directive, no sustained effort had been made by the party as a collective to draw attention to this case of apparent contempt of court by Afari-Gyan and his Mafia at the Commission.
The observation of possible contempt of court by Mr. Agyarko has found resonance with the public as evidenced by the chorus of calls on the EC to address this critical issue to ensure that our voters’ register is beyond reproach but still Mr. Agyarko’s effort remains a solo rather than a collective one.
The Honourable Kofi Jumah’s call on the NPP to boycott the 2016 elections should be understood within the context of Afari-Gyan and his EC’s diabolical plans to rig the elections yet again. Kofi Jumah is not childish as being claimed by some members of our own party and obviously our political adversaries.
He is making a lot of sense because the NPP is engaged in internal fights for power when what we ought to be doing now as a party is addressing this issue of electoral reforms to ensure that the NDC is unable to steal future elections.
Everybody knows that the NDC never wins elections in Ghana and the 2012 elections are no exception. The so-called biometric registration of NDC members, the planned registration of new voters by the EC in spite of the Supreme Court directive to clean the existing voters’ register all point to plans by the EC and NDC to rig the 2014 and 2016 local government and national elections.
Unless the internal power struggles are in themselves a plan by some people to deprive the party of power in 2016, one wonders why the newly elected executives would be so laid back about such an important issue as the voters’ register.
Afari-Gyan has proven that even though he is a political scientist he does not care a hoot about the objective development of our knowledge base with regard to voting behaviour and its prediction.
This apparent apathy with regard to calls and action for electoral reforms is not confined to the administrative apparatus of the party alone. The deafening silence of the party’s Legislative Caucus on the issue is shocking to say the least, since at the end of the day it will take the enactment of legislation to address the issue.
In fact, one cannot help but endorse the indictment of our MPs’ performance by critics like Professor Karikari and Dr. Arthur Kennedy in recent times. The admonition to our MPs to be more active equally applies to their contribution to the party as its legislative caucus.
The same thing goes for those who are aspiring to become the party’s flag bearer for the 2016 elections because so much time and money is being wasted on mudslinging each other that to my knowledge none of them has addressed the issue of electoral reforms in any systematic manner.
Nana Akufo-Addo is spending so much time explaining his relationship with former President Kufuor, while Alan Kyeremateng is equally spending time responding to allegations that his behaviour cost us the 2012 elections.
These are unnecessary distractions and one would have thought that the custodians of the New Mandate would address such divisive issues objectively to benefit the party as a collective, but so far nothing is happening and the party seems to be drifting apart.
I am one person who still struggles to understand that there are individuals and groups in the party who would rather wish the party lose elections than have a particular person as its leader. Such a view is a bit too far-fetched for me or maybe I am in denial because of my passion for the party.
But to the extent that there are factions in the party (not that factions are necessarily negative), let me make one thing clear. There is a faction of those of us whose only loyalty is to the party. We only worship the UP Tradition and not individuals whose hatred for each other is invisibly destroying this tradition.
We are less enamoured to any individual idiosyncrasies in the party that has the least tendency of minimising the impact of our tradition. We support whomsoever the rank and file of the party decide must lead the party at any point in time. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that Honorable Kofi Jumah belongs to this faction of party loyalists.
I came to know and appreciate Honorable Kofi Jumah when I worked briefly as the Deputy National Coordinator of the School Feeding Programme that was his remit. I wish every member of our great party could be as passionate as Kofi.
In fact, it is this passion for the party that at times drives the man to say or do things that appear to be “irrational” to those outside the tradition.
So, let’s not brush aside Kofi Jumah’s suggestion under the pretext that the man has a “childish brain”. I know he does not mean literally that the party should boycott the elections but rather that as a collective we should ensure that Afari-Gyan, in his final act, does not cause any more damage to our democracy.
Dr. Acheampong Yaw Amoateng is a Research Professor of Sociology at the North-West University in South Africa.