Posted: Saturday 7th June 2014 at 20:31 pm

Afari Gyan’s Send-Off Gift

It is not easy for any individual or group of individuals to maintain their composure in life when there is an accusation of wrongdoing against the public to produce a particular outcome.

When that individual or group of individuals still find themselves in those positions where their actions and inactions have caused serious public anger, they would want a repeat of their actions, and even when they are no more in charge, they would still want a worst case scenario to make a case that after all they did no wrong.

Everybody knows that Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, will be on his way out, barring any ‘contract’ from the tottering Mahama government. Since 1992, the performance of the Electoral Commission has been everything but appreciable. It is the tolerance, patience and sometimes docility of the Ghanaian that has kept this nation one, and not the transparency in operations of the EC from day one to the hour of declaration of the winner in any elections. Some of the hidden operations of the Electoral Commission in favour of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) since 1992 became very open during the Electoral Petition in 2013.

Even in 2012, when there was hope that the elections were going to be the freest and fairest under the Fourth Republic, EC officials manipulated the system in favour of the NDC.

Yes, the NDC began the process, and surely with the connivance of the EC – by driving away Teachers from the process and replacing them with NDC trained agents as Presiding Officers throughout the country. Staff of the EC deliberately manipulated the biometric voters’ devices to become dysfunctional in many of the strongholds of the NPP, while people voted without biometric verification in the strongholds of the NDC.

And Afari-Gyan accepted that with his warped argument that if a chief who is known in the polling station cannot be verified by the machine, he could be allowed to vote.

Afari-Gyan forgot that in some polling stations, the most popular person would be the taxi driver, the only driver who serves the transport needs of the community; he or she could also be the fishmonger or the akpeteshie seller. In fact, in his case as a very notable chain smoker, the most popular person in his polling station would be the cigarette seller. Afari-Gyan says all these people can vote without biometric verification and the Supreme Court accepted it.

It will be recalled that the EC in response to the petitioners’ claim that some people voted without verification said, “No voters were allowed to vote without verification at any polling station. …The particulars provided by the petitioners did not cover the 11,916 polling stations mentioned in their second Amended Petition. The findings of the examination and analysis carried out by the EC showed that there was not a single instance where the total votes on the register exceeded the number of voters on the register of the polling station…. The petition is without merit.”

During the petition, Afari-Gyan admitted some of the issues raised in open court, including the chief’s example.

Yes, he is retiring this year, but would want to put in place processes that will ensure easy rigging by the NDC with the active connivance of the EC so that in his retirement, he would claim exoneration from the accusations against him.

The EC has decided to open the register for the ‘limited’ registration at a time when the NDC is also embarking on registration of its members and issuing the minors among them with free NHIS cards. Remember that the NHIS card is the most important identification for one to prove that he or she is 18 years or above to qualify to be registered by the EC.

Sadly, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) does not seem to be worried about the subtle move by the EC to once again hand over power to the NDC. Instead of using time and our energies to pressurize the EC to clean the register before additional names are put on it, we are wasting our energies insulting potential flagbearers in the upcoming primaries. Some overly sycophantic youth, who see this period as cocoa season to extort monies from potential candidates are falling over themselves in the most bizarre show of who is who in disrespecting the elders in their party.

Electing a preferred candidate to lead the party in the 2016 general elections will not in itself ensure victory for the party, when the rigging machinery is being updated at our blind side. These lackeys of the various presidential aspirants should employ their syndicalism on the EC to ensure the right things are done instead of engaging in super patriotic allegiance to individuals rather than the party.

A few weeks before the beginning of the petition, the NDC had bought advertising pages in the AfricaWatch magazine to publish the reports of the ‘Observers’ of the elections to justify the outcome of the elections (February 2013 issue). I am very sure that the one day observation of the elections by foreign observers is not enough to jump to the conclusion that an election was free and fair. From the Supreme Court, it came out that a lot of irregularities went on before the voting day. It became evident that the collation figures at some Collation Centres were not those transmitted to the EC strong rooms because the EC had printed more than twice the Collation Forms and distributed some of them to NDC agents which were filled with different figures and transmitted to the EC strong rooms.

It also became very obvious that the Electoral Register was full of ghost names, particularly those registered outside the jurisdiction of Ghana. The Supreme Court had ordered the EC to embark on electoral reforms before the 2016 general elections. Almost 30 months to the next elections and 10 months after the petition, the EC has done nothing to clean the electoral register. Instead, it is ready to add more names to the register by opening the way for new entrants unto the bloated register. This is the time for the Foreign Observers to get the EC to do what is right long before December 2016.

But more importantly, the NPP and other minority political parties should insist on a better and more reliable register than what is prevailing now – that is where the energies of the youth are much more needed and not this madness of sycophancy as being exhibited now. Another area the NPP needs to take a critical look at is the adherence to the Political Parties Registration Law. The EC has over the years allowed so many mushroom political parties which do not meet the requirements of the law, to participate in our elections for the obvious reason of aiding rigging for the NDC. The NPP needs to open its eyes widely this time around.

As for Afari-Gyan, I leave him with Nana Ampadu’s song released in the 1970s. Nana Ampadu tells us that a man committed murder in his community and was arrested and sent to court for prosecution. The man was such a strong character he managed to employ the services of one of the best lawyers he could lay hands on. The lawyer was so good that he used technicalities and his skills to get the accused acquitted and discharged. The accused, having regained his freedom, went to buy an expensive kente cloth, a fat cow, some of the best drinks befitting the status of the lawyer, to say ‘thank you’ to him (lawyer).

However, when he got to the house of the lawyer, he (the lawyer) declined any of the gifts. He rather told his client ‘every sin one commits, he or she will certainly suffer the consequences of the action. As a lawyer, I only used the law to free you, but go and settle your crime with your God’.

Afari-Gyan was left off the hook by the court not because he was right, but he has to deal with his Maker for the rest of his life. As for me, some two tots of mahogany bitters are okay for me.

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