The concession of electoral defeat by the presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to the presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), and now President-Elect Atta-Mills, has been widely reported in the global media. And this is all well and good for the democratic development of our country, at least in theory.
What needs to also be highlighted is the apparent complicity, or at least tacit condoning, of the Electoral Commission (EC) in alleged electoral fraud verging on downright criminality. Inevitably, therefore, Nana Akufo-AddoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concession speech had to also impugn the integrity of Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, chairman of the EC, and his staff and associates. To this end, the former Ghanaian Justice and Foreign minister poignantly observed as follows: Ã¢â‚¬Å“By stating that there is criminal conduct in some constituencies of the Volta Region and yet announcing the results, the Electoral Commission has given the unfortunate impression that it does not matter how votes are being obtained[,] as long as they are duly recordedÃ¢â‚¬Â (Ghana News Agency 1/3/09).
If, indeed, justiciable criminality had occurred in the Volta Region to an extent that had a palpable impact on the outcome of the Election 2008 presidential run-off, as Nana Akufo-Addo claims Dr. Afari-Gyan, himself, had publicly acknowledged before a wide audience of Ghanaian citizens, then it goes without saying that the lawsuit launched by the Akufo-Addo campaign, immediately prior to the Electoral CommissionerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s announcement of the winner of the 2008 presidential election, ought to have promptly and effectively put such announcement on hold, while matters were satisfactorily resolved by the parties involved.
In the interim, as we noted not quite awhile ago, our sitting president, John Agyekum-Kufuor, would then have had to call an emergency session of the old parliament, which just concluded its 4-year terminal session, to deliberate on allowing the President to run a transitional government while outstanding electoral differences were constructively and ethically ironed out. Such a transitional government would have been mandated to last from anywhere between 6 months and a year, by which time the country would have been effectively restored to normalcy.
As matters stand, it appears as if the movers and shakers of GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fledgling democratic dispensation are setting an unhealthy electoral precedence of making a norm out of a patent travesty. And, needless to say, such apparently expedient precedent may well come back to haunt GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s democratic process in the near future.
Having observed the preceding does not, in any way, negate the stark and incontrovertible fact that as a government in power, the New Patriotic Party ought to have anticipated and promptly and effectively forestalled, or remedied, the flagrant instances of electoral malpractice, as adumbrated by the 2008 NPP presidential contender. The latter party had, at least, Election 2004 as ample guide against such electoral malpractices as are now being grieved.
Nana Akufo-Addo, in conceding defeat to Prof. Atta-Mills, also reported about widespread incidents of violence engaged by supporters and sympathizers of the NDC against the latterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s losing counterparts. We hope that members of the Rawlings-Mills Corporation (RMC) amply recognize the practical reality of GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Fourth-Republican democratic dispensation and discipline themselves accordingly.
The good news is that cooler heads appear to have prevailed on both sides of the political divide to ensure that our integrity as a sovereign nation would be preserved, even as legal redress is promptly sought to defuse potential minefields of grievous national discord and threat to our existence and stability as a civilized polity.
The bad news, however, is that in going ahead with its declaration of the apparent winner of Election 2008 presidential run-off, even while Dr. K. Afari-Gyan was fully in the known about serious acts of criminality having been committed in the Volta Region, introduces what may aptly, albeit eerily, be termed as the YarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Adua Effect (YA-Effect) into Ghanaian politics. Whether such electoral anomaly does stand us in good stead, vis-ÃƒÂ -vis future polls, remains to be seen.
For now, it is quite in order to congratulate President-Elect John Evans Atta-Mills for a battle studiously, tactically and patiently waged. We wish him all the good will that he would, definitely, need to advance Ghana further, both in terms of economic and cultural development, as well as our image as a respectable democratic polity among the comity of nations.
Credit: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ghanaian Politics TodayÃ¢â‚¬Â (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected]