The politics of the verdict

Feature Article of Sunday, 21 April 2013

Columnist: Asimenu-Forson, Kwaku

Before the case before the Supreme Court started proper, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, the first petitioner prayed to the Good Lord to grant the eminent Judges sufficient courage and a clear mind.( See ; http://elections.peacefmonline.com/politics/201304/161551.php) With his political and legal experience to inform him on the historical relationship between the Ghanaian Judiciary and the Executive, the first petitioner appear to be clearly aware that the judges will take into reckoning the political nature of the case, the impact of the ruling on the stability of the state and the guidance this grand petition will grant future electoral litigations at the highest level in Ghana. Nana knows that this case is not simply about Mathematics or the merits or demerits of the arguments. The political context ,the applicability of the ruling without a revolutionary disruption of the socio-political system all appear to be possible overbearing considerations thus the prayer for courage and a clear mind from the Supreme Being for the Supreme Court.
In this discussion, I will attempt to analyze the political propriety of the pleadings of the petitioners and present my view on what I think would be the politically appropriate ruling based on the evidence and information so far available to the public.
The pleadings
The Affidavit in proof of the petition sought the following reliefs:
a. That John Dramani Mahama the first respondent , was not validly elected president of the republic of Ghana .
b. That Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, the first petitioner , rather was validly elected president of the republic of Ghana.
c. Consequential orders as to this court may seem meet.

In the presentation of evidence and under cross-examination, Dr. Bawumia has sought to establish statutory and regulatory violations, malpractices and irregularities under: 1.Overvoting, 2.no biometric verification, 3.duplicated code numbers and 4.presiding officers not signing pink sheets.
False allegation?
First of all, it appears no attempt has so far been made to prove that these violations, malpractices and irregularities were deliberate and purposefully orchestrated by the first respondent (John Dramani Mahama) either alone or in connivance with or some of the membership of the first respondent ( Electoral Commission). This is curious judging from the fact that the General Secretary of the NPP had declared on Okay Fm. on 26th Feb. 2013 that Dr. Afari-Djan had connived with the NDC to cook figures placing Monsieur Mahama as the first gentleman of the land.( See; http://elections.peacefmonline.com/politics/201302/157224.php?pageNum_rsComments=1&totalRows_rsComments=39&storyid=100&)

If Bawumia succeeds

If Bawumia succeeds, first of all, Akuffo-Addo and the NPP should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. Secondly, it should then be possible to prove that Dr. Afari-Djan is the best con man Ghana has ever produced hence the need for sweeping electoral reforms. Before then, the Supreme Court is likely to make one of two key decisions.

Should Bawumia succeed in his pleadings the two likely outcomes are a declaration that Mr. Akuffo-Addo is rather the duly elected president in the 2012 presidential election of Ghana or nobody duly qualified per the 50% plus one vote requirement thus the need for a re-vote. I am for the latter and not for a re-vote because of what happened in Ukraine in the Orange revolution of 2004. When a November 2004 second round voting was challenged in the Ukrainian Supreme Court amidst street protests christened the Orange revolution, a revote was ordered. The re-vote was won by the opposition and as expected in a tit-for-tat culture, it was also challenged by the governing party. Though the governing party lost its legal challenge another street revolution (may be Pineapple Revolution) was nipped in the bud by the Prime Minister in his magnanimity otherwise Ukraine would have slipped into civil war. In the words of Yanukovych, leader of the governing party during the re-vote, ‘His victory was taken away and he decided to give it up to avoid bloodshed.’ Can any Ghanaian or African politician be this magnanimous? Can they say, for the sake of the country, I give up my victory? Or they will say if we will all die, so I get what is mine, then so be it. No Justice, no Peace.

The politics of the court proceedings so far
So far, Bawumia has performed wonderfully from a legal perspective. Lawyer Gloria Akuffo describes his output as cruising the petitioners on to victory. Sir John says the NDC is dazed. Fantastic Bawumia. But the respondents are doing everything to discredit the man including black propaganda. Animguase mfata Okanni Ba is an Akan saying literally meaning an Akan does not deserve disgrace. To the NDC, this is why Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, a former Attorney General and first petitioner is not in the dock himself because he knows the case will end in disgrace. To them, the case is a waste and as was done to the fathers of some northerners, Bawumia is being asked to carry the waste.The waste of the NPP. Dangerous politics and sectionalism. This North-South schism being deliberately nurtured for political expediency must be nipped in the bud. It is too dangerous especially judging from the number of violent conflicts recently reported in the country especially in the North. The north being closer to the Sahelian Margreb with a recent history of a violent religious crusade will be a fertile ground for national instability if fully pithed against the south on political ideological lines. Bawumia is the Banker with an eye for figures, the young man among the petitioners with a political future to build. It is only logical that the NPP should groom him if you like through political adversity; it will make his brand sell in a conservative party like the NPP in future. Thus from a sociological point of view, the pre-colonial Akan adage that animguase mfata Okanni ba should probably be modified to animguase mfata Ghanani ba.

Should Bawumia fail
If a Bawumia buckle under pressure during cross-examination or is found to be a discredited witness, propagandists will use this to attempt to paint the NPP leadership especially those from Eastern Region black (or blacker) in the eyes of northerners. The NPP ought to be aware and prepare a positive and effective response in advance.

The politically appropriate Verdict
Either president Mahama won or Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo won the elections. A re-vote will not be in the interest of the country. This is a political case, the supreme court cannot wish away the overbearing political nature of the case. They ought to consider same.

Kwaku Asimenu-Forson.

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