I have tried as much as possible to refrain from writing on the ongoing election petition before the Supreme Court of Ghana for various reasons. However, from my observation of how things are going, we have to pinch ourselves so that we can be cautious of the implications of this case, especially the aftermath.
I want to begin by lauding the decision by the Chief Justice to allow a live coverage of proceedings. This, in my view will give all Ghanaians the opportunity to monitor and understand how things are moving so that everyone can accept whatever judgement is given at the end of the case in good faith.
I want to note that the case before the Supreme Court is a very sensitive one that we have to manage well from the onset otherwise we will wake up one morning to bite our fingers in regret.
I have heard representatives of the two major political parties very confident that there is no way the verdict will go the way of their opponents. I have heard people in the communication team of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) say emphatically that there is no way any court will rule that a sitting President should step down for another to take over. I have also heard members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s communication team tell their supporters that their candidate will be sworn in as President before the end of the year.
Everyone knows that when two or more people are involved in a case, there will be only one winner. What this means is that, it is either the NPP or the NDC that will be the ultimate winner of the case in court, certainly not both!
The question to ask however is; how will the supporters of the party who will lose the case take the ruling? Will the supporters of the NPP just accept that they have lost and that the sitting President is the one duly elected contrary to what their leaders tell them and that’s it? Will the supporters of the NDC on the other hand also accept that they have lost and therefore the sitting President has to step down contrary to what their leaders tell them and that’s it?
As far as I’m concerned, these are the issues we have to start managing from now before it gets out of hand. Apart from an alleged prophesy by a prophet, I have heard people from both political parties who have spoken about coups. These comments or utterances only motivate actions of their supporters.
The people who have the biggest role in managing these issues are the media. Apart from their information role, the media also have to monitor and sift what they put in the public domain. I keep wondering why they cannot just stay away from the two General Secretaries of the two political parties, General Mosquito and Sir John. I have heard Lawyer Sam Okudzeto, Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) as well as Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) among others also cautioning the media to refrain from interviewing the two. What we have to understand is that, there is no way any of these two people will comment on what happens at the court without being biased. I don’t know why the public keeps blaming them. It is not as if they stand on rooftops to make their comments. It is the journalists who run to them to take their comments. The truth is that, what they say is not usually the true representation of what actually happens in the court room.
The communication team members of both parties who sit on radio and TV stations must also be cautious of the things they say as far as this case is concerned. If I understand what contempt of court really means, then most of them should have been charged by now. They have to leave judgement to the Justices.
If we want to avoid their partisanship, the media can interview the spokespersons of the legal teams of the two parties or better still, we have legal practitioners and law lecturers in the country who can give better explanations to the court proceedings since legal terminologies are often used. This will save us all the propaganda they often come to spit out.
The parties must tell their supporters that the verdict could go either way even as they are hopeful that it will go their way. They must also prepare their minds so as to accept the outcome of the case without any difficulty.
I expect the National Peace Council and Civil Society Groups to start speaking to the conscience of the supporters of the two parties. Pastors and Imams must also take it upon themselves to prepare the minds of their followers while we all wait to see how this historic case will end. The end, they say, justifies the means. This should not be a MUST WIN case for any of the parties involved. Ghana should be the only winner in the end.
I will conclude with a saying that “WHEN THE RICH MAKE WAR, IT IS THE POOR THAT DIE”. GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA.