The President, John Dramani Mahama, is playing a very dangerous game, and he should know it. He has the penchant for commenting on the ongoing Electoral Petition, pending before the Supreme Court.
Invariably, he leaves no Ghanaian in any doubt about his stance as the self-proclaimed winner of the vote, even though the authenticity of the election is under challenge.
The other day, he claimed he was ordained by God to be President of this country, even when he knew that his victory, proclaimed by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, was why nine supreme Court judges are sitting at the Chief Justice’s Court in Accra, to affirm or reject it.
On Wednesday, on the eve of the celebration of Eid ul Fitr, President John Mahama presented a number of assorted food items to the Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu, at Fadama in Accra, and veered off the main script. The Head of State crash-landed into the realm of the electoral dispute.
I heard the President loud and clear on good old television asserting that he won the election cleanly, and that the Supreme Court would affirm that with its verdict. He added that he did nothing wrong by getting himself elected Head of State of this Republic. As a Ghanaian being bombarded with messages for peace, I am seriously disturbed.
My problem with Mr. Mahama is that as a communications scholar, he knew, or should have known, at the time of making this declaration that the import of his statement was likely to impact negatively on the peace in this nation. It is clear that the consequences of the declaration, when things do not go the way he thinks at the Supreme Court could be dire. I am not one of those people who would gnash their teeth if the President loses.
I am also not going to take to the streets and jubilate in case the Supreme Court pronounced that the sitting President did win the elections. I am worried about the Fadama Declaration, because, as a communication person, I have the hunch that the pronouncement could be pre-judicial.
That aside, the circumstances surrounding the declaration could portent evil for this society, should things go horribly wrong for the President at the Supreme Court. When one comes bearing gifts, there is the tendency for the recipients to have soft spots for the presenter, even though the money that went into purchasing these particular food items, could have come from the leaking state treasury, and not the pocket of the presenter.
As Head of State, Mr. Mahama has every power to use the state treasury to present gifts, even though I did not hear the role of the state at the Fadama presentation ceremony. President Mahama was more visible at the event than the actual sponsors, which makes it look as though the Head of State has suddenly decided to become magnanimous with his personal fortune.
This country has been so polarised by the kind of negative politics on offer that it is very difficult to state cold facts without stepping on toes. Even then, I dare state that going to the Chief Imam’s residence bearing gifts and inviting the recipients to take note that the sitting President won the disputed election clean and square, is to invite Muslims throughout the country to be ready to defend the Presidential assertion, which makes someone like me, a very uncomfortable Ghanaian.
At a time when the whole nation is on alert, following over-zealous displays by the security apparatus flexing their muscles and exhibiting all manner of war arsenal at their disposal, the message out there appears to be that no one should dare mess up with the sitting President.
In terms of the actual challenge to the authority of the Supreme Court, the Presidential assertion puts the pronouncements by Mr. Ken Adjei Kuranchie and Stephen Atubiga, who had their normal sleeping places changed by the court, pale into insignificance
The Head of State has huge power to move people. That is why I am inclined to hold that President John Dramani Mahama could be more dignified than the belligerent mood with which the Head of State is waiting on the final verdict.
I am afraid the Fadama Declaration has the tendency of arousing the sentiments in over-zealous Muslims in society, who might see themselves as defending the position of their benefactor, when things do not go right for the President at the Supreme Court.
I take this opportunity to appeal to our Muslim brothers and sisters not to be sentimental about the Presidential pronouncement, as well as the gifts presented by the Head of State. I am told that the Quran encourages believers to make sacrifices in terms of donations during such periods, so that people in need could benefit from such benevolence.
It is a very unique means of encouraging give and take, which ensures that both the haves and have nots are able to be part of the grand celebration. Having made this observation, I would like to encourage our Muslim brothers and sisters to be conscious of the fact that the gifts have a whole nation written on it. In other words, the Presidential presentation should not be seen as symbolising the magnanimity of the sitting President.
It was done in the name of the Republic, which means that the petitioners, as well as the judges, have their handiwork written on the gifts presented by the President.
I will also encourage our Muslim colleagues to beware of the Greeks when they come bearing gifts. It could be a trap to leave their doors ajar to enable the enemy enter.
Having made all these observations, I believe it would be in the interest of President Mahama to learn from the dignified silence of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his two petitioners, who have remained absolutely silent on the possible outcome of the election petition.
Silence, they say is golden. I rest my case!