Five presidential candidates in the 2012 elections have proposed a meeting between President John Dramani Mahama and the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, before the Supreme Court delivers its judgement on the election petition on August 29, 2013.
Such a meeting, they said, was for the two leaders to give their word on their readiness to accept the verdict.
The meeting, they argued, should serve as a platform for the two leaders to entreat their supporters to remain calm and respect the outcome of the petition.
The proposal was made when the five candidates called on both President Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo at their respective residences at Cantonments and Nima to seek their commitment to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court.
The candidates were Dr Abu Sakara of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mr Hassan Ayariga of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Akwasi Addai (Odike) of United Front Party (UFP), Dr Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and Mr Joseph Osei Yeboah, the independent candidate.
President Mahama expressed optimism that Ghana would come out unscathed after August 29, 2013.
He said Ghanaians had come a long way in their democratic journey since 1992 to allow the judgement on the petition to disturb the peace in the country, as predicted by doomsayers.
“There have been all kinds of predictions about what will happen in the aftermath of the verdict. I am an unrepentant optimist and I don’t believe the doomsayers are right. I believe that Ghanaians have too much at stake in the destiny of our country to destroy it at this time.
“I believe that this country’s democracy has come so far and it will survive this Supreme Court verdict. I have no doubt about that,” he said.
Although he did not believe that there would be any major disturbance, President Mahama said he had asked the security services to prepare a contingency plan to deal with any eventuality.
“But I do believe that Ghanaians, as a people, know where they have come from. We have embarked on this journey since 1992; we have the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, and all of us went to the referendum in 1992 and adopted that Constitution. Once we did that, I believe we are going to be guided by the Constitution,” he said.
“A matter has been sent to the Judiciary and that Judiciary is going to give the verdict one way or another. If they give that verdict, since we have all agreed to abide by the Constitution, we must necessarily abide by any verdict that is going to be given by the Supreme Court,” he added.
Briefing the media after a closed-door meeting with the candidates, the Director of Communications of the NPP, Nana Akomea, said since the party did not resort to illegitimate means to challenge the 2012 presidential election results, ‘our actions have demonstrated the commitment of the party to the peace and stability of Ghana’.
‘Whatever the outcome of the verdict will be, the leadership of the NPP will accept it. We believe the country’s future development is worth the ambitions and aspirations of any political party, including the NPP,’ he said.
Nana Akomea said although the NPP expected the verdict to go in its favour, ‘Nana Akufo-Addo has pledged to respect the decision of the Supreme Court’.
Touching on the meeting, he said, ‘It was cordial and friendly.’
Mr Osei Yeboah, who read the statement on behalf of the five candidates, said the fact that President Mahama had met them on short notice demonstrated his commitment to national cohesion for the preservation of peace and the fostering of progress for the interest of Ghanaians.
He said while extraordinary measures had been taken ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the election petition, they believed it was also most essential to have a more proactive approach to defuse tension as a parallel complement to a comprehensive strategy to build national cohesion.
Mr Osei Yeboah said the country and its people had endured and survived many challenges in their brief national life.
“We strongly urge you and our colleagues to stand fast at this watershed moment of our nation’s history so as to preserve the integrity of our forefathers,” he said.
He assured the President of their solidarity and asked him to simply, humbly and peacefully accept the verdict of the Supreme Court on August 29, 2013.
“We want to urge you to commit to issuing an unequivocal public statement immediately after the verdict is given,’ he said.
Mr Osei Yeboah assured the President of their willingness to condemn, without exception, any recalcitrant elements that might seek to undermine or reject the Supreme Court decision by any acts of omission or commission.
“We believe that a positive collective disposition to this electoral dispute will deliver dividends for our democracy,” he said.
He congratulated President Mahama and Nana Akufo Addo on subjecting themselves to the Supreme Court.
“Your action has so far strengthened our institutions. The impact on the Judiciary, the Electoral Commission, the security services, civil society, traditional rulers and political parties will be profound when we conclude this dispute peacefully,” he said.
By Musah Yahaya Jafaru & Dominic Moses Awiah/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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