Ghana’s democracy has come of age – Mahama
DR EDWARD Nasigre Mahama, Presidential candidate of the People's National Convention (PNC) in the December 7, 2000, general elections, has described the conduct of the presidential run-off as a manifestation of the maturity and readiness of Ghanaians to operate a constitutional democracy.
He noted that with the highly successful conduct of the polls, the acceptance of the results by all the parties and the gracious concession by the Vice President, Professor J. E. Atta Mills and the smooth steps towards effecting a transfer of power, Ghanaians were once again pointing the way forward for Africa in a bid to entrench democracy and the rule of law on the continent.
Dr Mahama made the observation in an interview in Accra at the weekend after the Electoral Commission (EC) formally declared Mr John Agyekum Kufuor the winner of the December 28 presidential run-off.
According to the PNC leader, the fact that the incumbent government has fully served its term and a change of government has now been effected through the ballot box makes it a shinning victory for democracy and for all Ghanaians, irrespective of political party and other affiliations.
“People across the world today recognise that Ghana has embarked upon a peaceful and smooth change of government through the ballot box, and for this, the image and standing of our country in the eyes of the international community have been further enhanced. Indeed, I feel very proud to be a Ghanaian," he stressed.
He congratulated all the political practitioners, the EC and all Ghanaians for the maturity exhibited before, during and after the elections and urged them to continue to work for further enhancement of the democratic process.
On the future of the PNC, Dr Mahama described the party as "the best hope of Ghanaians in the future".
He pointed out that the PNC had, in spite of lending support to Mr Kufuor in the presidential run-off, not compromised in any way its independence.
"I want it made absolutely clear that the PNC remains , and would continue to be in the foreseeable future, an independent and viable party which would continue to stake a legitimate claim to power through the ballot box in subsequent elections," he stated.
The PNC leader pointed out that the results of the December 7 polls, in which the party increased its representation in Parliament from one to three, gave a clear notification that the PNC was the party to watch in the next elections.
"If our democratic dispensation were allowed to endure, I can assure you that the PNC would not only be one of the main contending parties for power, but the party actually poised to assume the reins of government of the country after the 2004 elections," he assured.
On the question of whether or not he would accept any appointment to serve in the incoming NPP government, Dr Mahama, categorically ruled himself out.
"Dr Mahama would definitely not serve in the next government. If, however, the PNC as a party were asked to play such roles, the party would meet to consider such requests and if it so decides to take part, pick those it deems fit to play those roles. In all cases, I would not feature in such endeavours," he stressed.
Dr Mahama said that he had campaigned hard to win and was disappointed but not discouraged at the turn of events.
He indicated that the PNC would soon embark upon a reorganisation exercise to revamp the party and inject fresh blood and more organisation into it to help boost its chances of victory in 2004.
"The PNC would broaden as well as deepen the roots of the party so that the party's message and influence would be felt across the country to ensure the success we envisage in 2004," he stressed.