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A Political Council of State

Thu, 7 Feb 2013 Source: Suleman, Edem

I watched Ghana’s president, John Mahama, state during his first address to

the nation as an “elected” president that his government was going to be

about “partnership and not partisanship”. I thought to myself “that is a

catchy phrase, which means a lot. If indeed he is going to adhere to this

phrase, then he may be a good man to lead Ghana after all.” I should have

know this was all part of his numerous and shameless lies. Sadly, this

article is not to recount those lies – the ones he told to allegedly win

power and the ones he has told after allegedly winning power.

This article is to expose a creeping culture of partisan politics in the

election of our highest advisory body and why it needs to be frowned upon

as quickly as possible. I am speaking of the election of regional

representatives of the Council of State, which is governed by the first

constitutional instrument made pursuant to the 1992 Constitution of the

Republic of Ghana: Election (Regional Representatives on Council of State)

Instrument, 1993 (CI 1). It is for no reason that the first constitutional

instrument had to deal with the manner in which our regional

representatives were elected.

Sadly, the election of regional representatives to the Council of State has

recently been influenced by political affiliations. Let us not kid

ourselves any longer; we must be explicit about making the Council of State

elections political. That is exactly what has become of it. Recently, a

friend of mine volunteered to help a candidate in the Central Region

campaign to retain his position as the elected regional representative of

that Region. My friend is not really into politics so this came as a

surprise to me.

He told me the man he had volunteered for was a man who deserved to lead

Ghana because he was a selfless man and certainly visionary. I wondered

what my friend saw in this man and thus decided to do my research. It turns

out that this man came from very humble beginnings and had risen to the

top. He was an inspiration to many young men and had been honored by

Asantehene and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He

was a sports man whose record at the West African University Games remains

unbeaten.

I googled a bit more and realized that he served in key roles at the end of

President Rawlings’ administration and throughout President Kufuor’s

administration. During his time in President Kufuor’s government he

encouraged his subordinates to further their education, which they did and

he sponsored. I also found out that he had chaired international education

forums including an education panel of the World Economic Forum. He was

also a religious man. Apparently, he was the lay president of the Methodist

Church and during his leadership education was the key focus of the Church.

No wonder the Methodist University College was established during his

tenure.

I never got a chance to meet the man personally but I travelled to the

Central Region to find out what he had done for the Region. Most of the

people I spoke to describe him as the man of the land, one of our own.

Accordingly to the local people, he randomly selected promising students

from poor backgrounds and sponsored their education. I understand one

student obtained 8As in his final high school exams and proceeded to the

university. I was also told that he sponsored another student who attended

Mfantsipim School. The Botwe boy won a geography award and was flown to

California in the United States to participate in an international event.

The locals said “the man does not care about where you are coming from,

your religion, your political affiliation, etc. once you show promise, he

will support you.” Apparently, during his visits around the Asikuma Odoben

Brakwa District as member of Council of State, he met the current Member of

Parliament for that area. She showed promise and on his return to Accra, he

told Cecilia Johnson and other NDC gurus about this lady. The lady run for

and won the NDC primaries for Asikuma Odoben Brakwa and this man sponsored

her election to Parliament.

My friend himself is no stranger to this man’s generosity. He sold

newspapers by the roadside after secondary school because his family could

not support his further education and the little money he made, he used in

looking after his younger siblings. This man sponsored my friend’s tertiary

education. My friend graduated with a 1st Class in Accounting and is

currently in one of the top auditing firms in the country.

There is no way I would not vote for such a man if given the opportunity so

I was shocked when my friend called and told me that the man lost his bid

to retain his seat. I have always believed Ghana is not worth dying for.

And this man’s loss just confirmed it. Education is dear to this man thus

prior to and during his campaign for re-election; he donated books and

educational material to and for the benefit of the Central Region. He

brought investment opportunities into the Region, the fruits of which we

should be seeing in the next year or two.

I learned that the custom in the Central Region was that the Presiding

Members of the District Assemblies get to participate in the election and

any other member of the Assembly. Indeed, Regulation 4 of CI 1 states that “

*the Electoral College shall consist of two representatives from each

District Assembly in the Region, elected by the members of the Assembly

from among themselves.*”

This time around and rather shamefully, the NDC directed all District Chief

Executives appointed by them to be part of the Electoral College. As if

that was not enough, the NDC threatened all members of the Electoral

College. They voted under duress; maybe, maybe not but the Electoral

College voted along party lines. And that is what is shameful.

But it plays right into the traditional Ghanaian mentality and I dare say

the Fante mentality. Ghanaians are individualistic and self-centered. The

do not care about community development. Again, I dare say no wonder we

sold our own people to the white folks. The Ghanaian will do everything to

promote his own interest against that of his community. The Ghanaian, and

not the white man or the Chinese, is a threat to Ghana.

I am reliably informed that all members of the Electoral College for the

Central Region were camped at a hotel and continuously threatened by NDC

officials including Kobby Acheampong, the brother of the Vice President,

Totobi Kwakye, the Regional Chairman, etc. I have seen some of the

threatening text messages and listened to some of the recordings. The

propaganda pushed by the NDC was that this man was going to be nominated as

the running mate for the NPP in the next election.

I bow my head in shame today as a Ghanaian as I did on 9th December 2012.

We side step what will benefit the community for our own personal interest.

If we intend to do that, we should at least be open about it. Let us know

the Council of State members are elected on NPP or NDC tickets.

*Edem Suleman*

A Political Council of

State.doc

Columnist: Suleman, Edem