Opinions Tue, 4 Sep 2012

Article 17 Of The 1992 Constitution And ....

John Mahama’s Elevation

Perhaps, the most profound statement made by President John Dramani Mahama at NDC’s 2012 launch in Kumasi last Thursday was that looking at his background as a boy from Bole, he was grateful to the NDC for giving him the honour by making him the flagbearer of the party.

The President’s message is clear. The NDC does not discriminate against persons based on social, economic, political or religious backgrounds. That is why it is a congress, an amalgamation of all political persuasions. Fairness and objectivity thus are the hallmark of the party as regards positions, which is the only way that persons like him from the northern part of the country could be done such a great honour in a big political organisation like the NDC in Ghana.

The NDC did not merely choose President John Mahama as flagbearer of the party for the 2012 but gave an overwhelming endorsement by delegates who went through a rigorous voting exercise that culminated in his recording “an unprecedented and gargantuan” 99.5% of total valid ballots cast. The attempt by some desperate politicians, of the NPP stock, to win the 2012 elections at all costs is a stark reality that Ghanaians should wake-up and open their eyes to. Never in the history of the Fourth Republic have we experienced this level of reckless talk.

For people who tout themselves as apostles of democracy and human rights, that the basic article of fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1992 constitution is either lost on them or they practice it only when it suits them. But the letter and spirit of the constitution enjoins all to uphold it at all times.

Chapter 5 of the Constitution thoroughly focuses on fundamental human rights. Article 17(1) and (2) states that “All persons shall be equal before the law.” and “A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, Colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.” This article, which shows the importance of the fundamental human rights of all persons, seems either to be lost on the NPP or they have their own version of fundamental human rights. Why else will the so-called apostles of democracy and fundamental human rights discriminate against others based on their ethnic origin or religious affiliation?

It is a fact that Vice President Aliu Mahama never became the flagbearer of the NPP because he is firstly a Northerner and secondly, a Muslim. The convention that has been established through the world is for outgoing Presidents to be replaced by their deputies.

In the USA, the Democrats made it possible for Al Gore to replace Bill Clinton. In South Africa, Mandela was replaced by Thabo Mbeki whilst in Ghana, Rawlings handed over to Atta Mills. So what happened in the case of Vice President Aliu Mahama? Why did the so-called democrats and apostles of fundamental human rights not make it possible for Aliu Mahama to enjoy the same privilege enjoyed by Al Gore and co?

The answer lies in the superiority complex that has afflicted the NDC right from its formation. Unless you are a Christian, a southerner and an Akan, you are not qualified to become the party’s flagbearer. Indeed, Akans who support other political parties especially the NDC are told they are not showing civility in their choice.

Ex-President Kufuor’s claim, according to wikileaks, that Muslims are robots and do only what they are told by their Imams, is a true example of the thought process in the NPP.

Then again is the infamous “Yen Akan Fuo” statement by no less a person than the NPP’s current flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, when he addressed party supporters at Koforidua. By the statement “Yen Akan Fuo” (we Akans), Akufo-Addo clearly intimated that the NPP is an Akan party. This was buttressed by his statement in the Volta region, to Voltarians that they vote one-way, a statement he cannot repeat to his Akyem people whose voting pattern is similar to that of the Voltarians. Still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians is the deadly ethnocentric pronouncements by Mr Kennedy Agyapong at his radio station, Oman FM. Kennedy in pronouncements similar to that of Omar Georges of Rwanda who called on the majority Hutus to slaughter the minority Tutsis, called on Ashanti to club Ewes and Gas on the head when they enter their stores.

Clearly, the pattern that has been established here is that as far as the NPP is concerned, all are not equal before the law and A person shall be discriminated against on grounds of race, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.

It is for this reason why Aliu never got the opportunity to become the flagbearer of the NPP and why how Dr Mahamud Bawumia is only chasing an illusion. It is also for this reason that the NDC remains the more attractive of the two leading political parties in Ghana.

There is no gainsaying that had John Mahama being in the NPP, he would not have been President of Ghana or flagbearer of the party. For being a northerner, chieftains of the NPP would have found a way of ensuring that he does not replace the President who has passed away. Ghanaian cannot forget how Ibrahim Sunday, captain of Kumasi Asante Kotoko in 1971, was replaced by Yaw Sam at the Gate of Manhyia because he was told as a northerner, he was not qualified to handover the trophy Kotoko had won to Otumfuo.

The NDC is a party of endless possibilities and opportunities for all regardless of their ethnic origin or religious affiliation. Left the so-called apostles of democracy go dust up the 1992 constitution and le4arn the basic tenets of democracy- ALL ARE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW.
Columnist: The Catalyst