Critical News: Reviewing your election posture

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 Source: Sydney Casely-Hayford

This week’s piece is the final build up to the Election Petition. There is no need for a recap of all that has happened, how it started and what has or not been said. We are at the end and the only interest for any Ghanaian is what the Bench of Judges will say on Thursday. This case has given Ghanaians an opportunity to practice our well-touted hallmark of patience and political tolerance. In the end, the religious peace-hijack has petered out, in my view a lack of message sincerity and a lame attempt to cash in on the gullible poor and underprivileged. By the time this Critical News piece hits the airwaves and print media we will be counting down the last hours to delivery.

Which way will the verdict go?

The US Consulate already called the verdict during the week when they announced to their citizens to “review their security posture”. A rather routine call, as they do from time to time, advising American residents to take a close look at where they hang out, what they say, how they say it and who is their friend. Yeah right! American diplomacy gone awry, and the message to Yankees on the day of the election set the wires buzzing. I heard no similar calls from our other diplomats but maybe Americans are more prone to exaggeration than the Brits, Germans, Japs, Aussies, Danes and these days the Chinese.

Reading between the lines, my interpretation of the worst recent diplomatic gaff since UK’s David Cameron tried to tie aid to Gay rights, which made our late President Mills mount an ailing homophobic platform, and made all Ghanaians look like retrogressive neo-Neanderthals, is simply calling the verdict for the NPP. Logically and historically most likely to rampage if they lose, is the NDC foot soldier. They lose if the recount changes the fifty percent plus one and they lose if there is a recount. NDC foot soldiers have consistently taken to the streets illegally and are more prone to react to destabilize. If the verdict goes to the NPP, why would they run amok and fight? Should the NPP lose, there will be a press conference or two, but Ghanaians know to the bone that it will end there. The NDC flip side is the danger and when the US attaché called out to his country folk, he could only have seen the NDC loss and potential mayhem. That is their call and very clearly their worry, even if unfounded.

And loose-lipped Deputy Minister Kwakye Ofosu was on his rudest spin after the US statement, blaming the NPP side for gong to court and provoking the Americans to call the verdict and state of our tension. I think maybe the NDC would have preferred running street battles in place of the court petition, which would have given them the chance to call in JJ and his June 4 Group to join the mayhem and provide suppression remedies. But couldn’t Atuguba have issued a contempt call to the US attaché? Or because they have diplomatic immunity we have to accept the garnished interference in our political state?

Now the NDC through its Chairman Dr Kwabena Adjei is calling for an all-inclusive Government. Twiaa! If that is what they want, what stops them from doing so now? They are the Government in power, this is not a constitutional issue and President Mahama can shuffle his Government anytime he chooses. He can select from any person in Ghana and appoint them, subject to Parliament’s vetting. I could replace Accra Mayor Oko Vanderpuye.

Could it be the reason we are calling for this drivel is because the NDC see an end in sight for their political posture? Nana Ato Dadzie made a major position shift when he said last week the verdict is sitting at 50:50.

What made it worse for me was to hear Fiifi Kwetey, of no defined job role, also endorsing this “n ka bom” concept. Kutu Acheampong tried to vote-rig this on us a few years back and it started an Afari-Gyan praise cult in Ghana; until this year when we saw a tired Electoral Commissioner faltering under the weight of evidence. That man must write his memoirs and maybe tell us some truths.

Tell me you want a complete review of “first past the post” and I will offer you Proportional Representation and a more democratic way to ensure fairer use of funds, policy and program continuity. Let me use Central Region voting numbers to buttress this point. In Parliament, NDC sits 16 (69.6%) to the NPP’s 7 (30.4%). 469,641 (50.9%) NDC supporters voted their party in and 407,516 (44.1%) voted for the NPP. Clearly, approximately 14% of Central Region voters are not truly represented by the voting method. Now, if you apply a proportional representation method, you see a better (10 NPP, 14 NDC) seating representation on the same count. I promise to publish and do a presentation on PR soon after we settle the verdict on Thursday. We can add a complete overhaul of parliamentary representation and resource management, taking into consideration our penchant for community development and it will ease the political tension, and solve the decentralization conundrum.

I would like to see the verdict go to the Petitioners. Not because I am a party member, not because I am against the NDC, but because I see evidence that makes it difficult to justify that this election result was not tampered with. We need the truth and we cannot short-change society in exchange for political quiet. To do so would play into the hands of politicians yet again and this country will go nowhere.

If I heard Justice Atubuga’s expressions of frustration on behalf of his panel members during the Sir John contempt case, I am clear that we must wedge justice into the corruption door and once and for all engage the judiciary with a total purge on dishonesty. Since this case, we have clawed some confidence back into law and we must see it to the end.

From the start, I looked for an end and this week could have been five months ago. Before voting, I called the election for the NPP, persuaded by the campaign message of free education. A good thing, a must have thing, because we all deserve an equal chance to use our minds to capacity and if Government can help make this real, why not support it? It made a lot of sense and should have won the campaign, but we ended with a Mahama and NDC Government.

If the count was flawed, let’s deal with the aftermath and follow with an indictment of those who created the fraud. Counting and documenting results does not happen cyber-genetically. Some person(s) would have masterminded this, and we must as a matter of thoroughness, clean out.

The political mess is as challenged as the economic mess and Government mounted a podium to tell us how they have succeeded in fixing the economy since after the first quarter of the year. You know, I am tired of being told that everything is working well, when I live in it, smell it, no-water it and still dumsor-dumsor it. I am tired of bureaucratic lies, lack of transparency and the incessant postponing of project deadlines, one lie following the next and denial following public evidence. A new caliber of politician has to emerge to parallel-fix the politics and economics. Bank baseless interest rates are still pegged between 21% and 25% and we think we have pro-private sector support mechanisms. We launched an over-subscribed 7-year bond this week at 17.5%, ninety-five percent taken up by international investors. At that rate? Why not?

This Mahama Government created the mess we are going through within the short time they took over. The election media blitz, high expenditure gifts, bribing traditional Chiefs with Landcruisers and gifting away cash and other items under the guise of poverty protection programs have surfaced with the GYEEDA mess, all the while PV Obeng still hugging the report, possibly looking for ways to re-invent the recommendations. Maybe the Parliamentary Accounts Committee can pause the Auditor General’s report review and look at GYEEDA. Stop the report fiddling in its tracks.

So while the Americans are looking to review their citizen-security posture, NDC is looking for an all-inclusive political posture, Peace Councils, Otabils and Duncan Williams’es are looking at their religious postures, us ordinary Ghanaians can review our Election Posture. What will make us stand above the rest of Africa and maybe the world? What should we revise in order that our politics measures to our renaissance? And what are we going to do if the verdict turns out to be below the expected, and five million supporters either way, find no satisfaction in a seven-month long probe into the voting-determinants of our right to elect a candidate of choice? So far we have done right, now lets verdict the anchor leg to democracy.

Finally this week, the Finder Group launched its Business Finder edition, Thursday and I get a chance to write a dedicated column on KIOSKENOMICS, the art of micro sector survival. Congratulations to Awal, Toma and the team, I hope it gives the B&FT a run for its money.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

Columnist: Sydney Casely-Hayford