Fire and Witchcraft Tactics For Over-Voters

Mon, 10 Jun 2013 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

Critical News, 9th June 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My reckless adventure into selling street side top-ups, taught me a valuable lesson this week. I usually buy credit from Kojo Mbrah (his real name), been doing so for at least a year and we have become good buddies. I get the occasional credit, same as I get from my newspaper boy Kwesi at the foothills of McCarthy Hill. They are always surprised that sometimes their Obroni does not have five cedis to make the essential purchase. Anyway, in a dare with Kojo I challenged that I could sell more credit with less effort than he does in a day. He took me on, Tuesday morning and I parked opposite Abrantie Spot at La Paz and hit the streets with a stack of top up cards trusted to me by Mr. Mbrah. I spent planning time and placed the cards in separate pockets to ease delivery, and with a list of all my stock, I trumped east side, close enough to the traffic lights as I see them do every time. Fifteen minutes later I had sold two cedis and the race for the cars was hot, not counting the rising sun and no adjustable air conditioning. I am pushing harder and harder, profiling my competitors and gauging their positioning strategy on the curbs. In an hour, my sales tally was still two cedis. Nobody is buying from me, customers are taken and loyalty to sellers is key. I have become an enigma rather than a novelty item, which I was counting on. My bet was I pay Kojo his fifteen cedis profit he makes in a day if I could not sell as many in half the time, and as I am running up and down the road breaking the law, a Trotro labeled “agoro anso a, egu” (if a game does not prosper, it finishes) made it an easy choice, when it nearly mashed my toes. I am standing on the curb, fishing invective from my decadent childhood, thinking, Kojo makes four hundred and fifty cedis in a good month. I could earn that kind of money in a day if I lectured at Ashesi University or as an advisor to Government. I pay Kojo his fifteen cedis and head for the cool comfort of the car. This street hawking is tough, dangerous, illegal and perilous. The barriers to entry are sealed with consumer loyalty and you don’t stand a chance as a new entrant. They are a poverty cartel of friends, linked through a common survival purpose. Don’t do as I did.

We have had a spate of fires, but Makola no. 2 provoked a serious sortie by NDC politicians into pyrotechnics, as only they understand. President Mahama waded into this after Nii Lante Vanderpuye run the airwaves agog, claiming there is an arsonist on the loose, deliberating burning markets to make the President and the Government to look bad. So with ghc25,000 reward for any leads, we invoked a search in the unknown, but known, whence our enemies are dabbling in fires and they nearest to us, hating us most, are to blame for murder and destruction.

Smock your Asiedu Nketia and you could surmise that this could be an NDC foot soldier game plan. His logic will be something like this. Realizing that Afrai-Gyan is blowing in the wind, the fires are planned as a diversion and also to create sympathy for the NDC. And this is a diabolical thought, I am not capable of making such, but I find that to blame political opponents without even a shred of evidence is totally out of order and underhand. This is witchcraft-blame syndrome and it is where we turn every time there is unexplained strife in our lives. That Nii Lante Vanderpuye, a Deputy Minister of Trade will lead such a charge, knocks my confidence several pegs in the quality of leadership of this Government. Just recently, Anita De Sousa also made a witchcraft claim at the Supreme Court. They are not the only ones. Is this how we will fix the economy and infrastructure? Already, we have many Tindanas and TB Joshua topping with poverty potions and holy water. Our politicians are also that inclined? I hope the US have enough “agbalagba” drone technology as they try to unravel the cause of the fires. I hear there are rats in the market eating away at the wires and shorting the circuits? I also hear the markets are a bed of illegal, unregulated, poor and unsupervised connections. Very plausible reasons when you think about it.

I wonder why they did not point fingers at JJ and his June 4 Cadres? In open public space, celebrating accountability and probity and suggesting that others have been urging another revolution, (I am not too sure what he was hinting at; are they fermenting a coup?), I saw Jerry sweep his hands through fire back and forth and not a blister or flinch on his face. Clearly the Junior Jesus still has power over fire. Can he remotely command fire, do you think? Can he now light a fire with his beard? And he warned the NDC Government that they could lose election 2016 if they carried on in this manner, as usual not telling us what manner but manufacturing chaos in other minds. The shame is all ours, but our pride is democracy and we tolerate all, even those whose treason is constitutionally protected.

We are going to “audit?” Justice Atuguba’s pink sheets to corroborate anything that KPMG declares from the Registry. But even before we started, the cacophony of compromised sheets heralded the Supreme Court decision. I find that tolerance for the political noise is finding its place in this petition. The Justices had cause to warn some loud mouths to replicate events more accurately. The threat is real but the supple approach has calmed tensions; buttressed by the humor, which threads through every sitting. You can say this is a pressure-release Ghanaian way and with ring tones and simple, creative poetry, we are gradually getting to the end of this chunk of history. I particularly admired the reprimand by the bench that Counsel curb the deliberate delay because after five months, Ghanaians deserve to know who truly won and whether there was cheating or no.

Which brings us to Commissioner Afrai-Gyan and his evidence at the Petition Election, looking rather shaky at this time. I am at a loss why, with so much knowledge shored up by such deep experience, the EC clouded his definition of over-voting by that propounded by the NDC political jester Asiedu Nketia. To the extent that he blurted out in open court that he was not sure he understood what defines over-voting. When we finally got there after Mr. Addison’s cross examination, it is clearer that if you issue ballots to voters and you count more votes in the ballot box than issued, after a reconciliation of spoilt ballots and other regulatory calculations, you have votes over the maximum count. Call it over-voting, call it excess voting, label it whichever way, the end result is that more people voted than expected and if taken into the final count, it is incorrect.

Time and again I have asked where from this issue that it is okay to make clerical, transposition and poor arithmetic errors, announce results based on this and say we should allow the status quo because we are human. Isn’t it purposely because we are human that we want to correct all these errors and ensure that from now on, we improve the system and allow as little margin of error as necessary? Election voting has been a major cause of violence in this country since independence. Time to fix it, and no better a peg to hang this scourge than this petition. And I can’t quite understand why NDC lawyer Nana Ato Dadzie would attempt a spin on this matter on Joyfm’s Saturday Newsfile program. Surely, this can’t be any more legally complicated than what we see in the logic and arithmetic?

Now that our main allies the USA are in season, after arresting a cocaine security breach, I wonder if the fact that Sohin Security MD, Mr. Adelaquaye’s friendship with National Security Coordinator, Larry Gbevlo Lartey is of any concern to anyone? Is it also important, as suggested by the Daily Guide, that he is an NDC financier?

The Right to Information (RTI) Bill blipped a Morse code from Cabinet but we did not pay too much attention to this important stride, ignored for too long by both the NPP and NDC. The credibility gap between the governors and governed is now so wide, President Mahama needs stronger “ntoro” to re-build trust. My first document request via RTI will be for the Kume Preko files. Murder was committed. By who?

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

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney