Ghana Will and Should Not Accept “Power Sharing” If Elections Are Rigged

Fri, 7 Mar 2008 Source: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

The West in particular keeps drumming in our ears that democracy is the way to go. Democracy we’ve been told, guarantees stability which leads to development and a civil society. For democracy to work in Africa, elections must be clean and fair. Africa does not have the luxury of the quasi homogeneity that the West enjoys. Most African countries represent an amalgam of different tribes forced to live together by colonial dictates through forced demarcations. Furthermore, African countries do not enjoy mature democracies. It is therefore critical that the electoral system works effectively to grow confidence in the democratic process. We are told that registering and voting is a civic responsibility that we must all take very seriously. Therefore, when we honor our part of the deal, the incumbent government must also honor its part by ensuring that our vote counts in a fair and clean election. It is on this note that I reject the western imposed solution to the current Kenyan crises. It is true that we want peace. But to sacrifice human life and democracy for such false and fabricated peace is too much to take. It is such latent social injuries that crystallizes in episodes like Rwanda and what we just saw in Kenya. We have to be very careful what path we take to attain peace! We must make justice a hallmark of African democracy. We must stop listening to the dictates of the West and do what is best for Africa. I believe we could have attained peace by making sure that the true winner of Kenya’s election is at the helm.

I was furious when I opened the newspaper to discover that Raila Odinga has selfishly signed a deal to share power with Kibaki. Is Raila more interested in power or the principle of having free and fair elections? What if he insisted on having fresh elections under the full glare of the world to declare the true winner? An election was held in Kenya. The opposition and indeed most outside observers all reiterated that the ballot was rigged. Indeed, the electoral commissioner fled the country and intimated that he does not know who won the election. Additionally, some made the ultimate sacrifice by fighting and dying for democracy. Now Raila stands to desecrate their blood by choosing power over principles and values. The sorrow here is that this has serious implications for Africa. It sends all kinds of wrong signals and it is a serious blow to the freedoms of poor peasants and workers all across Africa. Why should the wishes of Kenyans be replaced by the dictates of George Bush? Kenyans did not vote for power sharing! They voted to elect a leader! Where is the leader they voted for?

In the midst of the mayhem in Kenya, the incumbent callously declared himself president and acted as if nothing happened. While all this mess was unfolding, our so called African leaders sat aloof and watched as they’ve always done in the past. Of course they dare not chime in because some of them hold on to power the same way Kibaki is clinging arrogantly to power. The head of the AU at the time, our own president Kufour, had to be prodded by the West to go and deal with a matter local to Africa. Shame does not begin to characterize what these so called African leaders represent. It is as if we lose our senses if the West and its allies do not whisper into our stuffed ears to act in our own bloody interest. My Gawd! What really do we pay these hapless leaders for? And we hate Professor Watson? Given Kufour’s miserable failure in Kenya, not that I expected much from him anyway, Kofi Annan, the erstwhile UN Secretary General was tapped by these same Western forces to go and tell the squabbling African leaders to share power. So Annan, now evidently a tool of the West, goes in with prefabricated Western solutions to a problem primarily African. No wonder he irked Kibaka somewhere along the line by spouting prefabricate western dictates when no agreement had been reached. Like clockwork, Annan set out to carry out his orders as he has often done on occasion at the UN. I have no kudos for Annan and it is a shame that he should be used this way. Africa deserves much more principled leadership and solutions! I also want peace for Kenya but at what cost and how?

Folks, some of you will recall the election upheaval that blighted the 2000 presidential election in the US. In this election, there were serious electoral misdeeds. The end result was that Al Gore, then referred to as a sore loser, asked that the votes be recounted and refused to concede defeat. In the midst of that hellfire and frankly, shame, never did I hear any leader or citizen of America or the West call for power sharing as a way of solving that electoral impasse. It was not even considered. Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court luckily churned out a convoluted judgment that worked. Could Kenya’s Supreme Court have done similar? So, ask yourself this, why was power sharing not considered in the U.S. if it works such magic? If Americans deserve a winner when elections are held, why should Kenyan expect less? The U.S., sees itself as the paragon of democracy and indeed impresses upon fledgling democracies to emulate its example. If the US did not use power sharing to solve its electoral impasse, why is it quick to recommend this canard for African countries? Why the hell should we reward someone who did not win an election with power? With what mandate will they rule or do the business of the people? And don’t give me that crap that we should power share in the name of peace or compromise! What is the purpose of an election then? Why should people bother to vote? Have we not had enough of this, “Oh let sleeping dogs lie” crap? There is a better way and we ought to seek it no matter how hard. But if we don’t roll our sleeves and dig this clam with the dexterity of a hungry bear, we stand to inherit simplistic short lived solutions that not only set a bad example but nurse fault lines for future conflicts.

I don’t know about you but I find it condescending and an invocation of superiority for one to prescribe solutions they will not even consider for their problems. Yes, we are beggars and play second fiddle to the West and their allies but by George, why can’t we take a stand for a change? Why can’t we seek true justice for once? Taking the path of least resistance to create some phony peace now will impose much more debilitating cost on us in the future. Our grandchildren will have to settle these bloody scores. Is that what we want? You see my friends, when you have leaders in Africa who eat the best, drink the best, steal the best, wear the best, drive the best, enjoy the best but will NEVER seek the best for their people, why must we be surprised that the powers that be will prescribe half-baked solutions that have far reaching implication for us? We don’t need Professor Watson to tell us what George Bush and his Western allies are cleverly and insultingly telling us, if we can’t handle our own. The only interest the West and their African lackeys have in this issue is to see the problem go away. They don’t really care about a lasting solution based on their own rhetoric about, justice, freedom and democracy. When a problem goes away, it does not mean that it has been adequately solved. And this is why Africa is still living the aftermath of silly European solutions that signed and sealed our fate through colonialism and slavery.

How really effective do you think Raila Odinga will be in a Kibaki government? With what mandate is he there? If he did not win why is he there? If he won, why is Kibaki in power? If Kibaki won, why are we messing around with Odinga? If both of them don’t have a clear mandate, why are they leading Kenya? If they both won, why did others have to die to save this whole? I thought the purpose of running elections is to choose a clear winner. If we can’t run elections to choose a leader, why bother? Somebody won this election and that person should be running Kenya. If the election was rigged, as it evidently was, then we have to go back to square one and ask the people to vote again. What is wrong with putting an interim government in place while fresh elections are held under the watch of the U. N.? Will the latter not be a higher value or principle to uphold as opposed to this power sharing nonsense coined by the West to shoo away serious African electoral problems and keep this selfish old man called Kibaki in power? We’ve seen such electoral fraud in Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria and countless other African countries in the past. So when will African get this democracy game right? How are we going to build confidence is a system called democracy that continues to fail law abiding citizens? When are we going to draw the line in the sand?

If our excuse for not contemplating a rerun is predicated on resources, then we must shamelessly ask the democracy evangelists to put their money where their mouth is. After all, Africa begs for much more frivolous things don’t we? For example, Ghana takes food aid from Japan at a time when food is abundant in Ghana. I just got back from Ghana and can testify that we have lots of food. We can’t even get the food that we produce to the market yet we beg for food aid? Have we no shame? If we can beg for food, why can’t we beg for aid to get Kenya’s democracy back on its tiring feet? To accept instead, this poisonous and simplistic notion of power sharing imposed by the west and their allies is to mortgage the future of democracy across Africa. If I am the head of state of an African country, what will be my motivation to run a clean and fair election? The worst that will happen is to share power with the opposition leader. Even so, I will still tower above him or her. Is this really the message that we want to send to millions of Africans who are laying down their life for this idea called democracy? The more we reward such rotten behavior the more electoral fraud we shall see. This then means that democracy will never take off in Africa. Fair and clean elections are pivotal to any viable democracy and we must not tolerate any among us who intend to traumatize it.

Let me end by reminding the powers that be in Ghana that we will not accept power sharing should the upcoming elections be rigged. With the scent of oil is in the air, Western interest has never been keener. While we should welcome all to Ghana to do business, we must never let the interests of others force us to accept inimical solutions that can harm us now or in the future. We will and should not allow Bush or Condolezza Rice to dictate solutions for us. The best way to avoid being told what to do is to handle our business. So, the incumbent government owes us a grave duty of running a fair and clean election. The latter statement is not accusatory but instead, cautionary. The EC’s office must be given all the resources it needs to tout a credible election we can all be proud of. We need eternal peace to pursue development! May the best party win and the rest learn to live with it. Kenya’s example will not be acceptable in Ghana. If we want a power sharing government, let’s rewrite our constitution and insert power sharing clauses. There is no need to change the rules in the middle of the game. We shall resist any attempt by any powers, inside and outside Ghana, to foist decadent solutions on us if those that should know better attempt to take us for a screeching ride by rigging the upcoming election in Ghana. The will be a clear winner of our upcoming election based on the dictates of our constitution. Anything short of that must and will be roundly rejected by the good people of Ghana. We have to make democracy work in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. No power sharing please! Save power sharing for the West!!!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Also known as Da Double edge sword)

“I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell.” Harry Truman

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka