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Opinions Sun, 11 Aug 2013

It will be a travesty of justice to cancel the votes of millions

By Kofi Thompson


For many ordinary Ghanaians (including myself) Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has never been a problem. He is essentially a good and decent gentleman.


The problem, in the view of many in our country, is the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) small band of arrogant extremists surrounding him, who want to ride to power on his coattails.


The tragedy for the NPP and Ghana, is that those tiresome hardliners, think they are invincible masters of the universe.


It is instructive that that small band of ruthless extremists, talk endlessly about "justice before peace", yet have deliberately closed their eyes to the blatant injustice involved in seeking to use the Supreme Court, to cancel the votes of millions of ordinary people - who queued up for hours to cast their votes to elect the candidate of their choice, in the December 2012 presidential election.

It is hypocritical and an act of bad faith, of the most egregious kind, to seek to manipulate Ghana's legal system, as a cynical backdoor-path-to-power tactical political manoeuvre.


And that act of bad faith, is not lost on the millions of Ghanaian voters, whom the NPP's small band of arrogant extremists, want to disenfranchise.


Many of those voters will remember that attempt to have their votes cancelled in the December 2016 elections.


The question is: Why should millions of innocent and law-abiding Ghanaian voters, have their votes cancelled by the Supreme Court, simply because mistakes were made by harried and stressed-out presiding officers - who had no sinister motives, incidentally - at some polling stations?


What compounds the outrage, is that those mistakes by the Electoral Commission's officials, were not deliberately made - as part of some grand conspiracy to rig an election - but genuinely-made errors made in the full glare of millions of eagle-eyed onlookers, each determined, as a result of being constantly admonished to be watchful by their respective political parties during the December 2012 election campaign, to ensure that that particular presidential election was not stolen by anyone, but ended with an outcome that genuinely represented the choice of a majority of the Ghanaians, who cast their votes in the December 2012 presidential election.

In effect, what that small band of arrogant and too-clever-by-half NPP extremists, whose mantra-of-hypocrisy is "justice before peace" have done, is to deliberately close their eyes to the injustice involved, in asking the Supreme Court to use the genuinely made errors of hapless Electoral Commission polling station officials, as justification, for cancelling the votes cast by millions of their fellow citizens - so that the NPP's defeated presidential candidate in the December 2012 election can then come to power: despite losing what was the most closely-monitored and closely-fought election in Ghana's history thus far.


That is why those who took the December 2012 presidential election petition to the Supreme Court will fail in their aim - because what they seek is unjust, against natural justice and unworthy of politicians who claim to believe in democracy and the rule of law.


The truth of the matter, is that in effect the NPP's extremists sought to manipulate the legal system - to enable their party obtain political power after losing a free and fair election.


It will be a travesty of justice of the worst kind, for the Supreme Court to allow them to succeed in their aim.


Cancelling the votes cast by millions of Ghanaians, who duly exercised their constitutional right to elect the President of the Republic of Ghana, in the December 2012 presidential election - a right that supersedes the bumbling of not-so-well-trained public officials, employed on a temporary basis, to supervise parliamentary and presidential elections in about 26000 polling stations countrywide, widely deemed around the world as free and fair - can neither be right nor just.

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi