In terms of professional qualifications and practical experience, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa is far and away the best candidate to be nominated by any Fourth-Republican President as Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC). It is therefore very pathetic for a brazen scofflaw like former President John Dramani Mahama to accuse his more legitimately and democratically elected successor, to wit, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of threatening Ghanaian democracy with the latter’s nomination of the Executive-Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs as the next EC boss (See “John Mahama Laments: ‘EC Appointments Regrettable, Threat to Democracy’” CitiNewsRoom.com / Modernghana.com 7/24/18).
To hear the longtime National Democratic Congress’ General-Secretary tell it, it was the abject lack of vigilance on the part of the operatives of the then-opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) that resulted in the electoral victory of then-Interim President Mahama in the 2012 Presidential Election. This assertion by Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia would be afforded further credibility during the drawn-out proceedings of the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel that adjudicated the 2012 Presidential Election Petition, when the extant EC Chair, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, could not tell precisely what constituted “Overvoting” and “Under-voting” in some selected constituencies whose voting results he had been subpoenaed to present evidence and testify before the apex court.
We have also highlighted the fact that then-President Mahama flagrantly breached Ghana’s 1992 Constitution when he “laterally” transferred Mrs. Charlotte Amma Kesson-Smith Osei from the National Civic Education Commission (NCCE) to the Electoral Commission (EC), because both commissions are protected offices whose Chairpersons are guaranteed independence by the Constitution. That is what a real threat to democracy looks like. We all, also, know the dastardly attempts made by Mrs. Osei, in defiance of the Supreme Court, to invalidate the legitimacy of our Electoral Register by insisting on allowing people who possessed the National Health Insurance Card but whose Ghanaian citizenship could not be verified to remain on the Voters’ Register, long after the apex court had declared such registrants to be disqualified from voting again with the same.
We need to also recall the dastardly attempt by Mr. Mahama to seriously undermine the credibility and authority of the Wood Supreme Court in the Montie Three Case, when the former Atta-Mills lieutenant deviously used a rubber-stamp Council-of-State to ride roughshod over the verdict of the highest court of the land. That is what a veritable threat to Ghana’s democracy looks like. The IEA which the EC Chair Nominee has been managing for some two decades-plus now, has the enviable record of having made Presidential Debates a permanent feature and a tradition integral to the country’s democratic culture. If anything at all, the leaders of the main-opposition National Democratic Congress which has been attempting, every step of the way, to stall this most healthy democratic tradition ought to be heartily congratulating both the nominee and the President who so wisely nominated the former.
It is also an open-secret that the NDC operatives are morbidly averse to the appointment of Mrs. Mensa primarily because the latter has firmly, fiercely and successfully fought off any cynical attempts by the likes of former President Mahama and Mr. Asiedu-Nketia to mischievously use hired nuisance and minor political scumbags like Mr. Hassan Ayariga, formerly of the People’s National Convention (PNC), to sabotage Nana Akufo-Addo’s participation in these debates. And so, really, it is the leaders of the National Democratic Congress who have been antagonizing Mrs. Mensa and the staff, scholars and thinkers at the Institute of Economic Affairs and not vice-versa. In their last refusal to participate in the IEA-sponsored debates, in the leadup to the 2016 general election, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, who is also popularly known as General Mosquito, gave the primary reason for then-President Mahama’s flat refusal to participate in the debates as due to the adamant refusal of the IEA’s Executive-Director and her staff to allow the presidential candidates of political parties with no parliamentary representation to fully and equally participate in the debates.
In the 2012 presidential election cycle, the incumbent President John Evans Atta-Mills’ reluctance to debate his most formidable political opponent may likely have been predicated on his poor political performance, as well as his fast-declining health, which his handlers and appointees had been desperately attempting to hide. They would, of course, scandalously fail in the attempt. President Mills’ “sudden” death would be luridly capitalized upon to tap the sympathy of Ghanaian voters for a dubious electoral victory whose outcome continues to be hotly debated by students and scholars of Ghanaian politics. We shall in due course afford ourselves ample time to examine the profiles of the EC nominees whose nominations have been regrettably, albeit predictably, described, rather obscenely, as “regrettable” by former President Mahama. For now, let it suffice to poignantly observe here that it is ironically because of their deathly fear of democracy that the key operatives of the NDC have been kicking and screaming like some naughty children who have been forced to take a cold shower after playing in the mud all day.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York