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NPP, Roll out Red Carpet for Alan Kyerematen!

Sat, 29 Jun 2013 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

Ambition and courage are stellar qualities that propel human beings to overcome greater-than-normal problems, but ambition and courage ought to be amalgamated with sound judgment to reach decisions that are far-reaching, constructive and prudent. Alan Kyerematen is a motivated man. Alan Kyerematen is made of sturdier stuff. Alan Kyerematen wants to become the next president of Ghana, even if his recent perorations do not give a hint of his longstanding desire to serve as Ghana’s foremost public servant. There is only one problem: Alan Kyerematen cannot announce his candidacy for president in 2016 due to the conflated post-Election 2012 lawsuit filed by his own party, a case that is currently being heard by the Atuguba-superintended panel of justices of the nation’s highest court.

This writer does not frown upon the pivotal decision of the bigwigs in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to contest the results of Election 2012; after all, if there were, indeed, irregularities during the voting process, then Ghanaians have a right to know exactly what happened. Perhaps, I am igniting a polemic by stating that, had the NPP bigwigs done nothing in the aftermath of Election 2012, it would have amounted to a peccant dereliction of duty to party aficionados, acolytes, and stalwarts.

What is wooly, however, is the strength of the argument posited by the NPP in the ongoing Supreme Court case. Many Ghanaians have been particularly concerned about this behemoth of a case being tried in the mass media and in the courts of public opinion, with both reasonable writers and irascible simpletons swinging their sledgehammers from either end of the ideological divide, with the singular goal of crushing their opponents to smithereens. These protracted, pungent partitions are vestiges of Ghana’s post-1957 ideological cacophonies, with neither side willing to make concessions to make good governance possible. Exacerbating the problem is the continual nurturing of “scions” of these movements, with each new generation endorsing, to an even greater degree, the rumblings, mumblings, and doctrinaire ideologies of its predecessors. Undeniably, we are heading for an irremediable Armageddon, unless leaders of the main political parties begin to re-evaluate and reverse some of their errant, odd dogmas.

I argue publicly for the first time that it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will reverse the verdict of Election 2012, not because I detest the NPP or its leaders, but because it would be antithetical to the preservation of law and order in the country. One important ingredient that buoys the case of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is the widely circulated affirmation of the results of Election 2012 by international observers from the African continent and beyond. Yes, some incorrigible, irrational NPP apparatchiks would dismiss those public affirmations as irrelevant, but with these observers/world leaders calling Election 2012 the nation’s freest and fairest presidential contest, it would be hard to ignore their definitive proclamations, which were made shortly after Election 2012 had concluded.

The preceding argument thus brings me to the nub of my article: the need for the NPP to turn to more popular, progressive candidates for future presidential contests. Fitting this bill of popularity and progressiveness is Alan Kyerematen, whose desire to become president is known even to sucklings in Ghana. In fact, Kyerematen, in September 2007, had called upon the NPP to elect him leader of the party, but his plea went unheeded, which, perhaps, was a relevant decision at the time, as Nana Akufo-Addo would go on to win the party’s internal contest and become flag-bearer for Election 2008, a feat Akufo-Addo would repeat four years later. Things have changed in the last few years, however, and Akufo-Addo’s sense of entitlement and age are two compelling reasons why he needs to both retire from active politics and encourage younger, more popular, less confrontational leaders to seek to become the NPP’s flag-bearer in 2016 and beyond.

With the results of Election 2012 unlikely to be overturned by the Supreme Court, it would be in the best interest of the NPP to support Alan Kyerematen for president in 2016. In fact, what may further whet Kyerematen’ appetite for the Ghanaian presidency is his inability to get the World Trade Organization’s top job that President John Mahama had ardently and magnanimously lobbied for on behalf of his ideological nemesis and future political adversary.

There are several reasons why the case before the Supreme Court is a bad idea, although, as I argued earlier, Ghanaians need to know the truth, if, indeed, there was widespread cheating during the voting process. First, have we thought about what would happen if Akufo-Addo was suddenly declared president? Would an Akufo-Addo presidency retroactively commence on January 7, 2013, or would the NPP presidential candidate’s four-year term begin on the day of the reversal of the Election 2012 verdict? Are there any provisions in the Constitution for such a bottleneck? Second, would Akufo-Addo command the respect and loyalty of the Ghana Armed Forces, since his victory would be seen as coming from a handful of Supreme Court justices, rather than from the proletariat? Would Akufo-Addo try to purge the Ghana Armed Forces? Third, what retirement plans do we have in place for John Mahama and his legion of ministers and appointees, should the improbable occur? Would Akufo-Addo replace all of the ministers serving in the central government in Accra, their deputies, the ten regional ministers, their deputies, and other appointees serving in the Mahama administration? Has anyone thought about these personnel and logistic nightmares? What about the huge costs likely to be associated with these changes? Do we not care? Still, I am not arguing that electoral misconduct be overlooked.

Honestly, if the NPP leadership had been serious about its post-Election 2012 petition, it would have found a way – or loophole – within the parameters of codified law to have the Supreme Court postpone the investiture of John Mahama until all matters were resolved. Allowing John Mahama to be sworn in as president, only to turn around to seek his removal from office, is akin to an impotent man employing the services of another to impregnate his wife, only to turn around to claim a consanguineous link to the infant. Social link? Yes. Consanguineous link? No!

Ghana’s Supreme Court is in no hurry to resolve the post-Election 2012 dispute, because there is no power vacuum in the country. Some have compared Ghana’s situation to that of Kenya’s recent presidential election, but neither Uhuru Kenyatta nor Raila Odinga had the benefit of incumbency, which meant that Kenya’s Supreme Court needed to expedite the hearing of Odinga’s post-election lawsuit to both engender a seamless transition and prevent a breakdown in law and order. Of course, the impasse in Kenya was resolved quickly for yet another reason: that country’s Constitution stipulates that all post-election disputes be resolved within 14 days of a petition being filed. Ghana, on the other hand, has no such stringent provision in its Constitution, which means that our legislators must act to close this gap before the next presidential election takes place in December 2016.

Interestingly, the longer it takes the Atuguba-led panel of Supreme Court justices to decide this pivotal Election 2012 lawsuit, the frailer the leadership of the NPP becomes. The NDC, without a doubt, has exploited the dissident voices in the NPP to increase the former’s legitimacy in the eyes of the voting public. Suddenly, once-stalwart members of the NPP have begun questioning the merit of the post-Election 2012 lawsuit, which, arguably, portrays Nana Akudo-Addo and his lieutenants as fastidious, malevolent politicians determined to destroy the noted peace and tranquility Ghana has enjoyed since the advent of our Fourth-Republican democratic engagement.

Akufo-Addo will be doing the right thing for the NPP if he fully supports Kyerematen for president in 2016 – that is, if the Supreme Court rules against the NPP in this captivating lawsuit. Even now, Akufo-Addo’s insistence on sauntering into the trenches of adversarial legalism, in addition to his more insalubrious decision to become ensconced in these furrows, has led to serious disaffection among friends and foes alike. Debatably, Akufo-Addo’s refusal to accept the official verdict of Election 2012, in the words of pundits, relegates the NPP presidential candidate to the nether end of the continuum of reason. It also appears that Akufo-Addo’s intransigence is enraging NPP moderates, who believe that it is time to turn over the reins of leadership of their beloved party to a younger, more appealing politician. Sadly, many of these party moderates are afraid to make their voices heard publicly, for fear of being labeled turncoats.

The longer Nana Akufo-Addo holds on to his vision to become president at all costs (note the operative words here: at all costs), the greater will be the rift within the NPP, not to mention the gradual weakening of the platform that Kyerematen – or some other NPP presidential material – would require to challenge John Mahama in 2016. I pray that the leaders of the NPP would begin preparing for Election 2016 now, instead of waiting until mid-2015 to begin their campaign, only to refuse to accept the results of the election when the party’s presidential candidate loses!

Oh, by the way, why is it difficult for some NPP apparatchiks to admit that John Mahama may have actually won Election 2012 on merit? Well, let us hope that Ghana’s Supreme Court will put our angsts to rest very soon; after all, the virtual propinquity that the Internet engenders means that all of us will become privy to the Court’s decision shortly after it is rendered.

© All rights reserved. The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, is currently working on his doctoral dissertation in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at George Mason University. He has also served as an adjunct professor in the department. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the same university. He is a member of the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration in the U.S.A. He may be followed on Twitter: @DanielKPryce. He invites the reader to join the pressure group “Good Governance in Ghana” on Facebook.com, which he superintends. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.