NPP politicians now being chased by the wild geese?

Sun, 8 Sep 2013 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013

The post-verdict situation in the NPP is a pointer to what lies ahead of the party unless it changes for the better. There is so much fire burning there that one wonders what can settle emotions and help the members redirect their energies to useful deeds for the party’s sake.

Too many of them seem not to know what has hit them, and they are still flexing muscles to fight the wind. Shadow boxing in this sense is a mere dissipation of useful energy. Akufo-Addo has taken events in their stride and earned a measure of goodwill from across the terrain. Not so for his lieutenants, especially Obetsebi-Lamptey and Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, who have come to notice with statements either contradicting Akufo-Addo’s stance on the Supreme Court’s verdict or creating misleading impressions that the NPP has already settled on Akufo-Addo as its flagbearer for Election 2016.

Obetsebi-Lamptey has tilted toward seeking a review of the Supreme Court’s verdict (at least, from his statement published by Myjoyonline yesterday) just because Tsatsu Tsikata has opened a can of worms on Justice Anin-Yeboah. The criminal contemnor (Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie) is all over the place, making his presence felt but achieving very little to boost the NPP’s image or chances for the future.

I don’t blame them because they know where they stand. The National Executive Council of the NPP says it will soon call a congress for the party to choose its officers for the various positions in readiness for Election 2016. Obetsebi-Lamptey and Owusu Afriyie know what lies ahead and will definitely want to make their voices heard and be seen as still doing their assignments so that they can earn the delegates' nod to retain their posts. Scared stiff already? As wearers of the shoe, only they know where it pinches!

In all that has been happening in the NPP camp (regarding Election 2012 and the petition hearing), there is much to prove that morbid desperation for political office “at all cost” is the main motivation. Morbid desperation has no room for logic but sophistry—and a shoddy one at that, devoid of reason and honesty.

Remove logic from human affairs and you will be left with what you see happening in the NPP camp. When Gabby Asare Otchere Darko revealed that the NPP’s attitude toward the election petition wasn’t based on logic, he left me in no doubt that the current streaks of trauma, agony, anger, contradictions, incoherence, and inconsistency would be the outcome to characterize the post-verdict atmosphere in the NPP camp. And in truth, have I not been proved right?

Without logic guiding their political manouevres, they couldn’t be expected to win a case that naturally would have been driven by logic and reality. And the general elections against which the NPP leaders had protested were framed around logic—the constitutionally mandated institution for conducting elections in the country to put together all the materials and framework for holding the elections; a congenial atmosphere being created for eligible voters to go through the electoral procedures and cast their ballots; the ballots so cast to be counted, certified as valid, and announced in the open at each polling station; the results so certified to be collated and transmitted to the strongroom of the EC for further scrutiny and declaration of winners and losers. Logic is at play at each juncture. Logic confirms that everything was done and the results announced.

Bring in illogic, and the situation changes. Illogic will motivate the losers to seek redress at the Supreme Court, basing their petition on nothing but legal technicalities, not the votes cast to determine winners and losers. Illogic will dictate to the malcontents to gather pink sheets and use them as the “water-tight” evidence and not the primary election material (ballot papers). Illogic will direct the petitioners to skew their data set from only the strongholds of their main opponent (President Mahama) and present a tilted version of what really happened on Election Day.

Illogic will motivate the petitioners to turn to clerical errors in the pink sheets as the basis for demanding the annulment of over 4 million votes before Akufo-Addo could be seen as winner. Illogic will narrow the scope to those technicalities as the basis for the petition and not the demand for recounting of votes. Finally, illogic will inspire the petitioners to expect nothing but victory even when they know that there is more to Election 2012 than meet their eyes on the basis of pink sheets.

Illogic will spur them on to the dark chamber of the Supreme Court not because they have incontrovertible evidence but because they are assured that they have sympathizers on the 9-member panel hearing the petition to root for them. In the end, logic trounced illogic. Knowing all these facts, who will be surprised at the languishing going on in the NPP camp? Not me!!

Almost a week after being told again that they lost Election 2012, the NPP leaders and their followers are still smarting and adamant that something drastic went wrong to deprive Akufo-Addo of the Presidency. They still cannot bring themselves to comprehend the factors that caused Akufo-Addo’s defeat nor are they willing to let go. They don’t even want to be told that there are more elections ahead of them; neither will they want to see eye-to-eye with anybody telling them that their defeat at Election 2012 had more to do with the personal qualities of their own Presidential Candidate than any collusion between the Electoral Commission, the NDC, and President Mahama to rig the elections.

They don’t want to believe that they lost elections genuinely conducted and supervised by the EC, elections that didn’t record any anti-democratic incident such as multiple voting, stuffing of ballot boxes with illegal material or snatching of ballot boxes by thugs. They won’t even bat an eyelid to be told that the electorate voted in a peaceful atmosphere, even though technical glitches forced the EC to extend the elections beyo0nd December 7, 2012. Tell them that the elections passed off as the best organized and best patronized in the country’s history and they will bare their teeth at you.

Move beyond that to tell them that the local and international election monitors saw the elections as free, fair, and transparent, and be ready for their wicked look or threats to dress you down. And they have done so to those of us who don’t want to buy into their reasons for rejecting the outcome of Election 2012. Am I surprised at this display of incredulity? Not in the least. After all, I am reminded that they have a history of behaving this way, especially when overtaken by events.

They did it in the First Republic and in the first Presidential elections held in this Fourth Republic in November 1992 when trounced by Jerry Rawlings and came out with The Stolen Verdict that didn’t teach them any useful lesson with which to do politics better for victory. They did it again when Akufo-Addo lost the run-off to the late President Mills, having narrowly won the first round and pumped himself up for the Presidency. Unfortunately, the table turned against him and the Tain constituency sent him into a tail spin that brought him close to the High Court but for the timely intervention by the voices of reason within his own party.

Come Election 2012 and the NPP camp had geared up for a “one-touch” victory, apparently because of self-assurances and high-sounding prophecies from their allies in the Christian religious community. Phew!! If only wishes were horses! They lost but won’t take the outcome lying down.

It was clear from goings-on that the NPP camp was walking a tight rope and prepared for nothing but an Akufo-Addo victory, apparently playing on the intelligence of the electorate with their catch-phrase of fee-free senior high school education and the resounding self-assurances gleaned from it on account of the self-serving analyses that the party’s organizers had done of the political situation.

This monomaniacal approach to vote-seeking left the door open for their political opponents to sneak through in poisoning the minds of the electorate, using several factors, the most potent of which was the persistent harping on Akufo-Addo’s personal character streaks. So effective was this weapon that those who might have earlier decided to vote for him changed their minds on voting day.

One might ask: Why won’t the NPP people expect nothing but victory? After all, Akufo-Addo had spent almost four years marketing himself to the electorate, adopting strategies that brought him closer to the doorsteps of the electorate than President Mahama did in his 40 days of campaigning. He ate and drank water with the people in their homes and sweated under the sweltering sun just as they did. In effect, he mingled with them to suggest that he was one of them; but the people knew he wasn’t yet off his high horse of privileged living.

Take those in the Central Region, for instance, with whom he had rubbed shoulders more than all others where he went as he criss-crossed the country, campaigning. The votes from the Central Region contributed largely to his defeat, indicating that the voters didn’t buy into all that he portrayed or sold to them about his capabilities as a future President. Don’t tell me about sympathy votes for the late President Mills as his bane.

There was more to the issue, which will not be easy to tackle unless there is a drastic change in outlook and political strategy. But judging from the posturing going on after the Supreme Court’s verdict, will we expect such a drastic change any soon as the clock ticks off toward the future?

The problems that dogged the NPP camp all the way from Election 2012 to the petition hearing stage still persist. The NPP camp isn’t politically astute enough to prepare for contingencies, especially electoral defeat and how to let sleeping dogs lie and move beyond tantrums and vile allegations against anybody seen as a detractor (including the Electoral Commission Chair and President Mahama).

Their main problem is the fixed, rigid, and paralyzing mentality of “victory-at-all-costs” that undergirds the “book politics” that they have been doing all these years. There is no willingness to see the other side of the coin, which is their undoing.

Evidently, with the mentality of “entitlement” and “one-touch victory” at the polls, no room is created for defeat. I am more than amused at this kind of tunnel-vision politics—one based on formulas as if the electoral decisions of the voters can be captured, compartmentalized, and frozen in time; as if they can catch the votes on hooks!

That is the very mentality that guided their attitude to the election petition hearing and its outcome too. So wrapped up in their own convictions, they don’t go the extra mile to expect anything to the contrary. That was how they approached Election 2012 and got jolted. They didn’t learn any lesson and approached the petition hearing with the same attitude and public posturing. Why should they refuse to accept their fate, then?

Had they paused to probe more seriously into issues, they would realize that their petition was deformed at conception and still born at filing. How could they revive it to survive throughout the many months of grilling and drilling by counsel for the respondents whose incisive cross-examination of Dr. Bawumia left the petition all the more doomed and Akufo-Addo’s fate sealed tighter even before the verdict could be announced?

Those of us seeing the big picture knew from scratch that the petition won’t succeed and pointed it out with cogent arguments and facts. We didn’t have to bog ourselves down with anything but the logic behind all that was happening. And logic is the foundation of law. That was why when Otchere Darko discounted logic in the workings of the NPP, I laughed out loud, then, heaved a huge sigh of relief that I would in less than no time be proved right that the petition lacked logic and won’t succeed.

Well, after 8 months, the battle is over; and reality (what exactly took place on voting day) has trounced technicalities (over-dependence on administrative errors in pink sheets). And Akufo-Addo has chosen to concede defeat and have a well-deserved respite. Those in the NPP doing otherwise will soon realize how endangered they are. And they will no more be on a wild goose chase but will be expending energy running away from the wild geese chasing them into the political wilderness.

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.