By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The predictable decision by Ghana’s Electoral Commission to summarily disqualify the presidential candidacy of former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and her National Democratic Party (NDP), ought to be hotly contested. It ought to be hotly contested not only by the primarily aggrieved parties but, indeed, by the entire faction of the country’s opposition parties, notably the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) – (See “Disqualified Konadu Demands Justice” Ghanaweb.com 2/19/12).
While my personally inveterate and non-negotiable disaffection for the former First Lady is a matter of public record, nonetheless, what is at stake here is the fair and equitable ministration of democratic accountability, justice and fair-play in Fourth-Republican Ghana.
Furthermore, the blistering media fallout generated, largely by angry key operatives of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the wake of the historically conciliatory meeting between Nana Akufo-Addo and former President Rawlings, the estranged founding-father of the NDC, offers more than ample forensic testimony to the fact of the EC and the NDC having sinisterly and deliberately collaborated to squelch the admittedly inordinate and even flagrant political ambitions of the former First Lady.
Then also ought to be significantly observed the fact that earlier on, the same Afari-Gyan-led Electoral Commission had publicly and officially certified the National Democratic Party as a legitimately constituted active participant of Election 2012. In other words, the EC needs to offer the Ghanaian electorate a more palpable reason than sheer documentary or technical glitches as primary causative motive for disqualifying the NDP and its leader.
On the sanguine side, the fact of the NDP having been initially certified by the EC as a legitimate political organization, perforce, gives the Konadu-Rawlings Group a license to campaign in Election 2012. On the latter score, Mrs. Rawlings could publicly and visibly throw her weight behind any other political party that she so desires by vigorously campaigning for the same.
Ultimately, however, it is imperative for the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party to issue a strong signal to both the Electoral Commission and the brazenly vested National Democratic Congress that in a salutary, albeit fledgling, democratic culture such as Fourth-Republican Ghana’s, the sort of abjectly crude political arm-twisting being shamelessly pursued by the EC and the NDC will not be tolerated under any circumstances. The NPP can more effectively do so by joining the NDP in an Amicus Brief, once the Josiah Aryeh-chaired group has formally filed its intended complaint with the Appeals Court, or any other legitimately constituted court of adjudication which decides to take up this crucial matter.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York October 19, 2012
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