Opinions Sun, 30 Dec 2012
By Dr. Michael J.K. BokorThursday, December 27, 2012
The signals being sent out by the NPP are disheartening. I want to say at this point that the party’s choice of Afari Gyan for verbal attacks and open confrontation over Election 2012 is a disgrace, to say the least. And here is how the history of elections in this 4th Republic explains it:
This Afari Gyan was their target of scorn when the NPP lost the Presidential elections in 1992 and refused to participate in the Parliamentary elections, choosing instead to indulge in empty scholarship, writing The Stolen Verdict that did them no good. It was just a record of their lamentation for losing an election that they were ill-disposed toward winning because their Presidential Candidate (Adu Boahen) was no Presidential material. A successful historian he was, but Ghanaians knew better not to go for him as their President.
Many factors worked against him, which put Rawlings poles ahead of him in the race. Instead of assessing their own inadequacies and making amends for the future, the so-called “interrectuals” that they labelled themselves, chose to write a book on the elections. What a waste of talents?
Failing to learn any lesson, the NPP went into the 1996 elections, organized and successfully supervised by this same Afari Gyan. Kufuor was a paperweight before Rawlings and lost miserably. The NPP made some faint noise verging on abuse of incumbency and grudgingly accepted the outcome of the elections.
Come the 2000 elections, their situation changed for the better even though Kufuor had to face the late Atta Mills in a run-off that he won. None of these NPP loudmouths saw any reason to condemn Afari-Gyan at that time. The praised him for being a resolute and efficient Electoral Commissioner. That was just because they won.
Fast forward to Election 2004, which Afari Gyan supervised again and Kufuor won. We recall the anger that the NPP’s victory provoked in the ranks of the NDC, making NDC activists and Rawlings reject the results because they felt the elections were rigged to favour Kufuor. Rawlings’ agitations for Mills not to concede defeat or for him to lead street protests to reject the outcome of the polls failed. Mills would have none of that pushing and shoving. The NDC’s protests remained guttural only.
Come 2008 when Mills defeated Akufo-Addo in the run-off, the NPP functionaries rose up in arms against Afari-Gyan and were in the process of filing an injunction against him on a public holiday but for the intervention of the late B.J. da Rocha and Kufuor’s wise counsel to Akufo-Addo to accept the results. Then, Election 2012. Because Akufo-Addo and his NPP functionaries had already conditioned their minds for victory, they least expected anything to the country. After all, they had already judged their own self-congratulatory campaign stunts and the fact that there seemed to be much public disaffection against the Mills-Mahama administration and the huge credibility problems that faced the government (especially over the Woyome judgement debt scandal) to conclude that Election 2012 was a done deal for them.
That was why the NPP’s General Secretary (Kwadwo Owusu-Affriyie) would even announce that victory long before the mass of votes could be tallied nationwide. This display of unilateral, fly-blown, and pompous self-confidence could be part of the grand agenda or premeditation to set the stage for what they did after the official results had been released by the EC. If it was meant to pre-empt any declaration to favour President Mahama, it failed, as later developments proved.
We recall that in the 2004 elections, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey had usurped the authority of the EC to announce Kufuor as the winner. That unilateral act of indiscipline was contained somehow by the NDC and nothing untoward happened. In all these instances, Afari Gyan stood tall and performed his legitimate functions. On those two occasions that the NPP won the elections, none of its activists bad-mouthed him. On all the occasions that the party lost the elections, however, he turned out to be the butt of their incessant calumny. What has been happening since the declaration of the results is unhealthy. It is demoralizing and portrays the NPP as a nuisance, as far as the personal attacks on Afari Gyan are concerned. There is no justification for jumping on him this way to create the impression that he is unpatriotic or a scoundrel. We reiterate this negative impression as created by the pronouncements of Kwadwo Owusu-Affriyie at the Abbey Park, Kumasi, last Tuesday when he “summoned Afari Gyan, the Electoral Commission (EC) boss before God” for allegedly, rigging the polls in favour of the ruling NDC. He noted that Dr. Afari-Gyan’s name would forever be attached to rigging in Ghana politics following his decision to stoop low to rig the 2012 polls in favour of the NDC.
Why subject such a selfless and devoted public official to this kind of disparaging verbal attacks just because you didn’t win the elections “at all cost”? This shaking up of him is unwarranted, especially once the leadership of the NPP determined that court action would be the best means for seeking redress.
I think that this negative behaviour of the NPP members is devastating to our democracy too. It is demoralizing and will certainly not encourage public officials to serve the country with all that devotion and dedication, knowing very well how they will be treated in the end.
Even if the NPP has any cause to doubt Afari Gyan’s integrity, it shouldn’t have gone to this extent to give the wrong signal to public servants. In this sense, who will want to serve Ghana with all his heart? I won’t.
I know the NPP will not apologize to Afari Gyan for subjecting him to this ill treatment and will do so on its behalf. I encourage him not to give up or throw up his arms in despair. Millions of Ghanaians appreciate his hard work. He has done a marvelous job for the country and made huge contributions to our democracy for which he must rest assured that he is in our hearts and will continue to be there for ever and ever!
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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.