By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Thursday, October 8, 2015
For the records, let us say that the NPP leaders’ recourse to crying wolf over the voters register is not supported by facts. Indeed, the various groups that monitored Ghana’s Elections 2008 and 2012 were unanimous in their conclusion that those elections were free, fair, and reflective of the will of the electorate despite challenges in some aspects. After all, the United Nations, the African Union, local and internal election monitoring groups (including the Carter Foundation) acknowledged those challenges as inevitable and gave Ghana a resounding commendation. Those elections were held with the voters register compiled by the EC.
For the 2012 elections, especially, the monitors commended Ghana and cited it as a shining example of a country pursuing democracy the proper way. Despite the NPP’s useless petition against the outcome, the country still ranks high in electoral matters. Of course, that petition was the direct product of fetid minds overly fixated on a premeditated line of action. It was a matter of course for losers of elections that they had deceived themselves of winning in advance. When proved wrong, what else could they do but indulge in subterfuge?
Here they are again, resorting to anachronistic means instead of doing what every reasonable contestant in elections should be doing—going to the voters and explaining why he/she deserves the mandate to rule the country!! Every politician who knows the intricacies of the game will reach out to the voters and not waste time and resources on imaginary technicalities as if removing those technical hitches would ensure an automatic electoral victory. Why are these NPP people so handicapped upstairs? And they claim to be Ghana’s “interrectuals”?
To them, politics means militancy. Oh, how I pity them! In contemporary politics, any recourse to militancy leads to nothing but woe unless that militancy rakes in voter sympathy and support. Not so for the NPP, a chip of the old block that based everything on militancy and “book” knowledge, detaching itself from the mass of the people whose vote matters.
For the records, the NPP hasn’t polished its political game and has remained fixated on the kind of militancy that leads it astray. Under Akufo-Addo, especially, anything done in the name of the United Party tradition verges on militancy. Take, for instance, the street demonstrations by the defunct Alliance for Change and its outcome. Then, consider the happenings that characterized the electioneering season for Elections 2008 and 2012 and thereafter. Useless militancy!!
How about what all the NPP-affiliated groupings have been doing? Useless militancy as we see in street demonstrations and open display of hooliganism and threats against ethnic groups perceived as avowedly anti-NPP. Utterances by Akufo-Addo (“Yen Akanfuo” and “All die be die”), (Kennedy Agyapong (“Ashantis should kill Ewes and Gas among them”), and Yaw Osafo-Marfo (questioning why the majority propertied Akans should allow the minority ethnic groups to rule them) underscore the philosophy behind that militancy. Unfortunately, this kind of negative militancy causes electoral defeat.
On the contrary, positive militancy (as used by the Great Osagyefo and Jerry Rawlings) leads to political victory and security. Recall how the “Verandah Boys” could outmatch the so-called intellectuals in Danquah and Busia’s United Party. Turn to how Rawlings could use militancy to diminish the UP and CPP political traditions and usher the NDC into mainstream Ghanaian politics and you should understand my submission.
Unfortunately for the NPP and its Akufo-Addo, their recourse to militancy leads to certain failure, clearly because it is misplaced. As a political tool, militancy needs to be based on objective reality and harnessed properly for a good cause, not what the NPP is aiming at. As of now, their kind of militancy alienates; it portrays them as anarchists and impatient political novices to be feared.
Even, in passing judgement over their useless petition, the Supreme Court didn’t say anything specifically about the voters register as a flaw. It didn’t pinpoint that register as any cause for alarm. Its suggestions for electoral reforms had nothing to do specifically with that register; so, why is the NPP uplifting it now to create the unfortunate impression that it was a cause for its loss at Election 2012 and must be renewed for Election 2016? And why the militancy even though the EC has declared its intention to clean up that register(as it automatically does before general elections in the country)?
If compiling a new voters register is what will solve Ghana’s electoral problems as perceived by the NPP, then, solving the task lies on the shoulders of the EC and the Ghanaian Establishment, not outsiders. And everything boils down to funds, which the country doesn’t have to pump into that exercise. Unless the NPP people want to tell us that their dealings with the international community will yield the funds needed for compiling that register, all that they are doing is an exercise in laughable futility. Britain cannot impose anything on Ghana. Neither will the ECOWAS, the European Union, the United States, or the United Nations. So, why is the NPP over-extending itself, reaching out to them? So they will stop supporting Ghana if the voters register is not renewed for Election 2016? With what benefits to the NPP or what consequences to Ghana?
Folks, there is a lot to talk about; but we will end it here with a word of caution to the NPP: Countries that have already chalked successes in electoral matters and registered a good name as being on course to sustain their democracy cannot easily be written off by the international community just because one particular political party is crying itself lame over alleged flaws or technicalities that it considers inimical to its quest for political power. The international community knows Ghana for what it is and won’t change its stance just because the NPP is painting it black. All countries respect Ghana for what it is and have positioned themselves to work with it, even if they have any cause to complain about some aspects of governance here and there.
It is disgraceful and politically unproductive for the NPP to resort to this campaign of fear-mongering, especially at the time that the EC has gathered reports from the various political parties and stakeholders for appraisal to determine how to pr4epare the country for Election 2016. If the NPP is confident that its report captures all that the EC needs to know and to do, why won’t it wait for the EC to take the next step? Why rush to the international community as if they, not the EC, are to solve the problem? Misplacing priorities is dangerous in politics, which the NPP needs to know.
On this score, let me caution Akufo-Addo and his minions that time is not on their side. Reaching out to the electorate to solve the problems that prevented them from winning Elections 2008 and 2012 is an arduous task to do. They have little to gain from painting Ghana black in the eyes of the international community but have a lot to gain from cleaning their own stable and uniting in the fight to wrest power from the incumbent. From all that is happening, we can deduce that they are wasting their time and resources, chasing the mirage that they see in the voters register. Focusing on the electorate for goodwill should be their priority.
Apparently, the innovations introduced into the electoral process and the vigilance of the citizens will expose any attempt at electoral fraud, which the NPP must take note of. Unless it has any hidden motive behind its fixation on a renewal of the voters register, the NPP should do better than it has demonstrated so far. If it fails to move beyond technicalities, it will be shocked again when the polls are held next year.
What next for the NPP? Go to the United Nations to cry?
I shall return…
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