Why technicalities won’t save the NPP

Mon, 24 Dec 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We have so far been interrogating the NPP’s rejection of the results of the Presidential elections and wondered why the focus is on only that aspect of the general elections. As the party’s leaders continue to water down criticism for not proceeding to court as said more than umpteen times already, we will continue to unpack some of the critical issues that surround their stance.

They are known for rejecting elections that don’t favour them. They did so in 1992, 1996, 2008, and are now doing so.

Not only that. Any initiative for national development not coming from them too, they oppose. Since discrediting Nkrumah’s development projects as “prestigious” and going ahead to oppose everything else, including the creation of 45 new constituencies by the Electoral Commission for the just-ended elections, they confirm their “Ma te meho” element.

But do you know that out of the 45 new constituencies, they won 23 as against the NDC’s 22? They are not talking about that.

They are not even telling the whole world that the foul-mouthed Kennedy Agyapong was the NPP’s representative in the EC’s strong-room who appended his signature to all certified results that led to the EC’s certification of the election results and declaration of President Mahama as the winner. Having accused their own polling agents of being bribed to condone rigging, are they suggesting that the NDC bribed Kennedy Agyapong too?

We have been given to know that the NPP is convinced that it has enough incontrovertible evidence to enable it to win the case to be filed at the Supreme Court. We leave that to them because only they know what the quantum of incontrovertible evidence is.

But we won’t leave them alone for as long as their case seems skewed to us. Why is the NPP not pursuing the results of the Parliamentary elections as well? We don’t know exactly the language of their intended suit but are tempted to infer from goings-on that the case will not touch on the Parliamentary elections.

If that becomes a reality, then, the NPP will leave itself in the lurch at several points. As a friend has intimated, they are citing the Parliamentary results as part of the evidence to support their claim that the results of the Presidential elections were tampered with to favour President Mills. They have been heard saying that in some places, the results of the Parliamentary and Presidential elections were switched.

If they bring up this argument in their case, then one can assume that they are challenging the Parliamentary results as well. Since they have to file their case before the new Parliament is inaugurated, can their MPs be sworn in, when they are challenging the results?

The next question is: Will they be at the swearing in of President John Mahama? The answer to this question comes pat: “No,” especially if their boycott of the inauguration in Parliament of the three-man Advisory Council on the Presidential Transition Team yesterday is to guide us. But it is clear that the function proceeded without them, indicating that no one really needs their presence to validate the inauguration/investiture of President Mahama. They can choose to boycott that ceremony too and wait for the consequences in future.

The same issue applies to Akufo-Addo who, it is being speculated, will also boycott the inaugural ceremony. He will do so in protest at the issues which have directed the NPP’s attention toward the chambers of the Supreme Court.

More than that will be the main reason: having been defeated again and denied the opportunity to realize his ambition, he can’t afford to participate in a ceremony that will deepen his political wounds and send his ego spiraling out of control. It is natural for such sore losers to distance themselves from the events that remind them of their helplessness. But if he has the good spirit of sportsmanship to guide him, he could come to terms with reality, accept his fate, and let bygones be bygones.

But I know him for what he is and won’t expect him to bury the hatchet all too soon—and without ceremony too. He is now embarking on a door-to-door campaign of explanations, meeting the leaders of identifiable organizations and trying desperately to justify his dogged rejection of the results and as a vent to release his sorrows for sympathy.

So, if the NPP presses its case on the basis of the Presidential election results alone, it will be treading on only one lane to the Supreme Court, which isn’t good for it in this case of the general elections that it is disputing. It needs to go both ways to solidify its case. The problem that I can foresee is that there are too many gray areas not being covered by the NPP.

In order to move to the other lane to plug the gaps, the NPP may get stuck in the middle, which reminds me of what the late John Tetegah, Ghana’s renowned trade unionist and Ambassador to the former Soviet Union, once said:

“If you are walking on the street in any city in the world, you either walk on the left or on the right. If you walk in the middle, a car will knock you down!”

In sidelining the Parliamentary election results—and in lumping votes together to suggest that its analysis of the quantum of votes from 24,000 constituencies (out of the total 26,000) has confirmed its claims of rigging—the NPP is walking a tight rope.

Some of its members are even claiming that the total of votes for the NPP Parliamentary Candidates is in the region 355,000, meaning that it’s more than the 300,000 that President Mahama won to beat Akufo-Addo. The inference must be clear at this point: if the NPP’s Parliamentary Candidates had so much, why shouldn’t that reflect on Akufo-Addo’s performance to make him the winner?

Ahhaaaaaaaa! That’s the problem with this kind of thinking. Without even factoring in the issue of “skirt-and-blouse voting,” we needn’t go any further to see what the voting pattern reveals. In areas (including some supposedly comfortable home ground for Akufo-Addo), the trends show that while voters gave the NPP Parliamentary Candidates more votes than they did those of the NDC, they didn’t do same for the NPP’s Presidential Candidate.

In some cases too, the gap between Akufo-Addo and President Mahama wasn’t as wide as it was between the Parliamentary Candidates. Then, move to the NDC’s favourable grounds and you will see the difference to know why President Mahama could easily sweep past Akufo-Addo the way he did. If the NPP accepted the mere 40,000 with which the late President Mills defeated Akufo-Addo in the 2008 run-off, what is their problem now that the gap has been stretched by 300,000 votes?

I have very serious doubts if its arguments will hold water without the inclusion of the Parliamentary results too. But I leave it to them. Probably that may be why they are dilly-dallying, 14 days after they had indicated having enough evidence to proceed to court.

They lost the elections but are just saving face with all these threats of going to court. What they will not admit is that the voter turnout in the NPP’s strongholds was around 80% as against the 70% for the NDC’s strongholds. Again, they will admit that their defeat was partly due to their shoddy electioneering campaigns, which made it possible for the NDC to make inroads into their own backyard, increasing its proportion of votes by 2 to 3%, which explains why their claims lack substance.

Now, here comes the substance underlying the NPP’s intentions, as revealed by one of their sympathizers contributing to the Say It Loud discussion forum on Ghanaweb:

“If the presidential elections results are challenged at the Supreme Court before January 7, 2013, there will be no swearing in of President Mahama on January 7, unless this case is finished by the courts before January 7. An interim injunction will be placed on the declaration by Afari Gyan until the case is deal with at the court.”

Sheer ignorance and misplaced mischief. If the NPP files its case, the EC has 10 days to respond to it before the court proceedings can begin. Does this one alone not take us past January 7? And the inauguration of the President is slated for January 7. Technically, then, the NPP is disadvantaged already.

Again, another claim:

“There would be no legitimacy to swearing in the President whilst the Presidential elections results are being disputed in court. The Chief Justice who empanels the Supreme Court to sit on the case will not turn around to swearing anyone until the case is finished by the court.

“John Mahama and his NDC apparatus will step down on January 7, 2013, to the Chief Justice; for there will be no legitimacy for them to exercise executive power while the Presidential election results are being disputed in court.

“This is the legal strategy behind the NPP’s delay tactics in filing the suit. The writ will be filed on December 27.”

Although not expressed as the official position of the NPP, this viewpoint raises interesting issues to help us know all the more the desperation that has (mis)guided the NPP’s politicking all this while.

The technicalities that its leaders are looking for will not be easy to get to overturn the scale in Akufo-Addo’s favour. Political power is won at the polls, not at the Supreme Court. If they have the balls, let them proceed to the Supreme Court and leave Ghanaians alone to move on with their lives. That’s my challenge to them: Go to court before all else!

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.