One Year Down The Lane-What Has The 2012 Election Petition Taught Us?
Exactly a year ago, today, 29th August 2013, Ghanaians witnessed a peaceful but protracted election petition case that was brought before the Supreme Court. The case which lasted for eight months was brought before the court by the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party(NPP) led by Nana Akufo Addo, the flag bearer of the party at the time who was also the first petitioner in the election dispute, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the running mate and the second petitioner and Jake Otanka Obitsebi Lamptey, the party chairman and the third petitioner.
As the case was being looked at by the Supreme Court with nine justices and Justice William Atuguba as chairman, many Ghanaians developed mixed feelings about the outcome of the election with many predicting chaos in the peaceful republic in the event that the outcome went against one candidate or the other.
Many people especially store owners locked their stores and hid in their homes with the intention of avoiding any mishap. I happened to be in the capital too and I recall how my brother refused to go to work simply for the fear of any chaos after the declaration of the verdict. I was indoors and glued to the television. I told myself that in the event of any unfortunate incident, I would slash with a cutlass beside me anyone who tried to threaten my dear life.
That was the nature of the tension that heightened in my heart at that trying time and of course many Ghanaians especially those who felt vulnerable had similar tensions too.
But to our greatest surprise and to the glory of the Almighty God in the highest , Ghanaians demonstrated that they were not ready for any untoward thing, that they love peace and unity and above all that they love the rule of law and would do anything to let it rule. Kudos to all peace-loving Ghanaians at this juncture.
It is very important here to congratulate some illustrious sons who expressed confidence in the rule of law and helped us to have a so peaceful election petition case at the court.
Prominent among them was Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, the presidential candidate of the main opposition party and also the first petitioner of the court case. The confidence and believe he demonstrated in the rule of law has left giant footprints in our democratic history for generations to follow. So it was not surprising at all when he gained a statesmanship status after he peacefully accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Unlike in many countries where political leaders took to the streets with weapons to seek justice, Nana Akuffo Addo behaved maturely and led the way in deepening Ghana's democracy. Even after accepting the verdict, many of his party men criticised him for rushing to accept the verdict but he stood by his words to this day. The speed with which he accepted the verdict has won him plaudits. If he had delayed in accepting the verdict or had simply gone silent on it, that would still have communicated a lot and the fears of those who had stocked food would have heightened.
This part of his acceptance speech makes me more patriotic ''...for the sake and love of our country, we must embark on the path that builds rather than destroys to deal with our disappointments.'' So now do you know the main reason why he accepted the verdict?
He summed it up in eight words-for the sake and love of our country. Congratulations once again, Ghana's illustrious son, Nana Akufo-Addo for making Ghana an icon of democracy in Africa and of course to those who helped you in this landmark case, not forgetting Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and Jake Obitsebi Lamprey.
As a matter of fact, I cannot afford to omit the vital roles played by Justice William Atuguba and the nine justices who sat on the case. Without them, our great republic would have been burnt beyond recognition by some groups of people who thought that the nation belonged to them.
I recall them handing over custodial sentences to two individuals, Stephen Atubiga and Ken Kuranchie who showed contempt of court and tried to destroy our nation by their irresponsible utterances. Two other victims who showed contempt but however escaped custodial sentences were Hopeson Adorye, leader of the Young Patriots of the NPP and then General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie popularly known as Sir. John.
In fact, the Justices deserve an honourable mention as their firmness saved this country of a horrible future.
WHAT HAS THE PETITION TAUGHT US?
1.That the rule of law should be held in high esteem.
2. That Ghana belongs all her citizens and not just a few people.
3. That elections are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.
4. That there should always be the need for peace and tranquility as Ghana is the only country we have.
Long live multiparty democracy in Ghana!
Long live Ghana!!