Ghana’s Democracy Under Threat: The Reward Of Unbridled Hypocrisy
Ghana, in her democratic experiment in the nearly three-decade journey outwardly looks good, but inwardly bad. Yes, internally it looks bad, but not to all eyes – the praise singers will never ever see anything evil about it except when in opposition. That is where it looks extremely ugly.
This piece is not in any way enticed by the happenings from 1993 when the 4th Republican Constitution was birthed into action. The concentration is on the 2020 General Elections which results is somehow gradually driving Ghana into a state of chaos.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has served noisy notice, that it is NOT accepting what it terms a “rigged verdict” in favour of the incumbent New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) candidate, Nana Akufo Addo.
It is this rejection by the NDC that has brought the hypocrisy in our governance system by statesmen to fore. Hitherto, it abounded, just as Malcolm X’s quote above put it bluntly – but this time around the HYPOCRISY is too glare. However, and painfully so, it is coming from voices which must be heard speaking truth to power – which is lacking here.
We have had the Faith-based Organizations (FBOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Traditional Authorities (TAs) and other powerful voices who could be heard by the governing political authority of Ghana. It is NOT so, however.
Hypocrisy has taken off their voices, and they now appear dogs who have conjured long tails wagging in between their thighs. “GO TO COURT” has suddenly become the common mantra, being a message of ‘good counsel’ (?) to the opposition NDC. ‘Going to court is NOT our fear’; the NDC seems to be saying. ‘But we want the common Ghanaian voter who voted for us to be appraised as to the real outcome of their verdict which has been whimsically stolen for the NPP’. How does this position make the NDC taking an unconventional route in seeking JUSTICE?
It has embarked on a series of demonstrations in some Regional Capitals, and lately the national Capital, Accra. The Accra one became somehow violent which the police blame it on the demonstrators, but they have denied same. If that is true per the claim by the police, it is condemnable, because same were organized in Wa in the Upper West Region, and the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, without any serious recorded acts of violence except the burning of car tires which are equally condemnable.
As the above is going on and the leadership also busy gathering documentary ‘amour’ to see them through to court when so chosen, the hypocrites are on its heels, yelling – ‘GO TO COURT’. But as the calls are pressed on, they forget that the foundation of JUSTICE dwells on good faith, and that evidence is lacking largely in our judicial system.
Right from the start of the Electoral Commission’s (E.C) desire to compile a new Voters Register “…at-all-cost…” an environment of mistrust was created, in which the E.C defied all logic to go with the old Register. Not even a good number of CSOs who, as one voice put much intellectual thought-analysis to caveat the E.C, moved it to succumb.
In the midst of stake-holders forceful position against the exercise, a very influential personality of the ruling government, the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, comes to make a loud statement. He asserted that when the new Voters Register is compiled, the NDC will “…NEVER…” come to power again.
He is NOT a mean personality in the NPP, and he makes a statement of the sort, and we expect the NDC to take this without fear and concern? And did we know what he knew before making such a loaded statement?
We ought to remember the machinations that led to the ouster of Mad. Charlotte Osei and two other E.C. Commissioners. In their place is Jean Mensa, Bossman Asare and one other. The plans have thus been put in place to whittle the People’s Power “…at-all-cost…” for the incumbent Nana Addo.
The opposition NDC has leadership of sufficient intelligence to see through the machinations to rob Ghanaians of their democratic right – and will NOT allow that to happen. It made enough noise and sounded the alarm bells. A few voices added up but were disdainfully ignored. At this stage, IMANI Africa stands out tall to be specially mentioned.
Other bigger voices were loud enough, but IMANI almost made it a one-on-one affair with the E.C – and had intellectually disarmed its position on the matter. BUT, it was a lame CSO against a fortified power.
“True peace is NOT merely the absence of war, it is the presence of JUSTICE (I own the emphasis)”, Jane Adams. Yes! We had the ‘absence of war’ in Ghana, but INJUSTICE prevailed – still prevailing and that is the war.
The opposition NDC cried for justice from the judiciary but were ignored. Recalling the issue of one’s Ghanaian nationality by prove of the Ghanaian Birth Certificate which was disapproved by the Supreme Court of Ghana, is a classic case of disappointment to the Ghanaian citizenry to believe in the judiciary.
COVID-19 pandemic was not a bad enough threat to public health for our judicial system to consider either, by stopping the various registration exercises which were to take place at the time. They gave a judicial approval for the National Identification Authority (NIA) to go ahead with the registration in the Eastern Region. Despite the judicial victory, it took the NIA’s own discretion to suspend the exercise.
Rungs of the judiciary CANNOT be totally faulted in this regard of mistrust. BUT, when the apex court of the land gives rulings that negatively impact on people’s livelihood in whatever form, it leaves much to be desired and enforces mistrust in it. When Justice is given to the wrong entity because it is a force that cannot be challenged, it is NO longer considered justice – but INJUSTICE!
Even though the discourse here bothers on ‘political’ INJUSTICE, this digression tells a huge story, which is on former employees of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA). A classic case of ‘you can’t fight Government’. Why? Because the judiciary is a creation of Government. So, one may have a good case, but for as long as a Government is going to lose so much, the Judiciary ‘MUST’ go to the rescue. The so-called ”Casual Workers” as they were so identified, some of whom worked for as long as one (1) to ten (10) years were discriminatorily laid off as such. These ‘Apartheid’ (like) former workers of GPHA took this glaring naked case of injustice to the High Court in Tema and won. The outcome was NOT without drama which cannot be skipped.
At the concluding point of the hearing when judgment was to be delivered, the Judge hearing the case was strangely given three rapid Letters of Transfer within one month to three transfer destinations in the country. The final one took him to the Bolgatanga High Court, but I understand he insisted delivering judgment on cases which he had concluded. These actions were borne out of nothing, as alleged behind the scenes chauvinistic pressures on him to act in a certain stead abounded. Finally, judgment was in favour of the former workers.
The GPHA, upon the pronouncement of their fall in the High Court, did NOT make any indication in open court that it will appeal the judgment. However, exactly one week after the judgment, judges ranging from the Superior Courts allegedly descended the Tema Port, under the guise of “a working tour”. Granted it was pre-arranged before the Authority was defeated in court, a considered sense of MORALITY would have had them call it off, or call for a postponement. BUT NO! In matters of law, morality is NOT a considered virtue.
The Judges were allegedly given a cruise beyond the breakwaters and later hosted at the Director General’s Guest House at Site 3, Community 1, Tema. Note that a tour of this nature had no media coverage. However, a week or so later, a “Notice of Appeal” was filed at the Court of Appeal, appealing the High Court judgment. It was obvious? The “Casuals” lost out with only one dissenting voice amongst the three who sat on the case.
His (dissenting judge) contention was that throughout the hearing at the Court below, GPHA never ever denied the so-called “Casuals” having worked variously with it at given periods spanning one to over ten years. His colleague JUSTICES cited procedural errors that the Plaintiff Respondents made, but he questioned why should such errors take precedence over facts to deny the former workers – JUSTICE?
The case proceeded to the Supreme Court, and the same ‘PROCEDURAL ERRORS’ allegedly took center-stage to still deprive the poor former workers – JUSTICE. It ended up in a review where they lost out again.
So, over 4,000 former so-called former “CASUAL WORKER” of both the Tema and Takoradi Ports were denied JUSTICE, all due to legal technicalities coming out of the cloak of “PROCEDURAL ERRORS”. Various documented statements were made by management of GPHA to the effect that the quantum of monetary compensation that was to be paid the workers per the first judgment would have collapsed the Authority. So, the denial of JUSTICE was NOT grounded in law – but rather the government must be rescued against the now destitute citizens of Ghana.
I played a major role in initiating the legal discourse for the victims of INJUSTICE, hence my deep appreciation of the case.
“All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an INDEPENDENT and VIRTUOUS JUDICIARY” (my emphasis) Andrew Jackson. And herein comes the question; do we have a truly independent and virtuous judiciary in Ghana that can stand and speak TRUTH to the citizenry and authority? I have my doubt, and it is the doubt of the NDC as well.
The NDC as a political Party is NOT a lucky one per the media, CSOs and Faith-based Organizations’ open antagonisms against it when in power or without. A well-rehearsed Corus that the media played a role, in seeing the NDC in negative light has been too visible.
The success story of these propagandists as a machinery, came to bear in the 2016 general elections. ‘INCOMPETENT/SUPER CORRUPT GOVERNMENT’ et all the ceteras, abounded in both print and electronic media. That is how Ghanaians were hoodwinked into believing a better government for us was to vote the ‘DEVIL’ out and bring in the ‘ANGEL’.
Stringing all the malaise of the NPP in government will take a fortune of time so I won’t go there. But we are all clear as to the rot in our system in the past almost four years.
Back to the electoral criminal enterprise where the know-it-all people and organizations see everything wrong with the NDC, in spite of the tenacity with which it is gathering evidence, and sharing same with the general public – warming itself to court at its own pace.
HYPOCRITES, OR NEUTRALISTS
In the dungeon of this nouveau elections robbery in the history of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana, we have hypocrites who parade as the ‘NEUTRAALISTS’ but are deviants and unrepentant surrogates of the evil merchants. They run their mouths across the media landscapes seeing everything wrong with the NDC without shame.
Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu has this admonishment for them: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
This is exactly the situation the NDC metaphorically finds itself (because it cannot be a mouse to the NPP’s elephant). The so-called ‘neutralists’, the Christian Council of Ghana; the Ghana Peace Council et all, have LOUDLY condemned the NDC demonstrations, but in a mute tone, lambasted the post voting violence perpetrated by ‘State sanctioned’ killing and maiming of innocent Ghanaians.
Organized Church antagonisms against the NDC has never been that hidden since its formation even though they were more hitherto – civil as against its present openness in foul language. The Atta Mills/Mahama period was the worst. It was the time that the Bishop Ayensus, the Marteys, the Otabils and their ilk descended heavily on the government, calling it names. In fact they were too loose in their Pentecostal outpouring for my liking.
The worst acts of hypocrisy was yet to emerge – come Act, 2019 (Act 999) on VIGILANTISM AND RELATED OFFENCES ACT
“Don’t be surprised if any party does not demonstrate a commitment to ending this [vigilantism], we may have no choice but to use our pulpits to campaign against such parties because if you encourage this, you are not encouraging democracy. You are not trying to help build our country.”
The above is what came out from the mouth of Very Rev. Fr. Lazarus Anondee, Secretary Gen. of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), when the NDC refused to sign the Peace Pact on the Final Roadmap to end Vigilantism. Reasons given by the NDC were among others, that only four items in the document had to do with political parties, whilst the rest concerned other very important stakeholders who had not signed. This was enough grounds for the Secretary-General to have made the statement, which to me sounded his personal opinion than a collective position by the Conference. There has, however, not been any correction to my suspicion in spite of a concern I expressed on GhanaWeb to that effect.
Before this, the NDC postulated its fear on the sincerity on the part of the NPP on the disbandment of Vigilante Groups in Ghana. It cited the Invisible Forces that were tactically being drafted into the Security Agencies and raised fears of same being used diabolically against it.
In all the legitimate concerns stated, all the voices that matter in this country were muted, perhaps under the guise of ‘NEUTRALITY’. Now, how come these hitherto silent ‘know-it-all’ Organization/individuals, have found their lost voices and mouths, running over one another seeing every step taken by the NDC – wrong.
Much of the calls coming from these ‘neutral’ voices are calling on John Dramani Mahama to concede and congratulate the criminal/illegally declared winner and fight his case in court. Former President Mahama should ignore such noises and press on for the forensic auditing of the results. He should NOT go to court because: ”The crisis of modern [day] Democracy is a profound one. Free elections and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market has reduced them to commodities available on sale to the highest bidder.” This thought-provoking take by Arundhati Roy is worth considering by Mahama and the NDC.
The route to challenging electoral irregularities and thievery is NOT cast in stone that going to court is the only avenue. The E.C. has the capacity to set up an Electoral Auditing Team with stakeholders represented, including the United Nations, the African Union etc.
But Ghanaians must remember, and as told by Martin Luther King, that “In the end, we will remember NOT the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Camilus Maalneriba-Tia Sakzeesi
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