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06.01.2021 Feature Article

Now That The Election Is [practically] Over....

Now That The Election Is [practically] Over....
LISTEN JAN 6, 2021

NO, it isn't quite over yet. But as Donald Trump, for one, has just learnt, resisting the expressed will of the people is an exercise in futility. A system yields millions of votes to you, which you accept gladly. But when it comes to the decisive few votes which show that the majority of voters – in smaller or larger numbers – preferred to vote for your rival, you say, “No! Some of my votes votes were stolen! I won!”

Now, if your opponent was inclined – or had the ability – to steal votes, why didn't he grab a lot more, but was silly enough to leave you such a sizeable portion of votes that you would feel able to make a claim for public support? Huh?

Well, over here, it's up to the courts to decide. Sadly, the Electoral Commission's mistakes have allowed a bit of doubt to be cast on some aspects of the results. No-one should be handed a gift through mistakes, especially in what was obviously a very very competitive election – perhaps the toughest we've ever run. To allow arithmetical error to tarnish the results of what was otherwise such an obviously well-run election, is quite honestly unforgivable. How could a mistake occur in a simple issue like totalling votes cast and arriving at the correct percentage thereof that was gained by each presidential candidate?

I have always canvassed the view that in our selection of personnel to man state institutions, we have become completely anaesthetised by the paper qualification shortcut. He/She has a first class degree, or a second upper; ipso facto, he/she is the best candidate.

Nonsense! You cannot work in an office that deals in figures if you're not quick with mental arithmetic. You observe some figures, and they don't look right to you. So you ask for them to be checked! Then you may discover that someone didn't input a correct figure somewhere. It can happen anywhere.

Look, the other day, I discovered that in an important document, someone had written 25 instead of 24! How did that happen? Had I not suspected the figure to be wrong and checked up (and I'm no arithmetical genius!) , the mistake would have stayed and probably been discovered somewhere later, when it would have caused a great deal of harm.

Spotting and checking mistakes in figures is a special skill that is often acquired through long years of practice, and which should be appreciated and remunerated adequately. I remember that in my days at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, a certain Mr Crabbe was the wizard in the administration department. You T & T claim; your leave period entitlement; your loan repayments – none of these would receive approval unless they looked right to Mr Crabbe and he had signed them off. How many Mr Crabbes has the Electoral Commission got?

Another aspect of the election which has attracted my attention is the rationalisation of the causes of defeat by those who were not successful. Many people in the NPP, in particular, have ignored the palpable pomposity of some Ministers; the annoyance caused to the public by too many official motorcades; and the lack of regular visits to their constituencies by some MPs – all of which are resented – and instead, focused on the Government's anti-galamsey stance as a major cause of the defeat of many sitting MPs.

I am afraid the galamsey apologists haven't done their research and are largely talking through their hats. Where is my evidence in suppor4t of the above statement?

Here it comes – just two examples: The Member of Parliament for the Bekwai Constituency in Ashanti, Mr Joe Osei-Owusu (who is First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly) had a lot to lose if he was defeated in the December 2020 election. Yet he remained easily the most hostile MP – with regard to galamsey – in the entire House. He said that if he had the power, he would order that galamsey operators should be shot on sight!

Here is a report on a debate on galamsey that occurred in Parliament in 2018:

QUOTE: Parliament was divided Tuesday [13 March 2018] over whether to shoot and kill people engaged in the pollution of water bodies through illegal mining – 'galamsey' – and other harmful environmental practices. The First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, [as well as] the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, spoke in this vein.

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye … [also cautioned criminals that the security agencies had the right to use force to prevent crime. He said the use of force, which was allowed in the Constitution, might result in the criminals losing their lives.

The contributions followed a statement made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kumbungu, Mr Ras Mubarak, on the military operation in his constituency to prevent people from polluting the Nawuni River, which is a source of water supply to the Tamale Metropolis and its environs.

He said the military operation in the constituency had resulted in the destruction of an excavator, tipper trucks and motorbikes belonging to people engaged in sand winning.

Recent military operations had led to burning down of equipment belonging to alleged illegal miners in some parts of the country.

The First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu said nobody had the right to mine illegally in the country. He said the approach used in preventing illegal mining was not yielding the needed results and added that if he had his way, he would legislate for security agencies to shoot and kill people engaged in the destruction of the environment.

That, he said, would deter others from engaging in illegal mining and destroying the environment.

[The Majority leader], Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, [agreed and also] said the Constitution did not frown on the use of force to prevent the commission of crime, explaining that such exercise of force might lead to death. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the illegal miners had destroyed water bodies, while illegal sand winning and harmful activities had destroyed the forest cover. UNQUOTE

Now, we all know that the NDC flag-bearer, Mr John Dramani Mahama, used galamsey as as a propaganda tool with which to try and win votes away from the NPP. He even went as far as pledging to grant an amnesty to the people the NPP Government had prosecuted and convicted for engaging in galamsey. So, you would have thought that the electorate would favour NDC candidates in constituencies whose MPs not only wanted to convict galamsey operators but would, if they had their way, shoot to kill them.

Yet --- hahaha! --- the electorate of Ghana is not as stupid as Mr Mahama thought. The people in the two MPs' constituencies, whose water is polluted and who have to buy sachet water (when they can afford it) in order to be able to drink water, returned both MPs back to Parliament. Here is a report on the return of “Joe The Wise” to Parliament:

QUOTE Joe Wise retains Bekwai seat

Despite stiff competition from an Independent candidate in the parliamentary election for the Bekwai Constituency, Mr. Joseph Osei Owusu of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) managed to retain his seat.

Mr. Osei Owusu, also called Joe Wise, polled 40,275 votes representing 60.9 per cent as against 22,221 votes by the Independent candidate, Lawyer Akwasi Amofa Agyemang...Oppong Charles of the NDC got 2,877 votes(4.35%). UNQUOTE

The Leader of the Majority, Mr Osei Mensah-Bonsu's performance was equally spectacular, because he too had an Independent to contend with. But the result was as follows:

QUOTE “2020 Election > Parliament > Ashanti > [Constituency] Suame Results

HON. OSEI KYEI-BONSU NPP 67,095 [Votes] (76.1%);

George Prempeh IND 11,217 (12.7%);

Dodovi Francis NDC 9,312 (10.6%.)


You will find that in both Constituencies, the NDC candidate, whom Mr Mahama wanted to assist with his promised “pro-galamsey” policy, got relatively few votes. I could go on and on, but the case is proved. So, the next time anyone tries to sell you “snake oil”, with regard to how the people approve of the galamsey operators, just check the FACTS and shame him/her!

Meanwhile, I urge the good people of Ghana not to allow a few greedy money-grabbers and their foreign collaborators, to render Ghana a waterless desert, where our grand-children and their grand-children won't have naturally-endowed water to drink. Already, water-bottling companies are squeezing millions of cedis out of people who should, normally, not be budgeting so much money to be spent on buying sachet water. It makes me sad, sad, sad when I see the plight in which the galamseyers have put so many of our poorest people (especially in the once self-sufficient rural areas) as regards the purchase of water.

Cameron Duodu
Cameron Duodu, © 2021

Martin Cameron Duodu is a United Kingdom-based Ghanaian novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster. After publishing a novel, The Gab Boys, in 1967, Duodu went on to a career as a journalist and editorialist.Column: CameronDuodu

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