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25.11.2008 Feature Article

McCain Conceded, Obama Accepted: The Beauty of American Democracy; Lessons for Ghana Elections 08.

….say no to war and powerful sharing.

Within minutes of Obama securing the mercurial and crucial 270 electoral college votes needed by a candidate to become President of the United States of America, former GOP leader and Vietnam war veteran John McCain conceded defeated and not only that but went further to address a large crown in his home state of Arizona to publicly congratulate President-elect Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama in return accepted the challenge of becoming the 44th president of the United States of America and paid glowing tribute to his former political foe in what was one of the most heated and vehemently contested elections in the US history of all time. It was such a beauty, the graciousness of Mr. McCain to concede defeat almost made me share a few tears as I watched him. Even though, I have been a strong Obama supporter all throughout and have been not happy with some of the smears thrown at Obama from the McCain camp.

After the hullabaloo was all over, these two gentlemen understood that the wishes of Americans must be respected and also the fact that they had to put the needs of the citizenry first. I must also mention the willingness of President Bush even to become an honourable 'estate agent' to show the Obama family round the white house.

I have said and still maintain that this is the most crucial election Ghana has ever had. For very obvious reasons known to Ghanaians and the politicians involved in this process, there seem to be so much at stake for the two major parties to try and retain power.

The NPP certainly are aware of the fact that some of their personalities might be put on trial should the NDC regain power. This is because some former ministers of state under the then NDC government were put through the fast track court and subsequently jailed for a number of offences.

The NDC also fears if they don't gain power now, they would probably would have to kiss good bye to the power so much much covet and some have even said an Akuffo led government might even put former President Rawlings and some of his henchmen in prison.

For these and other reasons best known to key leaders and members of the two main opposition parties the hustle and tussle for power has become so intensive than ever seen in recent Ghanaian elections.

This has compelled me to share a few thoughts and advice the Electoral commission, leaders of all political parties and the electorate to stay clear off any actions and inactions that would overtly and covertly throw our beloved Ghana into confusion, chaos and commotion.

I must say in spite of how bad we may think Ghana is, at least we have our relative peace. It is better to be hungry and live in peace than to be rich and live in a war zone. Let us all cast our attention to neighbouring Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Liberia just to mention a few. I always used to lambaste Ghana for being disorganised and lawless country however my opinion of Ghana changed the first time I travelled to a neighbouring African country…I never mentioned Nigeria though.

Most of my friends from Nigeria and other surrounding African countries would choose Ghana as their permanent place of abode before their own country. If you doubt this just consider the influx on foreigners especially Nigerians and people from the Diaspora into Ghana in recent years. For most of us who live outside of Ghana, even in the West, our dream is to return home to our beloved Ghana some day. We love our Ghana, our love our Peace.

Our politicians should put country first and stop thinking about their own interests. The needs of the ordinary citizen who can barely afford even decent meal in a day should be of paramount importance to our politicians and not how to amass wealth at the expense of the poor.

Again, I have heard and read of people talking about power sharing. Let me say emphatically, we don't need any power sharing arrangement in Ghana in order to move the nation forward. Who ever looses the election should graciously concede and allow the winner to rule. If the winner wants to have an all inclusive government even though I think it hardly works, that's fine.

We should never look to Kenya and Zimbabwe as basis for power sharing deals. Just check out those countries. They are worse off than they were before their recent predicaments. War and anarchy in any nation will take it several decades backwards. If at all we should look at the near perfect example of the American elections.

President Kufour (in the then opposition), did fantastically well by conceding defeat in 1996, Prof. Atta Mills (Asomdwe hene) did Ghana proud in conceding in 2000 and 2004, former President Rawlings did a gentleman's job by handing over power to the NPP government in 2000 even though people thought it will never happen.

To President Kufour and the NPP administration let us ensure a smooth and peaceful elections and transition. The world is watching us now; let us make Ghana, Africa and the rest of the world proud. We have done it before and we can do it again. Come on Ghana! Let us show the rest of the world that the Blackman is capable of manning his own affairs.

Please! Please ! Please! Help me to pray for peaceful elections in Ghana in the forth coming 'Ghana Decides 08'. It will not be easy but God will see us through. We love our Ghana and we will move Ghana forward together irrespective of our religious, political or tribal affiliations. We have come too far to return.

God Bless you all.

Henry Godson-Afful. B.Ed, MA. London , UK.
Minister/Author/HR & Educational Consultant
President Of Maximum Impact Foundation, UK.
Email: [email protected]

Henry Godson-Afful is the author of the Book not the gold but the clay and from Crisis to Christ.

Henry Godson-Afful
Henry Godson-Afful, © 2008

This author has authored 5 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: HenryGodsonAfful

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