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01.01.2009 Feature Article

Afari Gyan has been very unfair to Ghanaians

Afari Gyan has been very unfair to Ghanaians
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It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation. It is especially objectionable among us Ghanaians, who have prided ourselves on setting a global example for pure democracy. With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious processes alleged to have taken place in a number of polling stations in several parts of the country.

It is, therefore, unconscionable for the Electoral Commissioner (EC), Afari Gyan, to go along with the NPP to perpetuate the fraudulent practices by ordering a January 2 election in one constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region. The Electoral Commissioner has been very unfair to all Ghanaians for holding a very polarized country ransom by dragging this year's elections for far too long.

The EC is reported to have said: “You must remember that for circumstances as we say in Ghana beyond our control, we were unable to hold the elections in the Tain Constituency of the Brong Ahafo Region.” Because of the so called circumstances beyond control of the EC, all Ghana has to wait till Friday January 2, 2009 to know who won the 2008 elections to be the next president. Did the EC know about this problem before the run-off? What the EC do about this situation before the run-off? Did the EC know about the suspected arson on the offices of the Electoral Commission in this constituency?

According to GNA news reports on December 11, the Tain Election Patrol Team arrested 15 suspected persons who allegedly planned to commit crime on elections day at Seikwa in the Tain District of the Brong Ahafo Region. The Police Superintendent Charles Domanbay, Brong Ahafo Regional Crime Officer, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency said the suspects were arrested upon a tip off. Two containers, one of which was suspected to contain chloroform and the other pepper spray, a harmer, a metal bar, and some presidential sample ballot papers were found in the Pick-up Vehicle they were on board. Superintendent Domanbay gave the names of some of the suspects as Kofi Paul, 29, Kwaku Kosa, 27, Yaw Domfeh, 22, John Obour, 21, Tawiah Francis 29 and Anthony Agyemang, 29.

Definitely trouble was brewing in Tain. On December 12, another GNA news report indicated at the office of the Electoral Commission (EC) in Tain District in the Brong Ahafo Region had been set on fire by unknown arsonists. The GNA report further indicated that “it is also not clear if the arson has something to do with the just ended presidential and parliamentary elections. There has been misunderstanding in the Tain constituency between members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and those of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), where the latter is contending that the constituency result was manipulated to favour the former.”

Did the EC know about these problems in Tain before the run-off? What did the EC do about this deplorable situation in Tain before the run-off? Did any of these troubles reported by the police affect the delay in getting election materials to the constituency?

In the run up to the 2008 elections, there have been reports of widespread intimidation of political opponents and the use fear mongering tactics; and there have been manipulation of resources by the NPP administration (e.g., the timing of the release of lands to some Accra chiefs and the release of jailed drivers in Kumasi) to gain political advantage; biased media coverage (particularly by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation) in addition to reported incidents of police intimidation of perceived opposition supporters (e.g., the assault on a photo-journalist in Kumasi and Gushiegu rampage).

One hopes that the new administration to assume office on January 7 will introduce electoral reform legislation that will help to replace our corrupt campaign finance system, which is funded and controlled by a tiny number of very powerful private interests. One hopes the electoral reform will help us replace our fraud-prone voting system, with clean, transparent, accountable and democratic systems, where people can get elected based on their character, track record, and ideas, rather than their wealth or ability to raise large sums of money.

One urges the new administration to help us take our country back so that we can finally have a nation of, by, and for the people, rather than of, by, and for the wealthy powerful interests.

Credit: Akwasi Prempeh [[email protected]]

Akwasi Prempeh
Akwasi Prempeh, © 2009

The author has 8 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AkwasiPrempeh

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