EDITORIAL: Time for Security and Stability in Ghana
The much-awaited 2004 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections are over. The Electoral Commission has declared the results and President Kufour has won with 52.75 per cent of the total votes cast with 44.32 per cent going to his closest and most serious opponent, John Evans Atta Mills. As reported elsewhere in this paper, this elections will go down in Ghana's history as our most proud period. They were conducted in a very calm, peaceful and relaxed atmosphere devoid of the violence that we see associated with similar exercises in our neighboring African countries and even elsewhere in Europe and the United States.
President Kufour and his party, the NPP have been given the mandate and power to rule Ghana for another four years. We therefore expect them to exercise the power that go with this renewed mandate to not only make the lives of Ghanaians better but also to provide them with the necessary security. It is also a mandate to ensure that the peace, security and stability of our proud nation is not disturbed.
In the run-up to the elections there were reports that some elements were preparing to disturb the peace of the country if the elections did not go their way. One of such destructive elements was former President Jerry Rawlings. Over the past four years since he and his party lost power, Jerry Rawlings has engaged in the most provocative behavior anyone can think of. He has shown absolutely no respect for the current President and his government. He has gone to the extent of calling them thieves, liars and corrupt. But the President has kept his cool in the face of all the intentional provocations by Rawlings.
In the last days of the electioneering campaign Rawlings resorted to issuing real threats and urging his followers to mutiny and violence should the election results not favor them. A few examples: On Sunday December 5, 2004, Rawlings warned his followers at a campaign rally at Madina/Abokobi, near Accra that if they do not heed his warning not to vote for Kufour and his "bunch of crooks and thieves" he will not be available to rescue them again. And a day after the elections when preliminary results showed comfortable Kufour and NPP gains, Rawlings issued a statement warning of dire consequences if the "true wishes" of the people are not respected. The former President reiterated his earlier outrageous outbursts that "the NPP were hell-bent on stealing the 2004 elections by manipulating its outcome through diverse fraudulent and corrupt means including the use of multiple registrations, vote buying as well as multiple voting on election day".
Commenting on the large votes cast in favour of the NPP, particularly those from the Ashanti region, Rawlings questioned "the reliability of such outcomes, taking into account the multitude of complaints about the hardships facing the vast majority of Ghanaians and the high levels of corruption under the Kufuor administration". He said that most people he "saw and talked to on his way out of Accra for a private visit abroad, looked quite stunned and perplexed with the kind of election results coming out". He maintained that "the people's wish must prevail and not that of the incumbent government and party". We all know that Rawlings has been suffering from "power withdrawal syndrome". He has never been able to come to terms with the defeat of his government in the 2000 elections. He still harbors the illusion and hallucination of being the only sensible guy capable of ruling Ghana. And he has been trying his best to provoke President Kufour and his government into a fight.
I admire the extreme patience and restraint the President and the NPP government have exhibited in the face of all the Rawlings provocations over the past four years. But in the just-concluded peaceful, free and fair elections, the people of Ghana have spoken. They have expressed their true will and wishes. Their true will and wishes were for another four years of the Kufour administration. It will be an insult to the people of Ghana for Rawlings or anybody else to question the expression of this wish and will. That will and wish so unequivocably expressed must be respected and protected. Rawlings cannot claim to be smarter and more sensible than the over eight million people who voted on December 7, 2004. And in that direction anyone including Rawlings who questions that expressed will must not only be insulting Ghanaians, but questioning and underrating their intelligence.
It is therefore the responsibility, legally and morally of the duly elected government of Ghana led by Mr. John Agyekum Kufour to ensure that the expressed will of the people is respected and protected!! Any behavior to the contrary will amount to the elected government negating its responsibility to the people. This means that in his second mandate President Kufour should not tolerate any actions or utterances of anybody or group of people who seek to disturb the stability of the nation, or incite people to violence. The full rigors of the law must be applied without fear or favor to anybody who tries to engage in any destabilizing actions. The law, they say, has no respect for those who do not respect it.
Ghanaians have voted for peace, security, stability and continuity. Let their will and wish prevail. And the law is there to be used to ensure that their will is not disturbed or usurped by any self-proclaimed savior