I read the Punch newspaper editorial captioned “Mensah-Bonsu Goof[sic] As He inadvertently Calls for Total Recall of Akufo-Addo, Bawumia” (Modernghana.com 12/30/19) and could not help but snort with contempt and downright disgust at the rather lame use of sophistry by the paper’s editors. You see, Dear Reader, the 2016 National Biometric Voters’ Register (NBVR) could have been bloated beyond credibility and still facilitated the massive victory of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Presidential Ticket and the clinching of the democratic reins of governance by the then-main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). All that Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Bawumia needed to do, in the very memorable and evergreen words of Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the dynastic General-Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was for our protagonists and their polling agents, representatives and assigns to be extra vigilant.
For those of our readers who may have so soon forgotten the same, in the wake of the 2012 Presidential Election, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia stated publicly in a radio interview that the then-Interim President John Dramani Mahama had not really won that election, but that the polling representatives of then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had scandalously and royally betrayed by his own party operatives. If the Electoral Commission’s administrators are now telling us that the NBVR, as it presently stands, is inordinately bloated and therefore cannot be used to hold a credible general election in December 2020, then there definitely must exist some forensically verifiable evidence to back up this observation. And, also, just because a badly performing Mahama-led National Democratic Congress’ government was handily defeated by then-Candidate Akufo-Addo does not necessarily mean that the current Voters’ Register ought to be maintained just as it is. That would be inexcusably absurd.
The logic of the Punch newspaper editorial is patently preposterous because what clearly happened was that the National Democratic Congress’ operatives were “credibly” beaten at their own corrupt game of routinely bloating the National Biometric Voters’ Register. On the other hand, if it was a sitting New Patriotic Party (NPP) government that had been exposed for deviously and/or mischievously bloating the NBVR, then, of course, it would make perfect sense for the Punch newspaper editors or any individual Ghanaian citizen or Civil Society Organization (CSO), for that matter, to demand the immediate recall of the particular political party or sitting government responsible for such act of withering criminality. In the present instance, however, what we have here is a prime and perfectly legitimate opportunity for the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to do the right thing by ensuring that Election 2020 will not be corrupted by the use of a bloated and therefore an illegitimate Voters’ Register. It is as simple as that.
Besides, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia has himself recently suggested that if the New Patriotic Party-appointed current administrative staff at the Electoral Commission (EC) are permitted to go ahead with the creation of a new Voters’ Register, it is inevitable that such a Voters’ Register would be bloated or skewed in favor of the ruling party and the sitting government. That should immediately tell the editors of the Punch newspaper and any critically thinking Ghanaian citizen that the leaders of the National Democratic Congress have been studiously and systematically been in the criminal habit and business of bloating and thereby corrupting the National Voters’ Register. This is absolutely no news at all but actually vindicates Messrs. Akufo-Addo and Mahamudu Bawumia’s claim, in the leadup to the start of the William Atuguba-presided Supreme Court Presidential Election Petition Trial, that Ghana’s National Biometric Voters’ Register was jampacked with the names of foreign nationals, mainly citizens of Ghana’s immediate-eastern neighbor, Togo.
And, indeed, a crackerjack team of election sleuths uncovered credible evidence to the foregoing effect which, predictably, was roundly rejected by the then NDC-constituted administrators of the Electoral Commission. It is, however, incontrovertibly instructive that almost every one of the Supreme Court’s jurists who sat on the Atuguba panel both attested to and concurred with the fact that there were more names of registered voters in our Voters’ Register than the magnitude or size of Ghana’s adult population warranted. The extant Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, also admitted to the jurists on the Atuguba panel that, indeed, the National Biometric Voters’ Register had been deliberately bloated. In the leadup to the 2012 general election, Dr. Afari-Gyan had also personally announced the discovery of thousands of underage young adult Ghanaian citizens who had been illegally registered to vote. But the EC Chair had adamantly refused to have these minors and/or those who had instigated them to register prosecuted.
Instead, Dr. Afari-Gyan nonchalantly pleaded with those among these underage registrants who felt the need to delete their names from the National Voters’ to do so voluntarily. Now where does the obvious faux-pas or even the plain and exuberant stupidity exhibited at this year’s New Patriotic Party’s Delegates Conference, at the Trade Fair Site in Accra, by Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the ruling party’s Parliamentary Majority Leader, come in or get us?
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
December 30, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
*Visit my blog at: okoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs