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Are Party Supporters Above The Law?   
 
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21-Dec-2009  
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Whilst reacting to Dr. Arthur Kennedy’s criticism that he had told a chief in the Brong Ahafo Region that there would be no Tain, former president Kufuor made a major statement which excites The Chronicle.

According to the immediate past president, he had no power under the laws of Ghana to cancel elections - that decision is the sole prerogative of the Electoral Commission (EC). As the Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, he could have used his powers to stop the EC from conducting the Tain election to determine who wins the 2008 presidential elections, but he respected the laws, and allowed the right agency to take the decision.

Earlier in the year 2000, former President Rawlings, who had ruled the country for 18 solid years, peacefully handed over to his predecessor after his party had genuinely lost the elections.

Looking at his military background, and the fact that he was the Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, he could have stopped the EC from declaring the results, after realising that his party was losing, and then declare a state of emergency, as other dictators have been doing, but this never happened.

Like Kufuor, he realised that such a decision would be unconstitutional, and peacefully handed over power.

Unfortunately, whilst our leaders appreciate the fact that they are not the above the law, and that they are subject to the dictates of the constitution, the same cannot be said about their followers.

During the Rawlings era, some of his ministers who were found guilty of unjustifiably amassing wealth by the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), were later set free through a white paper the government issued.

The Kufuor’s government was no exception. Three women organisers of his party, who were arrested at the Kotoka International Airport, for carrying substances suspected to be cocaine, were never prosecuted for the crime, despite several calls from civil society organisations.

These, among several others, have created the impressions in the minds of party followers and appointees that they are above the law, so long as their party remains power. Just recently, a group of youth, suspected to be supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), pounced on innocent journalists in Sunyani, and subjected them to several pastings.

Like the cocaine case involving the NPP women organizers, the police have failed to press charges against perpetrators of this crime, even though, according to the victims, they provided the names of some of the people involved to the law enforcement agency.

In a society where the rule of law is relegated to the background or some of the citizens are made to believe that they are above the law, people decide to take the law into their own hands, and the results are always chaotic.

Ghana is today struggling to maintain peace in some parts of Northern and Upper East regions, because of the perception that those who commit crime go unpunished.

The Chronicle is therefore appealing to the Police Administration to divorce itself from political influence, and discharge the duties conferred on them by the constitution, without fear or favour.

When a suspected New Patriotic Party (NPP) or National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporter, depending on which party is in power, commits an offence, he or she must be made to face the music.

At least the illustration that we have made about the two living former heads of state, shows clearly that they are not above the law, so how much more a mere supporter or supporters of their parties.

If Ghana is to enjoy absolute peace, the security agencies would have a crucial role to play. They must therefore wake up, before things begin to fall apart.
 
 
Source: The Chronicle/Ghana
 
 

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