Celebrated Ghanaian Economist and President of the Free Africa Foundation (FAF) in the United States, Professor George Ayittey, has called for a recount of results for the general elections.
Prof Ayittey, brother of Sherry Hani Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, strongly believes this could bring an end to the brouhaha that has characterized the aftermath of the elections and any possible nasty fallout.
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has raised issues of fraud and irregularities about the elections in which incumbent President John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) was declared winner with 50.70%.
The NPP and its candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was declared runner-up with 47.74%, have since resolved to petition the Supreme Court over the Electoral Commission (EC’s) decision.
In his article titled ‘Ghana Election’, Prof. Ayittey, who is a also lecturer at the American University and an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, described the situation in Ghana as “infuriating”.
That, he said, was because “if there is a dispute over the results, all that needs to be done is to cross-check EC’s numbers with those on the ‘collation sheets’ signed by the representatives of the political parties at each polling station and then correct any discrepancies between them. That was all that needed to be done”.
That, according to him, was all transparency was about.
Prof. Ayittey noted, “We may choose to resolve our electoral disputes as laid down in the Constitution or in the streets with cutlasses and bazookas.”
He however warned, “We should remember this: the destruction of an African country always begins with a dispute over the electoral process and transfer of power”, citing instances of Algeria (1991), Burundi (1993), Nigeria (1993), Rwanda (1994), Zaire (1996) and more recent examples include Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), Ivory Coast (2011) and Libya (2011).
The economist charged the leader of the main opposition party, Nana Akufo-Addo, or any other Ghanaian who believes the election was “stolen” to do the right thing by petitioning the Supreme Court, within 21 days as provided by the country’s Constitution, for it to determine the case.
That, he said, was because “the streets or the airwaves are not the place to resolve constitutional issues”.
Considering the fact that the President of the Republic is required to uphold and defend the Constitution, he advised that “if any citizen of Ghana seeks to challenge the validity of December’s election by petitioning the Supreme Court, the president of Ghana is required to support that person because the Constitution guarantees that person the right to do so”, arguing that “even in our supposedly ‘backward and primitive’ traditional system, a goat with a grievance is given a full public hearing”.
For him, this should not be an issue to be cast in NDC versus NPP terms and polarize the country since “only 50.7 percent voted for the president, John Mahama, meaning nearly half did not vote for him and not all of them are NPP supporters” and that “if any of those who did not vote for him has a grievance, he has a guaranteed Constitutional right to petition the Supreme Court”.
Until the Supreme Court makes a final decision on the case, Ayittey advised, “All other things relating to the elections, transition inauguration activities, etc. must be placed on hold — no celebrations or street demonstrations to protest results.”
“Any such activity before the court rules must be deemed to be in contempt of the Supreme Court. Democratic maturity mandates following the Constitution and allowing the Supreme Court to make its determination,” he emphasized.
In the final analysis, Ayittey, who claims he is not a card-bearing member of any political party – either in Ghana or the US and thus cares less who is the winner of the December elections- said, “If we are doing something, we must do it well; it is a duty we owe to the country, our children and future generations.”
That, according to him, was because “our primary concern should be the integrity of the electoral process, rule of law and Ghana’s reputation as a beacon of democracy. That is what all Ghanaians must defend and protect”.
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu/D-Guide
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