Emmanuel Acquah’s take on Ghana’s 2020 Elections brouhaha

By: Emmanuel Acquah0 comments

Comrades, this is my side of the ongoing insurgencies and heated political debate after your calls and messages.

Yes, my response has delayed. I needed to hear from all factions. This is how objectivity triumphs. Friend, I invite you to join in some reasoning without any political lens. Thinking on partisan lines would not bring finality to the matter.

I somewhat disagree with the pointers of “who is/are the cause of Ghana’s 2020 Electoral dispute”. Irresponsibility birth’s blame. For this reason, the taxpayer is free to blame. I chose to focus on what the cause of the problem is. I know the future would revisit the past for another lesson. May it be counted that you and I did our part in a sacrosanct manner.

Friends, if we can identify the problems clearly, we would find the solutions in there. Inking the stains that mar this election is aback and an unending path we may never find to progress. 

What made us get here?

Mistakes are inevitable. Every human being is fallible. If it is one that tends to distort peace, it should be mitigated with the counsel of the wise and backed by data. Typically, the state thrives on its ideology, attract the intellectuals to join its cause and in the event where the needs and wants of these intellectuals are met and sometimes with excesses by the state, “monopoly of ideas” sets in. Depending on which political party is in power, it cajoles it, followers, to believe the state is the wisest institution. Any independent thought and ideas especially from voluntary groups or individuals are seen as a threat by the state. This is the spine of the state. Don’t be surprised if you have seen in recent times, the attacks on independent thinkers. I do not say they may not goof but if these ideas are backed by data and on grounds of morality, we need to pay attention.

The position of the Electoral Commission especially its unwillingness to accommodate and accept the best ideas to help it function effectively after the dismissal of its predecessor is worrying. It pays to listen: Pride goes with a fall. Thus, a reason to admit one’s frailties. For the beauty of democracy, the best ideas must thrive. 

Despite the millions of Cedis to run an election, a simple summation of results should not have been the subject of ridicule. And the sophisticated software procured? Higher expenditure is not a measure of effectiveness and efficiency. Such flaws expose and increase public perception about corruption and incompetence. I wish this was never said about my country. I hope we take our lessons seriously and boldly say someday that we made mistakes and learned never to return to this again. Let the reformation begin.

Free and fair elections?

As of December 12, 2020, the Electoral Commission of Ghana had changed the figures three times. Yet, it had already declared the winner of the elections. Is this what the Electoral Commission deems as transparent, fair and on the back of integrity? Anomalies and inaccurate figures are two enemies of peaceful elections. In their extremes, they are the cradle of unending conflicts many countries have had to endure.

Now, let us get to the basics, can we get the EC to tell us how it recruited persons to help conduct this year’s election? If it did something right, we would celebrate. If it also flipped the coin to the other side, we must learn.

Friends, to conclude this is a free and fair election, ask if the parties involved have been treated fairly. If your answer is Yes, I encourage you to question if you would have accepted the outcome with the same errors. If your answer is No, is this based on data, political affiliation or emotions?

Wrong is wrong

Friends, I reject the notion that a person’s mistake makes it predecessor an angel. If for procurement breaches a person is dismissed, I say the incompetence of the successor does not make the outgone Chairperson a saint either. We must thrive to do well and elevate the discourse. May the electoral commission redeem its image. 

Our last resort

The state is a creature whose existence and sovereignty rests with the constitution. In the words of Adam Smith, father of modern economics, “According to the system of natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to; three duties of great importance, indeed, but plain and intelligible to common understandings:  first, the duty of protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies; secondly, the duty of protecting, as far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice; and thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institutions, which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or a small number of individuals, to erect and maintain; because the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or a small number of individuals, though it may frequently do much more than repay it to a great society.”

Will the oppressed convey the matter to the court of law? Why and why not?  Is it true majority of the judges at the Supreme Court were appointed by the incumbent? Has this not been the case with the opposition also in time past? We need to remind politicians that the tables do turn and that the independence of state institutions should supersede any personal or political interest. Just before you bend anything in your favour, posterity will grind you to a test. 

Violence is an ineffective weapon which muffles shenanigans and an endless means to conflict. Thus, whatever the case, the court of law should be the next destination. If the court fails to pass sound judgement, we must learn to keep building a just and independent judicial system.  

Peace Council, what about this path?

An appeal for unity and peace post-election is a clarion call which a nation needs the most in the middle of heightened tension.

However, I am convinced God intervenes where man’s strength is a no rescuer. If there are things God wants us to do, truly he charges us to do them. I do not undermine the effectiveness of prayer, neither do I underestimate the power of education in peacebuilding. The Bible admonishes us in Isaiah 1:17, to “Learn to do right; seek justice and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless and plead the case of the widow.” The Council would have saved itself from backlash if it also seeks for justice. The changing of certified and declared results by the Electoral Commission as against what the constitution, gives the NDC a case that needs further scrutiny. If we love peace, we must pursue justice for “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

I, therefore, urge the NDC to seek justice instead of a parallel government as some have suggested. There is no better alternative to what is right. The Electoral Commission must admit it wrongs if it has erred. The law court must show impartiality should the matter be brought before it. The NPP has shown manifest leadership by calling its members to be decorous in their triumph. The NDC must take queue to follow the rule of law just as the NPP did in 2012.

What we do not realize 

The clock never stops ticking. The unfavourable business environment plunges to a more reverse position. Businesses are grinding to a halt because of the impact of Covid-19 and now, a duress political atmosphere. What will happen to the many initiatives with timelines? Our fight against unemployment and corruption? Would wages and salaries be denied the few elected involved in this tussle? 

Friends, there are also skirmishes gaining root. Mitigation in this case is better than a contingency plan. 

My final thought

Friends, as the apostle Paul puts it, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy–dwell on these things.”

Your friend,

Emmanuel Acquah

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