Ghana’s Supreme Court In Litmus Test
By Alex Asabre, Chairman – Ghana Democratic Movement-UK
While the constitutionally mandated body, the Electoral Commission of Ghana, chaired by Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan has declared the NDC’s candidate, John Mahama the winner, the main opposition New Patriotic Party has gone to the Supreme Court to seek invalidation of the results.
Ever since the NPP made the effort to challenge the results, a lot of comments from well meaning Ghanaians have been forthright in both the electronic and print media, including facebook and blogs.
I must admit that I am really proud of the various comments from either side of the political divide, although some of the remarks are simply defiant and despicable to democracy. In this direction, I want to make a humble contribution to see how best we could help nurture Ghana’s flamboyant rule of law, which has become the envy of the rest of the world.
After all, my single perseverance, coupled with international political experience and resources fought for Ghana’s timely return to multi-party in 1992.
Our democracy, which has become so vibrant, started from a very herculean beginning and had it not been my resilience, Ghana would not have been at this state of governance. Sometimes, when I hear comments churned out by some of our political commentators, I heave a sign of disapproval and I ask myself if this is really what I bargained for with my resources, life and precious time to seek Ghana’s political freedom through consultative intervention from our colonial masters, Britain.
I think at the appropriate time, I will reveal myself to our younger generation who do not know how hard some of us struggled for our democracy.
In the first place, let me commend the opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo for choosing this legal process to invalidate the results. If Ghana’s last electoral irregularities, as conceded by the Electoral Commission, were to occur in other neighbouring countries like Ivory Coast, innocent blood would have been shed on the streets of Accra and other capitals as well.
The NPP leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, at least, has not incited the millions of supporters to invade our streets to spew out trouble to make Ghana an ungovernable state.
He has exhibited true sense of statesmanship to the admiration of the international community. Africa would not have lost blood of its sons and daughters if others who had torn their countries into pieces had followed your example to seek redress in court, in any electoral dispute such as this.
He commands a very united but strong opposition party and any foul words from him during the heat of results declaration could have dogged Ghana into something catastrophic. On this note, Nana Akufo-Addo would be remembered by the generations yet unborn as an avid emblem whose unwavering patience and respect for rule of law saved of our democracy. Nana Bravo!
In the same manner, the ruling National Democratic Congress must be told in plain language to ensure they bring their supporters to order.
The recent developments by the NDC supporters who invaded the Supreme Court premises during Tuesday January 22, 2013 sitting, holding canes was a shameful act which must be condemned blatantly. The leadership of the party must exercise control over their supporters.
I also learned that there were scores of macho men at the court ostensibly to protect some leaders of political parties, which must be frowned upon by any law abiding citizen. Legal tussle require brainy interpretation of laws to common minds and it does not need services of any brute force. Ghanaians must be educated to repose confidence in our judiciary to administer justice without fear or favour.
The Supreme Court of Ghana has ruled on a number of controversial cases in the history of the Republic. I do not want to dive into archives to invoke our recollections on some rulings in the past. Let sleeping dogs lie.
However, no matter the outcome of the Supreme Court, there is the need for us to respect the ruling of this all important case. The ruling by the Court would be determined by the amount of evidence produced by the parties involved. This is where I am calling on the jury to be bold to dispense a credible and an unalloyed ruling which will serve as a bench mark for our vibrant democracy.
The nine-member Supreme Court judges must be supported by all and sundry to inspire them in order to adjudicate in a more reasonable manner that will deter anyone to use other means to seek justice.
The ruling would also determine whether the Electoral Commission of Ghana, which has earned desirable credibility across the length and breadth of the continent in the past, would continue to win the nation’s confidence or its reputation, or it would be thrown to the dogs.
We had all heard the Electoral Commission conceding to the fact that there were some scores of irregularities recorded. The Commission’s admission indeed raised an eye brow. This is another concern that I am calling on the jury to be bold. The ruling would not suggest the Electoral Commission’s results declared in the past were also rigged or not. This case does not owe any credence to the Commission’s previous duties.
Another reason why I am calling on the judges to be bold is the immediate nullification of President Mahama’s presidency, once the ruling goes in favour of the motion filed by the opposition; Mr. John Mahama ceases to be president.
This requires a very strong heart to make such decision, hence the urgency of my call on them to be bold. In this regard, I will entreat Mr. Mahama to be lawful as usual to respect the decision of the court, and would not do anything unlawful to dent Ghana’s image internationally.
It happened in Pakistan, Kenya and Ivory Coast where judges overturned outcome of election results in favour of Benazir Bhutto, Jomo Kenyatta and Alassane Quattara.
As an international diplomat, I know in most circumstances in other countries, where sitting presidents want to relinquish power, yet power beneficiaries do all manner of things to hold on to it. This is not to say the opposition has a better case than the ruling NDC or the Electoral Commission. The Supreme Court must bear in mind that, the spectacle of the whole world is watching them closely.
Finally, all Ghanaians must pray to enable the judges dispense a credible ruling. In some instances, there is the perception that, some parties involved in such land mark cases resort to all kinds of spiritualism to charm the jury to pronounce unreasonable judgment.
And looking at this case, parties involved could go heaven and earth to do whatever within their powers to influence the judgment. I am of the view that, the Supreme Court will pass this litmus test and also pass a judgment that will meet the approval of the majority of Ghanaians no matter how long it will require them to come out with a ruling.
Long Live Ghana Democracy! Long Live NPP!!
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