Feature: Those breaching Code of Secrecy ought to purge themselves

Eventually, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer contest came down to a three-man race. Businessman Ernest Kobeah, who rose from the Ghanaian Diaspora to prominence in the party’s presidential race, claiming to have the resources and quality to return the Umbrella to Jubilee House, chickened out at the last minute. There has been no official explanation, but the GH¢500,000 filing fee is no chicken feed.

According to the official tally at the Adabraka head office in Accra, former President John Dramani Mahama picked the first spot at the ballot. Mr. Kojo Bonsu, one-time Mayor of Kumasi, is number two, with ex-Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Dufuor drawing the rear at number three.

Supporters of the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana are drawing inspiration from the ‘Aseeho’ slogan that propelled John Agyekum Kufuor to the Presidency in December 2000. Talk of the town, unfortunately for the NDC, is not the internal presidential contest.

What is still agitating the minds of followers of the political party founded by Jerry John Rawlings following his annihilation job, after which nearly 300 Ghanaians are still unaccounted for, is the vote in Parliament, exactly one week ago today.

The vote, during which more than 30 Members of Parliament brushed aside the official whip provided by Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson and his Minority executive, and supervised over by Big Brother, the Chairman, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, universally referred to in national politics as General Mosquito, over-looking from the visitor’s gallery upstairs.

The vote has completely dazed those who originally ebullient and swearing that ‘Boshieba’ John Dramani Mahama was already at doorsteps of Government House. In the run-up to the vote on December 7, 2016, Mahama was likened to Jesus Christ; with reference to John 3:16 in the Holy Book. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son; that whosoever believed in him, would not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Needless to state, the vote delivered the gnashing of teeth and a false interpretation of the results. When they summoned the Electoral Commission and the winners to the Supreme Court, it yielded a 9-0 verdict. It came to light that the NDC could not eve collate the party’s own results.

The decision to go to court was only a ploy to calm down the rioting foot-soldiers who were baying for the blood of the leadership. Apparently, even those sent to the Strong Room of the Electoral Commission on behalf of the party, only ended up at the Chairperson’s office drinking tea.

This year, NDC officials and their foot-soldiers are ebullient. With the global economic meltdown biting hard in Ghana, they are absolutely sure that Ghanaians have found solace in John Dramani Mahama. A new opinion poll has Mr. John Dramani Mahama ahead of his main challengers in his party and those from the New Patriotic Party.

The snag is that the survey was done before the vote in Parliament last week.  There are many authorities out there pointing to the event in the House on that fateful Friday as an indication that nothing is settled yet.

Alhaji Baba Jamal, former Member of Parliament for Akwatia, lamented on the outcome of the vote and said the cross-carpet vote should bring it home that the NDC had not won the 2024 presidential election yet.

Mr. Sylvester Tetteh, New Patriotic Member of Parliament for Bortianor Ngleshie Amamfrom in the Greater Accra Region, has introduced a new concept into the discussion altogether.

He is calling on the leadership of the House to probe allegations regarding breaches of Secrecy surrounding the vote.  A number of NDC activists are queuing to exonerate themselves from refusniks who voted to approve all six of the President’s men.

Mr. Murtala Mohammed, NDC Member for Tamale Central, was the loudest of the Asiedu Nketia loyalists. He said he did not only snap a shot of his voting process, but went to the extent of videoing it, after which he shared his action with leaders of the NDC Caucus in Parliament and party leadership outside the House.

Dr. Zanetor Rawlings, daughter of the Founder of the NDC, said if her father was to be alive, he would have called on all members of the Minority to swear by the Antoa River shrine to prove their innocence or not.

According to Mr. Andrew Asiamah Amoah, the Second Deputy Speaker and Independent Member of Fomena, Article 104 (4) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 110 of the Standing Orders of the House, under which the voting took place, the exercise was a secret voting and no one had a right to reveal how an individual voted.

Article 104 of the Constitution, quoted the Second Deputy Speaker, “when Parliament is considering a bill to amend the Constitution, or when the voting is in relation to the election or removal of any person under the Constitution, or under any other law, voting shall be in secret.”

The Second Deputy Speaker said leaking one’s voting procedure to any other person was an affront to the Constitution of the land. He said those members of the House who shared their voting procedure with others ought to know that they were in breach of the Constitution and Standing Orders of the House.

Mr. Amoah warned his colleagues to desist from making their secret votes open. “I am not saying this to despise anybody. I am bringing it to our attention,” the Deputy Speaker said.

Mr. Tetteh, on the other hand, is of the opinion that those who breached the Constitution and Order Papers by sharing their voting preferences last week, ought to suffer some consequences beyond the appeal.

He is of the opinion that those who showed their secret voting on social media, for instance, ought to purge themselves. This is what interests me as a social commentator.

Before I continue with my submissions, let me make myself clear. Parliament is not an institution for Zombies. It is a sacred institution where adults with mindsets of their own are carefully chosen by their cluster of people to represent their interests.

That is why they are allowed to decide on issues by the mere exercise of their voices to the clear hearing of the Speaker. When issues are referred to secret vote, the issues involved are fundamental to the welfare of the people. In such instances, the members are required to exercise their franchise by secret vote. These decisions are not to be shared with any other person.

I am afraid the NDC, under General Mosquito, is becoming a ‘yoo-yoo’ entity, under which intellectualism is being sacrificed at the altar of brutish force.  I am sorry if I have been harsh on the party in opposition. The NDC was born in violence. At a point in time, it looked like Professor J.E.A. Mills and other intellectuals were desperately moving the party away from its violent past.

The ‘barking dog’ has been caged proclamation appeared to have given the assurance that the party was purging itself off the putsch under which 300 Ghanaians are still unaccounted for.

If you ask me why I have a problem with the NDC as a political entity, I would point to the scenario where men and women with conscience are obliged to record their secret voting process and share it with Big Brother at the party headquarters.

Zombies belong to the barracks, definitely not in Parliament. That is why those breaching the code of secrecy ought to purge themselves.

I shall return!

Ebo Quansah in Accra


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