Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Supreme Court Verdict

The confirmation by the Supreme Court that President Mahama was validly elected in the December 2012 general election validates a popular television advert, 'the tradition goes on'. It confirms the notion that no Presidential election petition in Africa has succeeded in reversing the status quo. That perhaps explains the request to the nine justices by lead counsel for the petitioners Philip Addison to do what no court in Africa has done before by confirming Nana Akufo Addo the winner of the Presidential election. Just recently, the constitutional court in Zimbabwe threw out the legal challenge of that country's Presidential election which saw the 89 year old Robert Mugabe being re-elected for a seventh term in office. We can also cite election disputes in Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya which were all jettisoned for various reasons. In each of these cases, the constitutional courts in those countries ruled that electoral violations and malpractices that occurred were not substantial enough to have affected the outcome of the election. We are yet to set eyes on the full judgement of the Supreme Court but the long and short of it all is that President Mahama was affirmed the 4th President of the fourth Republic and incidentally the fourth John in succession since 1992. Now that this has been clarified, President Mahama and his NDC party must set out to reconcile the nation for total reconciliation is vital for national development.

We recommend the National Chairman and General Secretary of the NDC, Dr. Kwabena Adjei and Johnson Asiedu Nketsiah and other political leaders for personally attending the 21st anniversary of the NPP. Dr. Kwabena Adjei even went further to adorn a paraphernalia of the NPP which was quite significant. Being in opposite camps should not make us enemies. We can disagree to agree. As Ghanaian born former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, suggested, whatever electoral reforms the nine justices have ordered must be carried out with eagerness. This would forestall the recurrence of irregularities and administrative errors that were elucidated during the Supreme Court hearing. Coming events they say cast their shadows, we are witnesses to how the Electoral Commission jumbled the last District Assembly elections and these were arguably carried over to the General election. President Mahama's address to the nation after the judgement was indeed spot on, it was an elixir for bleeding hearts. His call on Ghanaians to put the election petition behind them and work together to build the nation is most relevant. We need total reconciliation to move the country forward. The polarisation of the country along party political lines is counterproductive. We cannot continue to live with divisiveness, ethnicity, intemperate language and total disrespect for law and order. Having been defeated twice in his presidential ambition it would be perhaps prudent for Nana Akufo Addo to consider bowing out of active politics for it is always better to call to quit when the applause is loudest. His maturity exhibited in accepting the verdict and calling President Mahama to congratulate him is exemplary. Nana Addo on retirement will have the opportunity to impact whatever knowledge he has acquired over the years to the younger generation. Dr. Afari Gyan will be the happiest man today given the Supreme Court judgement. For, had it gone the other way, it would have dented his more than 21 years career as chairman of the National Electoral Commission. Dr. Afari Gyan in all sincerity will admit he was truly grilled by counsel for the petitioners and as the Presiding Judge, Mr. Justice William Atuguba in an obiter dictum and what could best described as a tension releasing comment put it "so you see that, Go to Court, go to Court is not easy. With the rubicon finally crossed it is incumbent on both the NPP and NDC to re-organise their structures in order to make a big come back in 2016. It is refreshing the NDC has set out to expand its electoral college.

Our religious leaders, National Peace Council, Christian Council, National Media Commission, GJA, TUC, individuals and organisations who gave peace messages must pat themselves on the back for a yeoman's job. We must not stop at that. We must continue to conscientise ourselves on the need to live together as we people with a common destroy. It is not for nothing that Ghana is considered a model of democracy in Africa. We must therefore put our act together to ensure that no spanner is put in the wheels of our progress so that Ghana will continue to be greater and stronger.

BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.

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