I have always maintained that there is never a dull moment in Ghanaian politics. More often than not, it is either the two major political parties, the NDC and the NPP, sniping at each other while the small parties look on sheepishly and wondering when their turn will come to be the big political dogs in town,
Then of course, you have the political sycophants, cheekily referred to as party communicators shouting their voices hoarse on television and radio, and political vigilante groups flexing their muscles to the dismay of ordinary Ghanaians.
Adding to the cacophony are the traditional entities, paramount rulers and local chiefs, contributing their quota to the national political discourse. Yes, our traditional rulers don’t shy away from the daily hustle and bustle of Ghanaian politics; they are just as immersed in it as our starched and egoistical politicians.
That is an interesting angle, coming as it is from individuals widely considered to be the guardians of our conservative society, the opinion leaders and the ultimate insiders. Governments gravitate towards them and ordinary Ghanaians genuflect before them.
Indeed, whatever our traditional powers say carries a lot of weight, power and influence which explains why the assertion by a prominent Ghanaian traditional ruler, the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu 11 at a United Nations subcommittee gathering last week in New York City, raised a lot of eyebrows and caused consternation in some political circles.
It all had to do with the 2016 general elections, and the tensions, fear and anxiety that preceded the elections. Ghanaians, through no fault of theirs were apprehensive.
Ghanaians had seen the gory post-election violence in neighboring Ivory Coast and Kenya and feared the same scenario could unfold in their own backyard if the results of the elections were to go a certain way; the nation would explode in flames.
The two parties, the NDC and the NPP hadn’t provided any comfort to the nation; they had their eyes on the electoral prize, the presidency. In fact, they had been at loggerheads for a considerable time and everything was coming to a boil, a climax with the elections around the corner.
In New York City, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu 11 informed the UN gathering that it was his guidance and wise counseling that largely prevented Ghana from convulsing in violence.
He said he advised the former president John Mahama to concede defeat long before the election results came in. Not unexpected, that part of the Asantehene’s speech at the UN was not well received by the NDC.
The party subsequently issued a statement rejecting the traditional ruler’s pronouncement while emphasizing that it was the former president’s own idea to concede defeat. Mr. Mahama was in no way influenced by the traditional ruler was the central theme of the NDC’s response.
I believe it was the security conscious Mr. Mahama who decided to throw in the towel much to the chagrin of his supporters who wanted him to hold his grounds. But the important point his supporters were missing was that Mr. affable Mahama did not want the nation to go down a slippery slope and descend into chaos.
I understand this is politics, but cooler heads must prevail. Nothing is more important than the security and safety of our great nation.
And crucially, the Asantehene meant well. I don’t think he intended to diminish the contributions of the former president towards the post- election peace that the country has enjoyed since.