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A sane voice in a season of political silliness


With the silliness, bombast and threats by one regional party shogun— chairman— to station armed civilians at polling stations in the northern region characterizing much of the campaign season this year, Ghanaians are understandably frightened and nervous.

They are intensely worried that if the elections were to go one way or the other, mayhem and chaos will ensue, disrupting their twenty something years of painstakingly building a viable democratic system and stable institutions.

But amidst all the anxiety and fears, along comes a sane voice, urging calm, and telling Ghanaians that winning elections at all cost should not be the prime motive behind campaigns.

One of the president’s brothers, Mr. Alfred Mahama, on a radio show last week, made it abundantly clear that should the NDC lose the elections, there will be no deliberate attempts to prolong the process of conceding defeat by resorting to court action and other discredited methods. Ghanaians would be spared the agony of a protracted court battle eerily similar to that which occurred in 2012.

“Winning elections must not be a do or die affair,” Mr. Alfred cautioned, adding that his family will go back to the village and continue what it was doing long before politics became a central part of its life, farming, if his brother loses the elections. What a candidly refreshing moment, a welcome development indeed, one we should all warmly embrace for the common good.

For those bitterly opposed to the ruling party and harbor such visceral hatred for the president, there is the temptation to dismiss Mr. Alfred’s statement as the musings of a politically-connected wealthy man.  But it would be misleading and foolhardy to see Mr. Alfred’s pronouncement as such.

After all, Mr. Alfred has a vested interest in the outcome of the December presidential election; his brother’s political future is at stake, and there is a lot that could be lost should Ghanaian voters elect to go with the main opposition party.

Yet, there he was, extolling the virtues of free and fair elections, and stressing the need to accept its outcome in good faith no matter which way they may go. What we need at this stage in our political journey is for sanity to prevail, and Mr. Alfred is providing that opening. His is a sane voice in a season of political silliness.

Given the current tension and animosity between the major political parties, my wish is that those involved in the political process would read from the same page as Mr. Alfred and express similar wise sentiments.

Instead of piling on, raining insults on political opponents and issuing unrealistic promises that largely won’t be fulfilled, they should rather unfailingly assure Ghanaians that irrespective of who emerges as winner of the presidential election, the results will be accepted and respected by all. That is the only hopeful prescription they can give our nation.


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