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A Nervous Nation Awaits Supreme Court’s Verdict


Let me add my voice to the chorus of voices asserting that our current political discourse is irretrievably poisoned and increasingly dominated by rabid partisans. Interaction between the two main political parties are few and far in between and when they do occur at all, they are frequently hostile and unforgiving.

Indeed, political pronouncements these days drip with so much contempt and disdain for opponents that some are arguing that our democracy, so full of promise and hope two decades ago, is now on a wrong trajectory.

The doomsayers point to the ongoing petition at the Supreme Court brought by the NPP contesting the results of the 2012 elections as evidence that if caution is thrown to the wind, the gains we have made so far – participatory democracy with its attendant free and fair elections, a free and vibrant media and an independent judiciary – will simply disappear.

I, of course, have my reservations and doubts about our democracy suffering such setbacks; after all, our society is now ‘fully democratized’ and each passing day we assert ourselves, demanding our rights to good education, a sound healthcare system and an equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth.  However, democracy can be fragile and could easily degenerate into chaos and violence if those entrusted with its keen and fair observation turn around and flout those very principles.

So, as the NPP petition winds its way through the Supreme Court, Ghanaians of all political hues are anxiously waiting for a verdict that could test the resilience of the country’s nascent democracy. The anxiety is palpable; will a Supreme Court decision vindicating the NPP’s claim sit well with those who have already governed for the last six months.

Or, if it is proven beyond any reasonable doubt that President John Mahama won the 2012 elections fair and square, will the petitioners abide by the court’s ruling and accept defeat in good grace? These are pertinent questions the country wishes could be answered before a verdict is reached.

The Justices of the nation’s highest court have an unenviable task. Thrust into a role they never expected, they must now come up with a decision that could potentially throw the nation into chaos or better still, heal the wounds that were opened by the outcome of the 2012 elections and the subsequent legal action.   

I have supreme confidence in the Justices of the Supreme Court; in fact, I trust that they will render a fair verdict based on evidence and facts; our collective fate as a nation rides on their sense of fairness. The stakes are too high for anything short of a clean decision devoid of partisanship.

The recent cases of Kenya and Ivory Coast exploding in ethnic violence in post –election disputes should serve as painful reminders of what can go awfully wrong when politicians want to have power at all cost. If the nation were to descend into convulsions of violence, fingers will be pointed at the Supreme Court Justices and not at the politicians who sowed the seeds of mayhem in the first place. On the other hand if the peace reigns after the verdict, the Justices will be hailed for generations to come.

I shudder to think of what a post -verdict violence could do to our nation. But one thing is for sure, our economy will bear the brunt of any fallout from the violence. Already unable to create jobs for the thousands of graduates coming out of our schools and colleges, it will be weakened further and could probably grind to a halt.

Violence of any kind will equally tear apart whatever remains of our political marriage. Political and ethnic divisions will grow and hardened and further complicate relations between the political parties who currently find it hard to cooperate for the common good of the country.  And at the end of it all, our reputation as the most stable oasis in West Africa will be tarnished, recovery from which will take years.

When it is all said and done, Ghana’s stability rests on the leadership of the two parties – the NPP and the NDC – who should not hesitate to issue blanket warnings to their supporters to resist any temptation to break the law if the Supreme Court hands down a verdict they deem unfair. The nation's fortunes are more important than their political allegiances.



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