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Ghana solidifies its democratic credentials with Supreme Court’s decision


Before the Supreme Court’s decision last month essentially confirmed the NDC as the actual winner of the 2012 general elections, doomsayers had a field day predicting post-verdict bouts of violence and mayhem.

Aggrieved Ghanaians upset by the verdict, we were told, would explode in anger, go on a rampage and tear the nation apart. Parallels were even drawn between what happened in Kenya and in nearby Ivory Coast where thousands were slaughtered and what could possibly occur in Ghana. Africans, after all, aren’t just used to the norms of participatory and electoral democracy.  

Matters weren’t helped by foreign embassies who told their nationals in uncertain terms to tread carefully on the day of the verdict and to avoid hotspots in Accra and by high ranking politicians and wealthy Ghanaians who were said to have moved their families overseas ostensibly to “avoid” the impending explosion of violence.

Thankfully, none of the doomsday scenarios materialized. Ghanaians of all political persuasions acknowledged the importance of staying calm in the interest of the nation and subsequently received the verdict with a mixture of elation and disappointment.

I never once thought the Supreme Court would rule in favor of the NPP. The odds were stacked heavily against a decision that would have removed the ruling NDC and installed the opposition NPP. It has never been done; there is no such precedent in our national history.

Even if the verdict had gone the way of the NPP, the logistics of changing political batons would have been nightmarish. Imagine the chaos and confusion that would ensue……sabotage by disgruntled officials of the outgoing administration and frustration and exasperation by the incoming administration.

Much of the calmness that greeted the verdict should be credited to the former NPP presidential candidate, Nana Akuffo Addo who demonstrated such magnanimity and dignity in his speech accepting the verdict. He did not only call President John Mahama to congratulate him, he also extolled his teeming supporters to “suck it up” and accept the Court’s decision in good faith.

Now that the dust has settled and the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the NDC removed, it is time to tackle the nation’s myriad of problems head-on. The public is in no mood for the torrent of excuses frequently trotted out by the government and its mouthpieces to explain away its perceived inertia.

Look, the one impeding obstacle often cited by government officials for their inaction —-the NPP’s lawsuit—–is now out of the way, so the NDC should get to work to ease the burden of Ghanaians.

Complaints abound about the sorry state of the national economy and the widespread levels of poverty. The genesis of the economic malaise may be traceable to the global downturn of 2008, but it is not uncommon to hear Ghanaians pin the blame for their woes on the NDC.   

“The government has failed us, the NDC is not good,” is the popular refrain heard around drinking bars, chop bars and lorry stations and wherever Ghanaian congregate. Job creation should be the government’s priority. To appease a public that is increasingly frustrated by the lack of economic opportunities, job creation should be the government’s priority.

There is little doubt that the Supreme Court’s decision has further widened existing political divisions. Members of the losing party (the NPP) are understandably aggrieved by the judges’ ruling despite pretensions to the contrary, and thus are in no compromising mood. Trust me, they would do anything to make Mahama’s days as President excruciatingly difficult. And as for members of the victorious party (the NDC), they now feel vindicated and thus emboldened to take the nation on a course they deem righteous.

Repairing any political rift rests solely on the shoulders of the President who must work with the opposition to make the nation a better place for all. There would, of course, be the occasional obstruction and delays by the NPP calculated to frustrate and thwart the smooth governance of the country, but the NDC should take these maneuvers in stride mindful of the fact that what is at stake here is not political expediency but the salvation of the nation.

All told, the Supreme Court’s decision on August 29th and the attending calm that greeted it have solidified our nation’s democratic bonafides. No more would the country again be referred to in the same breath as other African countries which erupted in uncontrollable violence after disputed elections.

Ghanaians have demonstrated to an anxious international community that they are politically matured and capable of resolving their political differences minus the rancor and violence.



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