He had better virulently start pointing incriminating fingers at somebody, if the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is to be taken seriously as well as have a fighting chance at Election 2016 (See “NPP Not Pointing Accusing Finger At EC – Akufo-Addo” Graphic.com.gh / Ghanaweb.com 8/20/15).
Addressing a press conference in the wake of a team of NPP forensic experts, led by Veep Candidate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, that uncovered the criminal tacking onto Ghana’s current Voters’ Register of some 76,000 Togolese nationals on Tuesday, August 18, Nana Akufo-Addo stated that the aim of the forensic auditing that uncovered that mega-scam was not to fault anybody for such flagrant breach of the civil rights of the Ghanaian electorate, but rather “deepen” the country’s democratic culture.
“It goes without saying and doubt that any innovation the EC has introduced since 1993 has been at the instigation of the NPP,” Nana Akufo-Addo was reported to have said. Well, somebody ought to sober up this smug NPP flagbearer into fully appreciating the fact that the 76,000 Togolese nationals whose photo IDs and other vitals statistics were allegedly scanned into Ghana’s Voters’ Register did not get there by happenstance or a pure act of God or Divine Providence. Somebody or a criminal syndicate got such illegal data into our electoral register. And the former Attorney-General and Justice Minister can only constructively hope to “deepen democracy” by helping the new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and our courts of law ferret out the culprits and have them promptly and swiftly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I have already detailed much of what needs to be done, and shall therefore not belabor the same in this column. It is only a lazy thinker who would so facilely presume to “deepen democracy” by merely establishing a new Voters’ Register in the face of such overwhelming evidence of a patent act of criminality. In his Tuesday’s press conference, the 2016 New Patriotic Party’s Presidential Candidate smugly noted that “the introduction of transparent ballot boxes, photo identity cards and biometric registration were all initiatives of the NPP,” further adding that the initial call for such innovative changes had been fiercely fought by key operatives of the National Democratc Congress (NDC).
What is significant to ask of Nana Akufo-Addo is to what extent the cosmetic introduction of these “innovative” technologies facilitated a remarkable deepening of the country’s Fourth Republican democratic culture. In particular, how effective was the introduction of biometric registration of eligible voters in depeening the quality of Ghana’s electoral culture, in view of what transpired in the aftermath of Election 2012 and the Supreme Court’s ruling on the same? In sum, what I am getting at here is the fact that it would be foolhardy and intellectually degenerate for any Ghanaian leader to facilely presume that the mere introduction of new electoral technology, in of itself, offers any remarkable solution to the quality and/or fairness of the conduct of elections, both local and national, in the country.
As I clearly stated in my previous column on this subject, it is human beings who conduct elections, not machines. And as long as the mindset and attitude of our Electoral Commission operatives and polling agents and party chiefs do not dispassionately factor into the equation, the imperative necessity for the quality of our electoral process to meet the highest standards of integrity, no amount of new Voters’ Register establishment would make any worthwhile difference. As well, having the backing of politically insignificant parties like the Kwesi Nduom-owned and operated Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the rump-Convention People’s Party (r-CPP) does not mean a damn thing!
For starters, both the PPP and the CPP are ideological clones, with the PPP having split from its CPP ideological matrix/parent on grounds of personality squabbles and power struggle. But even more significantly, both the PPP and CPP are leftist and Nkrumah-leaning with no remarkably different political agenda from that of the Rawlings-minted ruling National Democratic Congress. All three parties spring from a benighted tradition of poll-rigging and one-party statism. And so if I were Akufo-Addo, I would look around for far more credible political associates and truckers than these irreparably discredited pro-Russian faux-socialist opportunists.
There is absolutely no doubt that in our time, the New Patriotic Party is the best ideologically and professionally equipped political organization to run the country. What the NPP presently needs more of are leaders with uncompromising conviction.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York