George Lawson Ought to Listen to Himself

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?Precisely what does he mean when the Deputy National General-Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. George Lawson, asserts that it is rather strange and untenable for the Akufo-Addo-led main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to impugn the credibility of the Afari-Gyan-chaired Electoral Commission (EC), vis-a-vis the latter’s call for proposals aimed at enabling the EC to effect reforms, because it was “EC-led reforms that brought the [Kufuor-led] NPP to power in 2000 and 2004 respectively [consecutively?]”? (See “EC-Led Reforms That Brought NPP to Power” JoyOnline /Ghanaweb 9/14/13).

 

Is Mr. Lawson vindicating the late Prof. Adu A. Boahen by implying that until 2000 and 2004, the Afari-Gyan-led Electoral Commission had been routinely rigging the polls to ensure victory for the then-Rawlings-led National Democratic Congress? If so, then what happened during Elections 2008 and 2012? Did the Electoral Commission deliberately and criminally resort to the status quo ante by capriciously turning the tide against the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party, and in the process eviscerating the sovereign mandate of the people?

 

Needless to say, however independent the Electoral Commission may be deemed, when it comes to laws regulating its conduct, the EC perforce ought to defer to Parliament which is composed of the legitimately elected representatives of the people. In essence, the Electoral Commission and its Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, cannot be a law unto themselves. That both major and minor electoral reforms have been undertaken by the Commission during the past twenty years without any interference, whatsoever, from any quarter among the three branches of government, speaks to the fact of Parliament having curiously and flagrantly reneged on its constitutional obligations.

 

It is this abject neglect of its responsibilities to the Electoral Commission, by Parliament, that has imbued and emboldened Dr. Afari-Gyan with such imperious and peremptory powers as to make the former University of Ghana political scientist believe that he can literally get away with such capital crimes, as were recently determined by a moiety of the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court, to have entailed a reckless and cavalier performance of the high-powered job entrusted into his care.

 

Then also, is Mr. Lawson, the Deputy National General-Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, hereby suggesting that the latest call for reform proposals by the Electoral Commission is to enable Dr. Afari-Gyan to, once again, remake himself into a proverbial choir-boy by facilitating a possible return to power of the New Patriotic Party? This clearly and morbidly smacks of a guilty conscience to me. The fact of the matter is that Dr. Afari-Gyan has more than amply demonstrated before the highest court of the land, that he does not have what it takes to efficiently manage the electoral and sovereign right of the people to the selection of a leadership of their own choice.

 

For instance, after vehemently denying under oath that there had occurred any remarkable level of over-voting at a significant number of polling stations, Dr. Afari-Gyan would shortly contradict himself by acknowledging that, indeed, remarkable instances of over-voting had occurred in Election 2012, as publicly and vehemently alleged by Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party. Likewise the fanatical Convention People’s Party (CPP) partisan would deny under oath before the Atuguba-presided panel of Supreme Court judges that, indeed, voting without biometric verification had significantly occurred in Election 2012, and then subsequently contradict himself under sustained judicial scrutiny.

 

What do the foregoing instances of criminal prevarication tell us, but the stark fact that Dr. Afari-Gyan is a criminally minded Electoral Commissioner whose credibility is not worth the price of the plaque or shingle on which his title and academic credentials are inscribed? Indeed, the very first order of electoral reforms ought to begin with a non-negotiable call for Dr. Afari-Gyan to either resign or be promptly relieved of his post by Ghana’s Parliament. A rigidly enforced tenure, not exceeding 10 years, also ought to be written into the contract of the next Electoral Commissioner to be hired by the Government, as well as the contracts of the latter’s successors from hence.

 

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

Sept. 14, 2013

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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