On Saturday night of December 7, 2013, my good friend Koi-Larbi called me from Maryland to inform me about an article composed and published in the New York Times by Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama. “I have already seen and saved the article for a careful reading and digestion shortly,” I replied my friend at the other end and thanked him for bringing such significant information to my attenton. It was not that I any particularly cared about the fourth president to be elected in Ghana’s Fourth Republic.
Last year’s heavily rigged presidential election that brought a hitherto transitional President John Dramani Mahama to power as Ghana’s substantive premier was, arguably, also the most unpardonable political travesty in the country’s 21-year-old Fourth-Republican democratic culture. And I have yet to recover from the morally staggering trauma that attended the same.
Personally, I believe that the Russian-trained communications specialist means the country very well. In other words, the man clearly seems to have good intentions to spurt forth the country’s material advancement. But whether, indeed, Mr. Mahama is also remarkably imbued with the requisite skills, vision and creative innovativeness to actualize his intentions remains moot. At least this is what many Ghanaians have been publicly wondering about.
That he so cavalierly and gaily rigged his way into maintaining and entrenching his hitherto tentative and transitional grip on the presidency, also continues to be hotly debated. The country’s superannuated Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has already admitted publicly before an august panel of Supreme Court judges that, indeed, a massive and democratically untenable level of over-voting occurred, largely in favor of the presidential incumbent, even though Dr. Afari-Gyan had earlier on vehemently denied such charge under oath. Most of the nine judges who presided over the Election 2012 Presidential Petition have also concluded that, in fact, neither of the two major presidential contenders clinched the constitutionally mandated 50-percent of the ballot.
And yet, the same judges flatly refused to nullify the 2012 presidential election and call for a rerun of the same. In fairness, though, it ought to be pointed out that the aggrieved candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the party that he leads, the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), had made a philosophically problematic – and patently infantile and abjectly cynical – demand of the Court. And it was this glaringly gratuitous demand that decidedly became their proverbial Waterloo. And that unreasonable demand, of course, was that a remarkable percentage of ballots cast in favor of the declared winner be literally chucked into the waste-paper bin in order to have the loser declared victor.
In retrospect, the most appropriate approach ought to have been the blanket revocation of the entire presidential election, and the ordering of fresh elections, with the Electoral Commissioner being promptly fired for gross managerial incompetence. To wit, the Election 2012 Presidential Petitioners had curiously rigged up their own suit for certain defeat right from the outset.
Now, what have the preceding observations to do with the following caption of President Mahama’s tribute to the immortalized South African anti-apartheid spearhead: “Mandela Taught a Continent to Forgive” (New York Times 12/5/13)? It is obviously the peevish hypocrisy subtending the foregoing caption that I am trying to expose. And the fact of the matter is that whatever “Forgiveness” former President Nelson R. Mandela might have taught the rest of the African continent north of the Commonwealth Republic of South Africa, never filtered into either the ears or conscience of the leadership of the Jerry John Rawlings-minted political juggernaut, the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC).
For Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution was not crafted wholly out of the goodness of the hearts of the faultingly compassionate masses of the country’s electorate. Rather, it was crafted purely out of expedient cynicism and the desperate need of the National Democratic Congress leadership to escape the long, albeit deliberate, arms of justice. And that is why our Fourth-Republican Constitution has been functionally and effectively hobbled by being riddled with Indemnity Clauses. And, indeed, Ghana’s may be the only deliberately dysfunctional governance framework of any worthwhile democratic African country.
Ours is not a Constitution that is morally crafted on the salutary need to forgive and move on to a new progressive agenda. Our Constitution has been flagrantly hijacked by reprobates and rascals who continue to hold the masses of our people to ransom. And this is also why it is extremely difficult to understand what Mr. Mahama means when he so vacuously claim in the caption of his tribute that “Mandela Taught a Continent to Forgive.”