THE ASOMDWEE PARK - CASTLE MARINE DRIVE
OSU – ACCRA
My Dear Professor Atta Mills,
TAIN WAS A BLESSING
I was forced to write to you very early when you relocated to the unknown and the unseen world. I hope you have settled peacefully in the bosom of Abraham.
By the grace of God we are well. Last week President Mahama completed the last leg of the appropriate and befitting thank you tour which successfully thanked the chiefs and people of our dear nation – Ghana; for their exemplary show of love, maturity and patriotism during and after the impressive state funeral which finally laid you to rest at the ‘Asomdwee’ Park.
Dr Naadu Mills your beloved lifetime partner is currently in the United States of America. She has received an award on your behalf. It was presented by the International Institute of Education; in recognition of your exemplary leadership that increased cooperation and understanding between Ghana and the world. It is also to honour you for your resolute support in advancing education in Ghana.
I remember you informing us of this award when you returned from Camp David after the G8 meeting. We congratulated you. I still think another congratulations, though posthumously, to the only Fullbright Scholar to have become the President of a nation is in order. Once again, congratulations!
Prof. about four years ago you honoured Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah by declaring his birthday 21st September a National Holiday and even appropriately calcified it in history as “Founder’s Day”. Tomorrow will be the fourth celebration of this momentous holiday. Osagyefo must be whispering some ‘fanti’ into your ears in acknowledgement of your bold effort despite the overt resistance from some reactionary elements within the Ghanaian political space.
This year, Commander Jorge Risquet Valdes a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party who fought in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola will grace the occasion at the Accra International Conference Centre. Appropriately the theme is: Nkrumah Never Dies. True statesmen never die hence I believe in my heart and in the hearts of many Ghanaians (eventhough your name has been expunged from the biometric voters register) - you will never die.
I can never forget the sprint towards the finishing line which culminated in the eventual victory in Tain during the second or should I say ‘third’ round of the 2008 Presidential elections. It was this victory which gave you the mandate to honour the first President of our beloved nation. Tain is a historic town in the Brong Ahafo Region, the home region of Mrs Lordina Mahama, wife of President John Dramani Mahama, who you affectionately called “John”. It is also the home region of Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia a.ka. ‘General’ and many of our Comrades.
Prof. how could I forget this? It was in Brong Ahafo Region; precisely at the Coronation Park (Sunyani Sports Stadium) that you set the 96.9% record in the flagbearership contest in July 2011. As I write to you, your successor, John, has shattered your record in a typical Elijah-Elisha fashion, though under different circumstances. He secured 99.5% yes votes at the Babayara Sports Stadium in Kumasi to qualify him to contest on the ticket of the NDC as Presidential candidate in your absence. Paa Kwesi is partnering him as his running mate.
I have been particularly impressed with his handling of the delicate transition process after your demise. Both at the national and party level. I am not alone, the whole world bears testimony to this.
With your monumental achievements in the area of Peace, Integrity and Development, I am confident President Mahama will win the December 7 elections as a testimony to your untiring efforts. A feat which will offer him considerable time to advance the fruitful ’Better Ghana Agenda’ which is working. So far he has proven to be the energetic hardworking and sincere president that Ghanaians can trust.
In this letter, I intend to, among other things, draw brief parallels from the 2000 presidential elections in the United States of America with the third phase of our 2008 presidential elections and finally give thanks to God for making Tain a blessing to Ghana through the wisdom of Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan. I will whisper into your ears about the NPP’s escapades at the Supreme Court lately.
Prof. it is not unusual for electoral disputes to be placed before the judiciary for determination. However when this occurs, it invariably means there is an abnormal occurrence, at least as, perceived by a stakeholder. During the year 2000 Presidential elections in the United States of America, supporters of George Walker Bush were deprived the traditional luxury and the joy of a victory speech from their candidate in the early hours of the day after voting. As a Fullbright Scholar and a visiting lecturer to the U.S.A, I shouldn’t be the one telling you how uneasy it is to stay out there in the cold at night particularly during winter and be disappointed.
This disappointment was occasioned by the outcome of the acrimonious 2000 US Presidential elections which was indeterminate until the US Supreme Court ruled. George Walker Bush became President not just through the counting of ballots but also the counting of heads on the bench. This verdict was after the Florida Supreme Court had unsuccessfully attempted to resolve the electoral impasse to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
By a vote of 7-2 the US Supreme court found the Florida decision to recount the votes as chaotic and that it violated the equal protection clause of their constitution. By another vote of 5-4, the court ruled that there was no fair way to recount the votes to allow Florida to take part in the Electoral College. Hence the election results stood.
In Florida, Bush had Two million, nine hundred and twelve thousand, seven hundred and ninety (2,912,790) votes. Vice President Al Gore had, Two million nine hundred and twelve thousand two hundred and fifty – three (2,912,253) votes. The difference is five hundred and thirty - seven (537) votes. By a difference of 537 votes with its corresponding electoral college votes, Bush went to the White House as the fourty- third President of the United States of America. Al Gore, then Vice President to President Bill Clinton packed out of the White house.
One cannot be against the judiciary playing a role in Ghana’s electoral politics. That will be an affront to the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana, a living and an organic matter. But issues arise when subterfuge is activated, albeit unsuccessfully, as a tool to frustrate an electoral process in order to secure a favourable outcome for the Presidential candidate of a ruling party. I am referring specifically and exclusively to Mr Atta Akyea’s botched attempt in court in January 2009.
But for the presence and intervention of the “friends of the court” i.e. Fui Tsikata, Tony Lithur and co., and observers like Dr Raymond Atuguba, your teeming supporters, a glorious informant and the wisdom of Justice Edward Amoako Asante on the day, the outcome could have been different.
Prof. as you are aware, this infamous court case was filed by Mr Atta Akyea, currently an NPP Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South. It was against the wise counsel of some lawyers belonging to the NPP stock who held a counter view that, there was no legal basis for stopping the elections in Tain.
In fact the late B.J. Da Rocha is on record to have condemned the action describing it as an attempt to stall the electoral process. According to the legal luminary, the action by his party against the Electoral Commission was neither in the interest of the nation nor the credibility of the NPP. In an interview on an Accra based radio station, he insisted the constitution must be allowed to play out without any interference. Clearly Atta Akyea’s infamous writ was filed on the blind side of some key actors in the NPP, a situation which even embarrassed then President of the Republic of Ghana, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor.
Prof. it is important to recall that owing to operational and logistics difficulties, the Tain constituency elections could not take place on December, 28, 2008 during the runoff to elect the President of Ghana.
It emerged as a blessing. As the Agence France - Presse (AFP) captioned it on December 31, 2008: “VIOLENT PROTEST OVER GHANA POLL RESULTS”: NPP supporters thronged the headquarters of the electoral commission to protest the Presidential elections results. By some strange circumstances this action has been missing in our political discourse since 2009. The only reference to mass action at the same venue, during that period, has always been attributed to the NDC. What a Great Deception Prof.?
The AFP reported that the NPP supporters were wielding machetes and sticks and were attacking passing vehicles; reminiscent of a recent occurrence when Mr Kennedy Agyepong was under arrest for passing genocidal comments on radio. In 2008, local Journalists were not spared. This mayhem was simply the NPP’s inappropriate response to your having taken the lead after partial results from the runoff vote had been made public. It was further reported that after the protest, the AFP reporter saw broken glass and other debris. This misbehaviour was in sharp contrast to a previous protest staged by supporters of the NDC at the same site.
Tain saved the situation. It was indeed a blessing! Because it was the hope of an emotionally brewed but mathematically impossible remote possibility of an NPP victory in Tain which dispersed the agitated NPP supporters. Tain was a blessing!
Prof. I am sure in your debriefing sessions with, Osagyefo, Dr Hilla Limann, Munufie, Da Rocha and others, you aptly captured how the 2008 elections had to be settled after a third round of voting in the historic Tain constituency. B.J. Da Rocha may have served as your resource person on this subject – he saw it happen through the red, white and blue prism.
As you share this second letter with them, I want them to note that the decision to go to Tain was announced by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan on January, 2, 2008. The Electoral Commission arrived at this conclusion because they believed; although the difference in valid votes were in your favour the results could be affected by the outcome of the Tain elections. This decision in my view, retrospectively, was ‘solomonic’. It not only allowed the Electoral Commission time to avert the imminent insurgency that was being activated by the NPP, but also presented some false hope to the losing NPP members and supporters that they could salvage their sinking ship. It was too late.
Statistically it was feasible. Politically the momentum was on your side. In less than three weeks, you overturned a vote deficit of One hundred and two thousand, eight hundred and five (102,805) during the first round of voting on December 7, 2008. You were in the lead and simply unstoppable. You had won eight out of ten regions. We had secured a working majority in Parliament. Victory was within reach and we had an amazing momentum.
As history has it, the Tain constituency elections took place, it was peaceful. You won! You had nineteen thousand, five hundred and sixty - six (19,566) votes. The NPP’s candidate had a distant two thousand and thirty – five (2,035) votes. The rejected ballots were four hundred (400). This paved the way for the final declaration of the results by the Electoral Commissioner, Dr Kwadwo Afari -Gyan.
But for Tain, Ghana may have had serious challenges. Had you been declared winner prior to Tain the NPP would not have accepted the verdict? Thank you Tain! Thank you Brong Ahafo! Thank you Ghana! Thank you Jehovah!
Prof. I shall return in due course. The promised whisper: Prof. surrogates of the NPP are in court again, this time, on the December 7, 2012 elections. Prof. from where you sit do you think they will have their way? From your legal background do you sincerely believe they have a case? I will love to hear from you before Thursday, 4th October, 2012 when the Supreme Court will sit on the substantive case. Meanwhile the NPP lost the first round of the case yesterday.
Prof. Dayie! Prof. Rest In Peace at the ‘Asomdwee’ Park – Man of Peace.
EDWARD KOFI OMANE BOAMAH (DR)
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