Am Guided by History:
Ghana goes to the polls in December 7, 2020 to elect a president and two hundred and seven five members of parliament.
Under its current democratic dispensation, the ballot on the 7th of December will be the 8th general election since 1992 when the West African country decided to chart the path of democracy under the fourth republic.
The first general election held in 1992 saw Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings emerging as president. He had ruled the country as a military leader for eleven years. The stability that the nation had enjoyed during the military regime was concretized during the eight years he led the country as a civilian leader.
John Agyakum Kufour is the second president of the fourth republic. He won the presidential election held in December 2000. Many political observers and commentators had described that elections as a crucial test to Ghana’s infant democracy.
They had feared that the outgoing president would only hand over power to a successor from his political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Therefore, on the 7th of January 2001 when the presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) was sworn in as president, the credentials of his excellency Rawlings were further entrenched in the eyes of well-meaning Ghanaians and political watchers in the West African sub region in particular, Africa and the West as a whole.
In the eyes of the international community, the nation’s fledgling democracy was taken to another level when again on the 7th of January 2009, the late John Evans Atta Mills took over power from J. A. Kufour.
The NDC’s candidate had emerged victorious over Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo of the NPP. This was according to figures from the electoral commission.
On the 24th of July 2012, President Mills passed on at the 37 military hospital in Accra. As the constitution demanded, his vice, John Dramani Mahama was sworn in by the Chief Justice in a ceremony before parliament to complete the remaining term of President Mills. This was another test which Ghana’s young democracy sailed through. In the republic of Togo and the Ivory Coast, Ghana’s eastern and western neighbors respectively, different stories can be told under similar circumstances.
Togo’s constitution before the death of Eyadema provided that the Speaker of parliament takes over power as president when under any circumstances as provided by law the president could not perform his duties including death.
Upon the death of the president, parliament of Togo hurriedly convened and amended the constitution including reducing the age limit of a president from 40 to 35 and brought in the son of Eyadema, Faure Gnasimgbe, who was 39 to take over the presidency at the expense of the legitimate successor.
Currently in the Ivory Coast the sitting president who is successfully completing the two terms limit in office has sponsored a constitutional amendment to allow him contest again. President Alassane Ouatara circumvented the rule after the sudden demise of his chosen successor, Amadou Gon Coulibally.
In both cases, the constitutional order was manipulated.
President John Dramani Mahama contested the 2012 election and the electoral commission Ghana declared him winner over Akufo Addo. He, however, lost his second term bid in December 2016 and handed over power without any feet dragging to Akufo Addo of the NPP on the 7th of January, 2017.
Will Akufo Addo give power back to John Mahama in this year’s election in peace or pieces as defeat looms? This is a genuine concern against the backdrop of the following inter alia:
1. The president wants to maintain power at all cost
2. There is a growing climate of insecurity in the country
3. The role of NPP hoodlums in the national security regime
4. The intimidation of NDC supporters by activities of the government and NPP thugs and
5. All the frustrations put in the path of victory of the NDC by actions and inactions of the electoral commission overtly and covertly.
Water, they say, will always look for the contour to chart its course. The NDC is prepared and determined to use all legitimate means to win the December elections and safeguard its victory.
I Shall Return