Written by Sunskreen
I am not a politician, nor political – I’m just one who loves
My fellow Ghanaians and persons with a heart to
As I mentioned from the onset, I do love
For those who have lost touch with
Now on this fateful afternoon of the expected final announcement from the EC, I was sat in the dusty front seat comfort of a taxi on my way home from Osu, the heart of
Offices had been closed and workers had been asked to go home in preparedness of potential widespread violence. When I say offices, I mean large corporations, even some multinationals. Rumours emerged that even the buzzing centre of commerce, the Accra Mall, was being asked to close early. It was 2:30pm and I was sat in uncharacteristically heavy traffic for that time of day. The taxi driver remarked “Obi ara ko fie, obia suro’ (Everyone’s going home, every one is afraid). On my inbound journey into Osu earlier in the day, a taxi driver had said to me ‘I say, if they don’t call this thing give the opposition, what go happen for this country inside, hmph! Me I dey go pack my things then lef
I sat back and wondered, is this how fragile our peaceful democratic state is? Would people really toss out nearly 30 years of reasonable political stability to send the country into a death spiral akin to that of
My last statement is only a surface statement because behind the word ‘fairly’ lies many worrying details. The allegations that have been tossed about make a real mockery of our professed democracy. Polling station party representatives being beaten and imprisoned in some areas; some constituencies experiencing near 100% voter turn out after registering much less in the first round; Ashiaman descending into scenes straight out of Hotel Rwanda (yes indeed, the mob was threatening to attack a hotel were they suspected some ballot boxes had been smuggled to); the home of one incumbent official being beset by mobs who believed he was housing a ‘ballot paper thumb-printing press’; and the pick of the lot, a whole constituency going without any voting on the day because voting material did not arrive.
Going back to Ashiaman, I was listening to Joy FM on Election Day and wondered which country I was sitting in. There were gun shots in the background as the Joy FM reporter bravely reported from the scene of security forces versus mob violence. Apparently tear gas and warning shots were being aggressively used to disperse the mob and voting had come to a virtual stand-still in the
Now the mental image of this I found very disturbing. This is by no means the
For me, there are a few takeaways from what was largely a very disappointing state of affairs. One – let’s not take our freedom and peace for granted, seriously. The sight of many scurrying home early from work was extremely disconcerting. It felt as though one was witnessing the very beginning of a tragic end. Two – our democracy as we know it, is not sustainable. This is a democracy that encourages boldface underhand tactics that go unchecked; a democracy that thrives on near barbaric aggression at times and a democracy that is ultimately a farce.
Now I hate to prescribe medicine to these problems for I feel I will be joining the legion of talkers. But I feel I should end this note on a tone of hope and not hopelessness. Our long-term political salvation, thankfully, is still in our own hands. After this election, I believe the new incumbent and new opposition really need to sit down and look back at what was a very flawed process of which both parties are equally guilty. We need to have an electoral commission that is truly independent and unwavering in its commitment to carrying out its civic duties. Further, if these blood- and power-thirsty politicians have any bit of love in them, let us seriously resolve to have measures in place that ensure that election results are non-contentious. Is it time to go electronic on the process and eliminate the sometimes convenient inaccuracy of the manual process? Should we now pay serious attention to the National ID project that will ensure only qualifying Ghanaians show up to vote in future elections?
These are burning commitments that may seem like unnecessary financial undertakings. But my brothers and sisters, whatever price these come at, they wouldn’t be a price too high to pay for the continued peace of this country, which we fumbled, and so nearly lost.
[This note was penned based on events prior and up to the 30th of December, 2008]