President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sneered at former President John Mahama’s doomsday prophecies of violence after this year’s elections, with an emphatic assurance that the prevailing peace and stability will continue even after December 7, 2020.
His soothing assurance was contained in his speech during yesterday’s 20th anniversary celebration of the founding of the New Patriotic Party’s Tertiary Students Confederation (TESCON) in Ho in the Volta Region.
Mr. Mahama made the headlines for the wrong reason when he said that the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) should be held responsible for the violence which would visit the country in the aftermath of this year’s polls should she go ahead with the compilation of a new voters’ register against the wish of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The President’s response to his predecessor and now flag bearer of the NDC joins a litany of condemnation from both individuals and entities all wondering why the immediate past President would engage in scaremongering.
Addressing the packed Ho Technical University auditorium, the President mocked at the now commonplace inconsistencies with the former President, especially on matters concerning the independence of the EC. “I think that it is important for the credibility of our national public discourse that public persons are seen to be consistent in their views and advocacy,” he fired at the former President newfound hatred for the EC something which when he was at the helm he spoke against.
When Charlotte Osei was in charge of the EC and there was mounting pressure on her to change the voters’ register among other demands to ensure credible elections, the then President Mahama asked Ghanaians to respect the independence of the EC and allow the chairperson to do her work. He added that nobody had the authority, including him, to interfere in the work of the EC.
“It cannot be right that when you are President, you say one thing, and, when you become leader of the opposition, you say another,” President Akufo-Addo pointed out.
The President recounted how, when in opposition, and when agitations about the credibility of the current electoral register took place, “some amongst us went on lawful, peaceful demonstrations, and some also went to court to ventilate their grievance and seek redress, in other words we took the lawful routes – the constitutionally sanctioned routes.”
According to the President, at the time, President Mahama gave a caution for the EC to be allowed to do its independent work.
He said Mr. Mahama as President had said specifically that “some parties have made it a penchant to continuously attack the Electoral Commission for reasons I cannot understand. This is the time we need to give the Electoral Commission peace to do its work. Every little thing, they are at the Electoral Commission, attacking the commission…our electoral process has inherent safeguards in it that any serious political party can ensure that it polices that election, and makes sure of the integrity of the election.”
He continued that Mr. Mahama again had said “I believe that our Electoral Commission continues to be one of the most experienced and the best not only in Africa but also in the world, and has delivered very successful elections in the past, and, if we give it the encouragement and support that it deserves, it should be able to deliver us a successful election.”
Five years later, Mr. Mahama finding himself in opposition, in the words of President Akufo-Addo, “has made a complete volte-face.”
The President said Mr. Mahama recently told fisherfolk that “if the Electoral Commission will not listen to us and proceed to compile a new biometric register, then they will be held responsible for whatever happens. If strife and conflict occurs, the EC should own up and accept responsibility for it.”
Admonitions for Mahama
“Firstly, the exclusive constitutional responsibility of the Electoral Commission for compiling an electoral register has not changed. It has done so on three occasions since the inauguration of the 4th Republic. None of the registers compiled by the Electoral Commission – 1995, 2004, 2012 – the last two in election years, on one occasion when the NPP was in office, the other when the NDC was in office – led to any disturbance or upheaval in the country, despite whatever reservations any of the political parties of the time had over any of those registers. The people of Ghana registered in peace and tranquility, and voted accordingly,” President Akufo-Addo replied Mr. Mahama.
“But I want to assure him that there will be no strife, there will be no conflict after the December 7 general elections. The good sense of the Ghanaian people, which has preserved the peace and stability of the 4th Republic for the past 27 years, will continue to prevail, and they will not permit any poor, desperate loser to plunge this country into chaos. Ghana is bigger than the ambitions of any of us,” the President stressed.