Sunday, 31 March 2013

Of Course Ghana Is Not Kenya

"Ghana is not Kenya" is one reaction you would hear whenever you compare the presidential election petitions currently pending before the Supreme Courts in both countries.  "Why not" is an immediate reaction to the “Ghana is not Kenya” reaction and I can empathise with that. Both countries are African countries and seem to have taken the path of democracy. Both countries have made provision in their respective constitutions for presidential election petitions to be filed in their respective Supreme Courts to challenge the election of the president. So why can't Ghana be like Kenya?

I can also empathise with those who vehemently say, "Ghana is not Kenya" and indeed, I do empathise with those who react in that manner but for completely different reasons. I mean how can we even think that Ghana can be like Kenya. We have to face facts and be honest with ourselves when comparing the manner in which the Supreme Court in both countries are dealing with the presidential election petitions before them. In that respect, Ghana is nowhere near Kenya at all. In fact, Ghana is millions of miles behind Kenya and we, Ghanaians, ought to be ashamed.

In writing this short piece of article, I have confined myself to the presidential election petitions before the Supreme Courts in both countries and the manner in which those petitions are being dealt with. I must therefore emphasise that this article does not compare the economic success or democratic success of both countries. 

Having set out my intentions clearly, it is my opinion that Ghana is not Kenya because Ghana is far behind Kenya and also because

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Test In Election Petitions

The jurisprudence on election petitions make it clear that where there has been substantial non compliance with constitutional provisions and the law, which substantial non compliance affected the outcome of the elections, the results would be overturned. The Petitioners therefore have to show that the Electoral Commission did not comply with the law and that the Electoral Commission's non compliance was substantial and further that the Electoral Commission's substantial non compliance with the law affected the outcome of the 2012 elections. 

The law for the 2012 Elections inter alia required biometric verification prior to voting and that presiding officers must sign the pink sheets. The Petitioners allege that the Electoral Commission did not comply with the requirement of biometric verification prior to voting thereby allowing 743,415 votes to be added to the total valid votes, which votes are invalid and ought to have been disregarded in the final tally. The Petitioners also allege that the Electoral Commission did not comply with the requirement that all pink sheets must be signed by the presiding officer and thereby allowed 751,528 votes to be added to the total valid votes, which votes were invalid and ought to have also been disregarded in the final tally. 

The Petitioners must also demonstrate that the addition of these invalid votes, amongst others, substantially affected the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections. According to the Petitioners, the non compliance with the law by the Electoral Commission was substantial and affected the outcome of the 2012 elections in that if the alleged irregularities are removed, the 1st Petitioner ought to have been declared President of Ghana with 59.69% of the valid votes cast. 

That in my opinion satisfies the test in election petitions, subject to evidentiary proof.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Loud Hosannas to our King

We usually stayed up all afternoon on Saturday weaving palm branches for Palm Sunday. We will take our time trying to weave uniquely styled palm branches so that our palm branches will stand out the next morning at church. This was one activity our mother will not scold us for engaging in and indeed on most occasions, she will join and teach us new styles. When God finally blessed us with Sunday morning, we would rise or our mother would wake us quite early and we would run into our garden and sometimes into our neighbours’ gardens and pluck the freshest and most beautiful flowers therein and stick them in our palm branches. How joyful we were to see brightly coloured flower petals sticking out from our green palm branches. We would arrive at church feeling proud about our palm branches only to realize that other children had been engaged in similar and sometimes better creativity and weaving.

Palm Sunday is arguably the best Sunday in the life of children regardless of their religion. At church, we would sing and dance and wave our palm branches and palm fronds joyously without a care in the world. The Sunday school on Palm Sunday was also special. Sunday school ended early and we would take the brass bands and trumpets and together with our Sunday school teachers take to the streets of Accra, singing “Loud Hosannas to Our King.” It was such fun.

I reminisced the foregoing experience in church last year and realized that being a child in Ghana on Palm Sunday was the amazing experience any child could ask for. Such celebration and hosanna singing and palm branch weaving are no longer done.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Ghana as a Father at 56 Years

This year, I made up my mind that I was not going to write any blog, post, article, note or whatever you may call sharing one’s thoughts on an issue, regarding Ghana’s 56th independence anniversary. My reason was that the posts, articles and blogs, etc on Ghana’s independence anniversary have always had the same themes. Even the ones criticizing Ghana have the same themes. And they all have the same quotes (“the Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of the African continent,” “the black man is capable of handling his own affairs”) and shower praises on Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, most of which he honestly deserves. I even wrote one of such articles titled “The Independence Of Ghana Is Still Meaningless Unless …” in 2010 when Ghana celebrated its 53rd independence anniversary and upon reading a copy, which was posted on GhanaWeb, I find that the content is still relevant today as it was 3 years ago when I wrote it.

Anyway, I changed my mind about writing or perhaps, I should admit that my mind would simply not allow me not to write. It decided to wander and proposed to me: “why don’t you compare Ghana to a living being? Compare Ghana to a human being who is 56 years old. Consider that perspective.” So I will; and I want you to join me in doing so.