Throughout life, there is always a next time. The meanings are an expectation and in the hope either a winner shall be the loser which is the he or she and or even they had done better than previously. A repeat loss suggests ordinarily that there had not been substantive improvement of endeavour above the prior fiasco and that conclusively would specifically translate that the case was not valid ab initio. Yet, it is also probable that the missing zip to validate might be due to and flow from underlying dynamics which have faulty lines. Simultaneously, the ‘’ify’’ could equally be possible that the most crucial lynch pin to tip the scales in either’s direction judgmentally, lies somewhere else, ignored, unsearched or un-minded in both sides of the equations. I refer to the voters’ register palaver.
The political parties have gone to court on it more than a few times in recent years. The issue is how appropriate to be used for successive imminent national ballots which may, or not change a sitting political party-led government as a result. But the rulings of the courts have consistently advised, either per obiter dictum or directly, the Electoral Commission of the day to get necessary corrections made and done within sufficient space of time in the pre-immediate next up-coming voting. That bears in omnipresence thought on the major that the running- quarrel, as the main complaint which led to the litigations before and or post-ballot. The senses were to lower the tensions, placating the litigants and expect those would be over in time before the next season. It seems with hind-knowledge that time factor is also crucial consideration to make both campaigning as cleanly robust and voting shall proceed, freely and fairly. Given the outcomes have also been resolved by the courts as were petitioned.
All that questions to find answers for, or to, are: whether the successive electoral commissions did or did not follow up to through, the courts’ advisories. Apparently, each of the rulings of the successive courts would be interpretively acted on as fiats. Reasoning through couple of upshots of the undone-yet till the last minute is inevitable. At best, you cannot blame the Electoral Commission per se. The reason is apart from outstandingly, Dr Kojo Afari-Djan who survived elections into next, and Mrs Charlotte Osei to some extent, despite the torrid times she must have endured, the position of Electoral Commissioner in our country’s history per se; and tenure ipso facto, is the most slippery.
Everyone knows it has to be allowed its independence and mandatorily exchequer-funded with alleged no political blackmail, even if the appointees are placemen or women; and the persons would themselves conduct business, trusted; because they are neither suspect nor perceived ‘’Yoyos’’, reportedly. The next road block is plainly the stalemate that ensues after the prior Commissioner stepped down. Whether s/he is politically-correct relative of which party is in situ, it is doubtful the freshman or woman would have inherited handing over documents of meaningful substance which detailed the ‘’unfinished business’’.
It is the result of the manner of exits, un-dignifying. It is not terribly contentious and or un-charitable to state blame that there wouldn’t be much difference between governments in our rough and tumble historical ways of changing them—military to civilian and vice versa at one level; and civilian to another similarly at another level for ‘who- does- what’. All have apparently observed the simple routines in the breach mostly with cumulative damage which have come home to roost and we have failed to think the root cause or ignored, to date. Thus, default leaves the constant vacuum which drags to court on the eve of elections only in its narrow sense. The limiting arises because all along, barring the hyper-propensity here to politicize the most-minute issue, a greater steam could have been taken out in talking together. There are deliberate, insignificant though, power-play, its macho-show-off politics and egos which are always the sources of the impediments to out-of-court settlement in that realm—let the contradictions settle themselves and leave the differences to go away.
The contention here again, is that results so far, since they are not one-way, signify the futility in the adventures at the courts—not simply because they are there for it, except necessarily, a loss tellingly important factor. The same elements then drift the broader action-spread additionally to stop or it becomes inept because the changes that occur after the ballot, affect institutional drive-on and truncates continuity even of mundane things are instantly paralyzed as the new party coterie have to work in their switches to suit both electioneering manifesto. Intriguingly what is not realized is that even ‘’jobs-for-the boys-chaps’’ take long to fit in and personal chemistries become blended—some don’t at all; and that is what dislocates to contribute to the systemic inertias in governance. Under pressure, every incumbent cites internal and external saboteurs. That has its own history.
I submit its bearing here can safely be imaginably deducted to ease further hassle. However, whichever way the court ruled, there are winners and losers. Thinking about it, there is a fallacy which is that the decisions including the latest are misconstrued. Often the courts are foxy. It was always certain from the start that there are obstacles over which neither court nor the contestants recognized as out of their control. These are time and the contagion which is drilling home the danger which it is more sternly and austerely to thwart a successful exercise—redoing the electoral roll. It totals pyrrhic victory for both sides. It seems the dilemma was centrally piloted by the potential of time and this epic virus to scuttle bigger difficulties –protracted political rancor to intervene plus likelihood of drifting into constitutional crisis and even ultimately stand-off between the judiciary and parliament or the political parties when terms are ended statutorily.
My belief is a hope that there will be some new register to go by. At the disposal of the Opposition parties particularly, is the boycott tool. The country has been here before when the grand-parents of the present ruling political party (NPP) stayed away –Prof Albert Adu Boahene vrs Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings for the Presidency, 1992 on the tickets, respectively of the re-united PP from PFP and UNC; and the NDC; and that was disastrous for the re-union party NPP and why it took them eight years to get back into public favour, in 2000 and fluffed it 2008 and 2012. The derivative is not that straight equation that the NDC would win or lose, if there was a national polling after all because elections are not mathematical equation.
The crucial yardstick is that in our country you discount voter-perfidy and general public pulse at your loss. The former is ephemeral; but the latter is the made-up mind, long before a ballot is cast. I also ought to state for the record that the ‘1992-avoidance’ gave this nation a shadow of one-party state. The country’s escape was how power was maneuvered, a climate constructed by the country private press, acting their best and most memorable watchdog, though often politically tilted in the view of the governing NDC. It comes back in reality to farcical where both the NDC and NPP had used walk outs tactically as suited. Nothing was gained but a lot was lost. The jig-saw gives the meaning in the wisdom of the court’s advisedly, ‘’get on with your campaign.’’
The three main strands are stifle acrimony which may be raucous, go the polls and accept or reject the outcomes in the court. That spells the ‘another next time;’ and presuming we all serenely acquiesce, the greater issue is how many more times the circus shall continue. Elections are a competition; but the processes for them are certainly not; because they are simply administrative, handled with independent competence, the kind that upholds integrity and could hardly make even the place-person an ideological wild card. Or if you like ‘’I dare do all that becomes a man; who dares more, is none.’’[William Shakespeare] Also, whether the ruling says where that to date roll-on rancor stands, it is difficult to foresee it [the disputes, faults and or the Register’s discrepancies] has put in any relief its future.
The rather significant draw down is that there is trust-gap about the electoral system to bridge over. Possibly to probably, a remedy and deterrent may be found in the following: the law requires the political parties to present their certified accounts to the Electoral Commission [EC] within a time post-elections. Pursuit of this and enforcements are in the breach historically. Both the EC and the political parties would be in default, cursorily audited. It is clear to me that an amendment to make interdict petitions to the court shall only be permissible if the party is in good standing on that.
The chances of a private citizen’s recourse to court on the same are not abrogated but slim and it would take huge endeavour to prove there is no political impersonation in the suite. The time that would take and the likelihood of filibuster-witnesses, even on affidavits, would not make it a worthwhile adventure. One stumbling block to cite again is time and the drag of proceedings will force a giving-up, frustrated. There is also the matter of order regarding a schedule for re-opening the electoral roll. It can be pegged by data from the rate of population growth, demographics seriously considered in tandem with generational factors. These may be there and in that case would best be characterized as ‘’paper Tigers’ then for all these periods.
Activated with new vigour should keep Statisticians and Researchers busy, more gainfully employed and gaining job satisfaction, for the benefit of country in terms of removing the going to court syndrome every three to four years over the Electoral Register and ultimately ballot outcomes.
I shall round out on a humour with a devastating meaningful bearings on from my St Augustine’s secondary school Latin Master: ‘’it can be done.’’
©Prof nana essilfie-conduah.