Ghana’s Electoral Commission, led by Mrs Charlotte Osei drummed home a certain truth to Ghanaians through the refusal to pass more than a dozen political figures from taking part in this year’s elections due to some anomalies with their nomination forms. The announcement of the list of political leaders who were campaigning to lead this country on the tickets of their parties was received with mixed reactions by a cross section of Ghanaians.
I wasn’t surprised because in previous elections some political figures had had their forms rejected on account of not filling them properly. The difference this time however, is that because of the PPP’s attempt to use the courts to ‘injunct’ the EC from taking the filing fee of Ghc50,000, the EC was robbed of the time to deal with receiving the nomination forms individually from the parties and passing their verdicts as previous years as they were brought in at the tail end of the deadline. The EC therefore had to do a ‘mass rejection’ this year.
Since that time, not even the NPP’s manifesto launch has been able to push the EC’s ‘red card’ to the back burner. The ‘oohs and aaaaahs’ are yet to die down. Many are those who have questioned why the EC would crack the whip on some ‘flimsy reasons’ like one person endorsing for party A and party B or issues about signatures and etc etc.
This is where I feel disappointed with some of our countrymen and women. I wonder why some voters have made ‘competence’ and ‘incompetence’ issues in this election but want us to promote mediocrity. Who are those who think our nation deserves the best but we must overlook the crossing of every ‘t’ and the dotting of every ‘i’. The joke now is why some people want to be president but do not even have the capacity to fill ordinary nomination forms.
I am a believer in the assertion that our values and culture are what have conspired to bring us to the near sorry state in which we are. Our value is encapsulated in our belief to let things go. We call that the ‘fama Nyame syndrome’. We are ready to let go and allow sleeping dogs to lie all the time, no matter the repercussions. This for me is the bane of our development and the stumbling block to our fighting social vices like corruption of all forms.
We are a country of laws. But here, it only means having laws on paper but when it comes to implementing these laws, we are challenged, because we believe that things must be done with a human face. So in the current situation of disqualification of some flagbearers of some political parties, some people are calling for the EC to give the law a human face by considering them and allowing them to take part in the upcoming elections and rather charge them ‘to go and sin no more’.
But if we are a people who learn from our mistakes and these things have happened in the past election years, how come no lessons have been learnt and some of the flagbearers have been ‘red carded’ twice?
US President Obama’s advice to African countries to build strong institutions than strong personalities is what I see on display here. Mrs Charlotte Osei and her Electoral Commissioners are trying to strengthen the electoral body by going by the book. So should this go strictly without anybody from any quarters pressurizing the commission to bend the rules. We expect that future political nominees would diligently fill their forms and not think that they can just fill their forms their way and succeed in going through to have their names on the ballot papers.
Going forward, it is becoming clear that it is not enough to have a dream to be a political leader. The dream must be followed by having the ability to go through the process according to law and dealing with all the little issues like filling the nomination forms appropriately and getting qualified nominees to fill the right portions and ‘double crossing’ them before moving on towards the bigger issues like drafting convincing manifestos and crafting campaign strategies.
If you cannot cross your ‘Ts’ and dot your ‘Is’, can we vouch for your competence to lead 27 million people? I doubt.
By Kojo Ackaah-Kwarteng
Head of Station, Onua 95.1 FM