[Article] Let’s avoid another election petition

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On the morning of August 29, 2013, exactly a year ago today, many Ghanaians woke up not too sure what the future held for the country. For that was the day that the country’s highest court, the Supreme Court, was due to pronounce the ruling on the petition against the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the 2012 presidential election.

The petition had been brought by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate in the election, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo; his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the then Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey.

So high was the tension, apprehension and uncertainty that characterised the eight-month hearing of the petition that even after the court had given its ruling, many were left in doubt as to whether the case was over.

Before the declaration of the ruling, many were wondering what would happen if the court declared the petitioner the winner; at the same time, there were doubts as to what the petitioner would do if President Mahama was declared winner.

But the beauty of Ghana’s democracy came into play when not too long after the announcement of the ruling, Nana Akufo-Addo gracefully accepted it and the country returned to ‘normalcy’, to the admiration of Ghanaians and the rest of the world.

The election petition hearing and the subsequent ruling has brought to the fore, the need to undertake reforms to avoid a recurrence of events that could lead to a similar situation.

We are aware that the Electoral Commission has asked all political parties to submit proposals for reforms. It is our hope that such proposals will be forthcoming, if they have already not been submitted, for the necessary steps to be taken to address any shortcomings that may have been identified.

Within the past year also, one issue that has dominated the political scene is that of ‘winner takes all’, which has become an item that may possibly be reformed in our electoral process. The Daily Graphic  calls on all to thoroughly discuss and debate this issue before any reforms are carried out.

Already, the EC has also conducted a limited registration exercise to capture prospective voters. It is our conviction that the voters register will be cleaned thoroughly and made acceptable to all political parties to avoid challenges about its authenticity.

We once again congratulate the nine-member panel led by Justice William Atuguba, with Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Anim Yeboah, Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Justice N.S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Akoto-Bamfo as members.

No doubt, they have contributed immensely to the deepening of our democracy by using a non-violent, constitutional means to secure the integrity of the 2012 elections and future ones.

The future of democracy, peace, stability and development in Ghana and Africa has, to a significant measure, been enhanced and we all have to pat ourselves on the back for not allowing the events of the 2012 elections and the petition thereafter to degenerate into confusion and chaos, as has happened in other parts of the world.

Source: Graphic Online