Apart from offering, below, some interesting scenarios in the December 7, 2004 Ghana elections, A.B. Assensoh -- who declined an invitation to join an election-monitoring group travelling to Ghana --also heartily congratulates Dr. Kayode Fayemi's CDD and the Observer Mission of the ECOWAS-West Africa Civil Society Forum for adding meaningfully to several dimensions of the successes of Ghana's December 7th elections, at least with their looming presence and prompt impartial reports:
In the last two years, I have declined some meaningful invitations to take part in several crucial, sponsored assignments in the West African sub-region, but with very good reasons: two of them included an invitation for me to join the UNDP-sponsored Pan-African journalistic editorial group, headed by London-based Africa Week Magazine Editor Desmond Davies, to help train several selected West African journalists in the Liberian capital of Monrovia on "democratic reporting"; and the latest invitation that I sadly declined was for me to join an election-monitoring group travelling to Ghana to observe the December 7th parliamentary and presidential elections. First, I declined the Liberian trip because of the volatile (or dangerous) political situation at the time; and, for the Ghana trip, I felt that it was "too close to home" for me to be able to remain impartial to go and observe the elections, in which my mother, aunts, uncles, brothers, my sisters as well as numerous cousins were actively taking part through the casting of their "precious" votes. Also, some of my good friends were running for parliamentary seats at the same time! So, the sane thing to do was to decline the invitation, although it would have been a golden opportunity to visit with my relatives and other folks for the second time since June/July 2004!
However, it was a remarkable and commendable mark of regional as well as Pan-Africanist patriotism that election observer officials were in Ghana from Dr. Kayode Fayemi's Nigeria-based Center (CDD); Dr. Ibn Chambas' ECOWAS-West Africa Civil Society Forum observer mission, and then the Sierra Leone's civil society group, led by Zainab Bangura. Of course, without even observer teams, the fiercely impartial Ghana Electoral Commission, led by Dr. K. Afari-Gyan, was bent on making sure that the electoral results would, ultimately, be seen in transparently clean terms, of course barring usually-tainted or partial partisan allegations or intimidation, election rigging, etc!
Apart from Dr. Fayemi's brilliant and very useful on-the-spot analysis in USA/Africa Dialogue No. 131, it may also be instructive to add some interesting histo-political outcomes of the Ghana elections that forum members might not yet know. They mostly show clearly that (apart from credible election reports from the independent observing teams) the ruling NPP Government of re-elected President John A. Kufuor did not interfere, in any measure, with the elctoral process.
For example, to ensure certain electoral victories in some "troubling" (or "tough") electoral constituencies or districts, very prominent ruling NPP cabinet and deputy cabinet ministers were encouraged to stand for elections in such places. They included Works and Housing Minsiter (Alhaji) Ali Iddris Mustapha; Railways and Ports Minister Ameyaw Ekumfi; and Health Minister (Dr.) Owusu Afriyie. Unexpectedly, all of these ruling NPP parliamentary candidates lost their electoral bids or seats. Also similarly losing their electoral bids, as government (NPP) parliamentary candidates wre former BBC employee and highly-respected Journalist Elizabeth (Liz) Ohene of anti-AFRC/Rawlings Talking Drum Magazine fame (now Minister for Higher Education); Deputy Attorneys-General A. Deri and Gloria Akuffo; Deputy Information Ministers Andrews Awuni and Asamoah Boateng; Deputy Mines Minister (Dr.) Haroun Majeed; Deputy Railways and Ports Minister (Dr. Agambilla) and others. In these instances, would the NPP government of President Kufuor interfere with (or rig) the oucomes of the December 7th elections and, at the same time, let its top candidates, with cabinet-level affiliations lose their parliamentary elections?
Also remarkable was the post-election stellar statemanship exhibited by Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the defeated main opposition leader of former President Rawlings' National Democratic Congress (NDC). On Friday, December 10th, barely three days after the elections, he saw from the Ghana Electoral Commission-certified results that President Kufuor had been re-elected. Therefore, he played "Kerry" (as a Ghanaian observer of the previous U.S. elections put it) and publicly conceded as well as congratulated President Kufuor (who had received, at the time, 52.75 per cent of total votes ) on his re-election. Patriotically, Dr. Atta Mills (who received a respectable 44.32 per cent of the total votes cast in the Tuesday polls) also congratulated two other minor party presidential contenders, Mr. George Aggudey and Dr. Edward Mahama, although any other opposition politician would have begrudged the two minor party leaders, who could clearly take votes from the oppostion camp of Dr. Atta Mills.
In his congratulatory message, Dr. Atta Mills, inter alia, added memorably: "I wish to particularly
congratulate the people of Ghana and the members and officials of the Ghana Electoral Commission." Indeed, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was correct in underscoring , in his great and detailed analysis, that Ghana was light years ahead of other West African States, adding: "Ghana is an example and a beacon of hope for the rest of Africa." Long live African solidarity as well as the efforts to reach commanding heights politically and economically!