WHEN GHANA STOOPED LOW!
Democracy is a profound word with a sound meaning that reflects the will and aspirations of people in a nation. It is a political system that allows people to select their governments by voting for them in elections.
Simply put, it is the best option of governance because the citizens have their representations in government unlike military rule with dire consequences of dictatorship.
Nations, including the United States of America (USA), Germany, United Kingdom, France and a host of others that have adopted democratic system of governance can attest to the fact that it is a smooth system governed by constitution instead of decrees under military dictatorship. They have strengthened and advanced their economies through this system of governance.
Our country, Ghana, is no exception to a democratic system of governance for many years when it freed itself from military dictatorship which sent the nation backwards.
We are in our Fourth Republic and systematically the country is trying to build on its structures so that we can rub shoulders with nations that have taken the lead in building their economies through the democratic system of governance.
It appears that in recent times, choosing our leaders under this system, for selfish or obvious reasons, is creating problems for us as it has generated a lot of anxiety with a resultant tension in the country, especially among the citizens.
The recent elections in the country which saw the incumbent President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo of the New Patriotic Party, emerge the winner, to lead the people for his last term of four years has, indeed, heightened tension in the country.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by its leader, John Dramani Mahama, is opposed to the victory of President Akufo-Addo, describing the election as a stolen verdict and, therefore, he is in court challenging the outcome of the presidential election. Rightly so, that is what the constitution prescribes and Mr Mahama is entitled to the path he has chosen to seek redress for his grievances.
While the case is pending before the court, it will be a breach if the conditions under the constitution are not followed to the letter to form a government duly sworn-in to administer the affairs of the nation, hence the swearing-in of the President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo, the Speaker and members of Parliament to steer the affairs of the country.
The drama and nasty incidents that took place during the election of the Speaker is worth noting and condemnable by every right thinking Ghanaian. Of course, we have been witnessing rowdy situations in many parliaments within nations across the globe, but not to this extent where honourables who are expected to exhibit exemplary qualities to their electorate would stoop so low by showing qualities that made the people to question their legibility in governance and whether they deserve to be called honourables.
Parliamentary rules were abused and thrown to the dogs as matured men and women elected to serve their constituents behaved in a “childish” and awkward manner. We can forgive them for the sitting arrangement of MPs which was flouted because both parties -the NPP and NDC, claimed they obtained the same margin of 137-137 seats of MPs elected and, therefore, any of them could sit where they preferred.
However, the voting of a Speaker with its attendant disturbances of kicking ballot boxes, heckling of the Clerk of Parliament and snatching of some ballot papers by an MP were unheard of in the history of Ghana’s democratic dispensation and should be condemned outright.
How could an MP harbour the notion of snatching ballot papers from officials when they were being counted and bolted with them? In fact, it was the Chamber of Parliament that saved the situation, otherwise it would have been disastrous and bloody if that episode happened at the forecourt or anywhere outside the parliament house.
The invasion of military personnel inside the Chamber was another matter to be considered in the future. Thank God no casualty was recorded whatsoever but that was a matter worth recording for history.
The drama has ended and the constitutional requirements have been fulfilled for the nation to move forward while the substantive case of challenging the presidential result is before court waiting for determination so that the right thing would be done for peace to prevail in the country.
All that the millions of Ghanaians are wishing for is that, this shameful spectacle which seemed to have dented our image in the international arena and has made the outside world to harbour the feeling that our nation would not be safe for business and other transactions, should be rectified within the shortest possible time.
It is also important to establish a consensus building in parliament where the two parties can relate effectively between each other so that the business of the house can be run smoothly in order not to retard the nation’s progress. This is exactly so because of the circumstances surrounding the election of the Speaker from the opposition NDC.
While Ghanaians wait patiently for the outcome of the election petition in court, it will be advisable for absolute peace to prevail in the country.
This is the only dear country we have and should there be any war, God forbid, we would perish in our entirety; therefore, we need to tolerate one another in order to preserve the nation’s peace and restore its original status as the beacon of democracy.
By CHARLES NEEQUAYE