Every election calendar in Africa throws out ugly noises and a cacophony of conversations suggesting a governing political party would be rigging elections. After the military interregnums that hit Africa north, east and west, the noise pervades the regional and continental space. In the Maghreb economies, it has been either the conservative Muslims chocking the fundamentalists and liberal opposition or the elite in business and military and Muslim clericin Sudan and Chad perpetuating themselves in power under religious titles that never saw World War One or Two and the Congo and Angolan Wars in which Kojo T was caught and didn’t want the Military High Command of Ghana to discipline him. In Nigeria, it had been the military generals recycling themselves in military uniform, but also in civilian garb. So we would be having the Col Dimkas and Major Adekunles and Odumewgwu Ojukwus as well as Yakubu Gowon, rogue IBB and the Sanni Abatchas etc pervading the space like fungi – even when the citizens are crying for democratic rule. What is intriguing is that when the citizens needed them to fight marauding herders and gangs or goons in barbarian Nigerian communities, the military found it challenging sanitising the situation. It couldn’t deal with extremism scourges in the same manner we have a challenge here in Ghana fighting Fulani herders who bastardise farmlands to satisfy their appetite of forcefully generating grazing lands anywhere they go – even if it were the highways of Sheikh IC Quaye’s Alajo community. The saint among them – he still is – General Olusegun Obasanjo. He is West Africa’s major sanitiser and example in leadership. That’s why God has preserved his life and the others are struggling with their health statuses. Na God dey punish them. Civilian goons Sometimes, between the rogue civilian Head of State and the military in West Africa, it is challenging which of them means well for his nation or his cronies and girlies. Or put a finger on the levels of corruption and whether they have a plan and commitment to fight it systemically. What we cannot deny is that in Nigeria, the military generals steal in fatter wads the foreign currency. In that, the others are saints… As for the majority of our leaders in Africa, particularly in the last 30 years, they do not appear to have learnt their lessons in political history and why good governance is important in joining the rest of the world to develop, and not stagnate. Without citing regimes and giving any dog a bad name, I can only refer generally to Ghana and cry out aloud why we haven’t grown in elections management together and the suspicion heightens every fresh elections. It was healthy suspicion in 1992 and Justice George Kingsley-Nyinah rightly resigned, after cooked figures were thrown at him to ape before the GBC cameras. I believe 1996 was better except that the NDC stole some and ceded some to the too happy opposition for small mercies… It was emphatic in 200 and 2004, but still okay in 2008, except that in2012 when we should have been enhancing the space, the animal and virus called backslider infected our system and we crawled back and – like a hog – jumped back into our hog skins. Thank you, Supreme Court But if we fooled in 2012 and returned to our earlier pig meal, the Supreme Court, in allowing the 2012 presidential declaration to be upheld, also strove in the name of God and country to sanitise the electoral space, cracking the whip on a sleeping Parliament to bring it back to civilisation. By those tweaked structures and elections management framework, the EC was now ripped of its wider powers under Jerry Rawlings and the NDC as well as the Constitution. Now it was truly accountable to Parliament and the good people of Ghana, with the whip still in the hands of the Judiciary, instead of the EC and the force of incumbency as we saw in the ruling on the 2020 Election Petition. If Alban Bagbin is keen, like any true Ghanaian patriotic and impartial high profile leader of the Legislature, in seeing us back on track in terms of the elections management space initiated by the Supreme Court, it is the reason why he has proposed an engagement that brings together key stakeholders in killing this bird that won’t allow us to sleep each election calendar. Bagbin’s epistle  The trending story last week was that Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has initiated an engagement with key state institutions to work with them to create the right and just environment for free, fair, peaceful and credible elections on December 7, 2024. This, the Speaker believes, will inspire confidence in the process and faith in Ghana’s democratic institutions. The all-powerful EC and feuding political parties would no longer be allowed to do it alone. Major forces will be brought on board to be part of the process to prevent the noisy birds from the two political parties chirping in nuisance on our rooftops, even when there is no cause for an alarm. Bagbin cites institutions such as the Electoral Commission, National Media Commission, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the National Commission for Civic Education. The others are the President, Council of State, National Security Council, flag bearers and national executive of political parties, the security services, particularly the police, the clergy and notable civil society leaders, will also be actively involved.

The Speaker’s reason in giving meaning to the Supreme Court ruling in the 2012 Election Petition was based on looming signals of mistrust and suspicion that may brew disruptions, if these state institutions went to bed and allowed the two political stakeholders alone to do what they will never do right, without a whip behind their backs

Putting Ghana First

Ahead of the 2024 presidential and parliamentary elections, we are selling to the outside wold an image that portrays instability. Even the truth out there is that we have a strong and vibrant media whose monitoring and collation of election results come very close to that of the EC, there will be political parties and their communication heads lying about the real situation.

Indeed, in their quest for political power, they forget that adding to policy is more honourable and decent than griping over trifles. Yet, these are the people who are appointed heads of Ministries and State-owned Enterprises or Ambassadors and local government chiefs.

From nagging issues about restraining non-Ghanaians from interfering with our democratic processes through taking part in voter registration exercises, through chasing National ID Cards and under-aged voting, the NDC as a political part has not impressed anybody as advocating development of policy. This was evidenced during the registration at the tome COVID-19 was hitting us as a nation and communities and when we must be fearing transmission of the disease across borders. Interest was also not showed officially by the PNC, CPP and NDC, for instance, when the National Digitisation Programme was ongoing. Together with some acquiescing media networks, all some of their leaders did was run down the exercise. This is despite the fact that, getting involved would ensure that their supporters benefitted in several ways. But, as we love to do in this part of the world, democracy must always mean mischief and dribbling the other person instead of engaging and evolving systems that ultimately secure us the gains that all civilised communities benefit from, including enhanced livelihoods, social stability and social protection. Bring on the game, Bagbin So, I, Abena Baawuah, support Speaker Alban Bagbin; indeed, in several respects, he is like Uncle Peter Ala Adjetey. He (Peter) was fair-minded. I recall that when my grandfather wanted to use force to buy a house which was on land he sold the Alhaji, because the Alhaji was complying with the Aliens Compliance Order, he consulted Peter to get the deal through. Peter said not yet. That is Russian for No. The order didn’t mean in law that they must sell off all landed property. Yes, the political parties cannot decide when we wake and sleep; the law does. But we can get them to do the right thing, if sages like Alban make a statement, without initiating an engagement soonest. Ghana must not be allowed to go to the dogs, including loony writers like me. By Abena Baawuah