By Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese
(Loud citizen from Laribanga)
When the people revolt; when they rise up and engage in civil unrest and disorder, it is usually not because of hunger but mostly because of anger built over time out of injustice, suppression of human rights and freedoms. Most civil unrests across the globe were triggered out of sustained anger which usually get sparked by just a small unsolicited fire.
When the arbitrary use of executive power becomes the new normal, the voices that ordinarily shout the visible threats are not the threats to the survival of democracies, but the hearts that harbor the pain, anguish, sustained anger and arbitrariness from the Emperor.
The United States is gradually catching flames, and the anger is building up across the world. The 8 mins 46 seconds reckless act of Derek Chauvin, a Police Officer for Minneapolis Police Department, has provoked the civil unrest in the United States. It didn’t take gunshots or bomb throwing to cause the riots, but just a reckless act of a single police officer.
George Floyd premeditated murder was supposed to be the 19th complaint against Derek Chauvin. Little did the Police Officer of 18 years of experience know that, kneeling on the neck and strangulating Floyd to death was going to result in him being charged for a third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He thought it was going to added to his pile of complains, but his racist tendencies have sent him into an early maximum security prison in Oak Park Height State Prison, awaiting final judgment later in June. And that singular act is changing the political history of the United States once more.
Not the Police in riot gear and the use of force could stop the rioters from burning armored cars and tall buildings. Not the arrest of the over 4000 rioters could stop millions of both blacks and whites from pouring on to the streets. Not the order from Trump to Governors and Mayors to apply force and take over the streets could scare Chiara, the daughter of the Mayor of New York, from joining the protestors and chanting war songs. Just think beyond your power, because when the power of the masses is gathered around oppressed voices, it can get bloody and destructive.
Not even the fatal shootings from Louisville Metro Police and the Kentucky National Guard which resulted in killing a black business man could stop the millions from kicking at police vans and throwing stones at police wielding guns. In fact, not even the police driving through the crowds could get them dispersed, it only escalated the disorder.
So, just the murder of a 46 year old George Floyd got the US trembling and boiling this much. Mostly, it takes one reckless decision of state actors to get a nation on its knees. This is what the Electoral Commission of Ghana and it’s commissioners are not learning from; they are not worried about the George Floyd and Derek Chauvin scenario in USA. And the government and its actors aren’t worried and learning either.
It won’t take rocket science or gunshots to cause people to rise up and fight for their rights in Ghana, but a small spark like the 8mins 46 seconds recklessness of Derek Chauvin. Ghanaians have tolerated enough of the arrogance and vindictiveness of President Akuffo Addo. We have accommodated the belligerence and hard-headedness of Jean Mensah and Bossman Asare led EC. Enough of the temptations!
What kind of EC is it that doesn’t want to listen to the voices of reason? When the clouds were still settling, Jean Mensah told us that she doesn’t need a complete set of equipment and data collection. We were told they will only add up to the existing database. Not even IMANI Africa’s expose’ on the procurement irregularities could get Jean Mensah to back down on her unpopular decision to procure a complete system and compile a new voter’s register.
At a point we were told that the EC won’t use the NIA cards since the registration was still ongoing. Today, we are told that the EC is going ahead to use the NIA database as the primary proof of identification; a database which hasn’t been operationalized; a database which is incomplete; an identity card which cannot be used for any transaction as of now. What happens to Jean Mensah’s own 1.2million Voter ID cards she issued in December 2019? Is the EC charged with the responsibility to register voters and conduct free and fair elections or to deliberately disenfranchised qualified voters from exercising their democratic rights?
At first we thought they wanted to just change the management system of the Biometric system so they could manipulate the final results, but the narrative keep changing. When they realize that the power of the people as it comes from the grassroots cannot easily be manipulated with the click of a button, they’ve decided to engage in disenfranchising eligible voters. Maybe that one will get desperate Nana Addo re-elected as a democratic dictator.
Voices of reason have spoken and still cautioning. When Lawyer Akoto Ampaw spoke against the compilation of the new voters register, he did so out of logical reasoning and not because he doesn’t love his party (the NPP). When Kweku Baako supported the position of Lawyer Ampaw, he did so because the refusal of the EC to dialogue at this critical moment is worrying and suspicious.
Mr Ibn Chambers has just joined the voices of reason to admonish the EC to involve and take the concerns of all stakeholders onboard. Much particular is the inclusion of all eligible voters in the register if it’s going to be compiled anyway. The National House of Chiefs has issued a strong caution to the EC not to make a mistake to disenfranchise any qualified Ghanaian. The Ghana Federation of Labour has joined the National House of Chiefs with a strongly-worded statement to the EC. Does Jean Mensah know it all than all these collection of bodies and voices?
IDEG, CODEO, CDD, IMANI, ASEPA, CARE-Ghana and many Civil Society Organizations have all kicked against this idea of compiling a new voter’s register. They all cited the timing, the Jean Mensah inability to convince them that the EC really need a new register, and a host of other reasons.
How can you use 40 days to register over 16.5 million Ghanaians by taking their fresh biodata onto a new untested system? How feasible is it to get the new register compiled in this June amidst covid-19 and it’s attendant risks, get it functional, test-run and the final register out before the December polls?
Worse of all are the commentaries from government functionaries; The likes of Dominic Nitiwul’s threat cannot stop the people from fighting for their rights when the time comes. Not even his soldiers with armored cars and bombs can stop the wave of civil unrest when they are borne out of genuine anger from the masses. As for Obiri Boahene, it’s a woman that will tap him at the back and that will be his nemesis.
What is it that the NPP/Nana Addo and the Jean Mensah led EC see that all the rest cannot? Well, IMANI captures it well; scratch my back, let me scratch yours arrangement. The EC wants to use procurement to siphon about GHC 150 from the state, while Nana Addo need a new register to rig the 2020 elections. So, to the duo (Nana Addo and Jean Mensah), the lives of Ghanaians don’t matter, once their individual interests are well served in this barter.
The Ghanaian in this scenario is left to choose between the two pandemics; the EC/govt and Covid-19. GHANA WON’T GO TO WAR, BUT WE WILL RESIST THE OPPRESSORS AND THEIR EVIL AGENDA. Remember that a caution to the EC is not a crime, but a patriotic duty.
2nd June, 2020