Feature: Incrimination and Recrimination in the Lead-Up to Election 2016 – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Ghana Politics, NDC, NPP
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

Ghana’s election fever is typical of that of any constitutional democracy. It is inflected with allegations and counter-allegations by the two major players involved, namely, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Here in the United States, the two major players are the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the main opposition Republican Party (RP). Like the United States, Ghana’s ruling National Democratic Congress will exit onto the gray margins of opposition political culture come January 7, 2017; here in the United States, the proverbial process of the changing of the guards does not take full effect until January 20, 2017, nearly two weeks after that which is widely expected to be smooth-sailing in Ghana’s capital of Accra.

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Other than the fact of both Presidents-Elect of Ghana and the United States being 70-plus years old, the foregoing is about as far as any direct comparison goes. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at 72 years old, is slightly older than Mr. Donald John Trump, who turned 70 just the other day. The Ghanaian leader is the more patrician and culturally urbane of the two. But whatever his American Republican counterpart lacks, which is quite a lot, is partly made up for by the great wealth of the billionaire twitter-addicted Mr. Trump, a hard-driving real-estate dealer and developer. At the end of the day, though, it becomes starkly clear that whatever Mr. Trump lacks in terms of social graces or cultural polish has not been adequately made up for by his wealth. And so in terms of cultural capital, the newly elected President of the United States has quite a bit to learn from his partly Oxbridge-educated Ghanaian counterpart, and the Oxbridge-educated Ghanaian Vice-President-Elect as well.

But it is almost certain that Mr. Trump would not allow himself the much-needed opportunity to spice and spruce up the notorious rough edges of his personal mannerisms. His Vice-President-Elect, Mr. Michael Pence, a former radio talk-show host, who has been widely described as a bit more polished in mannerism and diplomacy skills – perhaps as a result of having briefly served as a congressional representative from the small Mid-Western State of Indiana – does not quite adequately make up for the behavioral shortcomings of the German-fathered and Scottish-mothered Mr. Trump. About the only significant cultural trait which the newly elected American President has in common with his Ghanaian counterpart is their religious backgrounds – both Nana Akufo-Addo and Mr. Trump are Presbyterian by faith.

But what unwittingly drew into this column this partial portrait of President-Elect Trump, who initially had absolutely no relevance to the purview of our subject of discourse here, regarded the fact that in the frenetic lead-up to both the 2016 U.S. general election and its Ghanaian counterpart, nearly exactly one month later, was the fact that in both instances, each of the players virulently accused the other of using his/her party operatives to criminally rig the election. Vis-à-vis the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, as of this writing, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its domestic counterpart, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), had released statements pointing to the fact of the Putin-controlled Russian KGB having hacked the computerized information system of the Democratic Party, with the specific intent of compromising the chances of Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the favored U.S. presidential candidate, clinching victory in the 2016 election. It well appears that the Russians have had their wishes granted, with the quite shocking declaration of Mr. Trump as the winner of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In Ghana, as well, operatives of the ruling National Democratic Congress had called a press conference and claimed to be in possession of evidence pointing towards the collusive intent of some Electoral Commission officials and some key operatives of the main opposition New Patriotic Party to rig the election. Then shortly after the NDC’s press conference, the NPP leaders also called their counter-press conference and announced that they had discovered several ballot-boxes with hundreds of thumb-printed ballot papers in favor of President Mahama at a guest house in the Asante regional capital of Kumasi. Now, this writing comes eleven days after the December 7 Ghanaian presidential election. Like here in the United States, where Mrs. Clinton ran on the ticket of the ruling party, in Ghana, the candidate of the ruling National Democratic Congress, who is also the presidential incumbent, has been prevailed upon to concede defeat.

But unlike here in the United States, it well appears as if the entire conduct of the election in Third-World Ghana more than rivals that of the far more politically advanced United States, although the results of about eleven parliamentary districts or constituencies are being hotly contested, largely by members of the triumphant New Patriotic Party. We must also quickly point out that the same scenario is being played out here across the United States, even as a lot of questions regarding both his administrative competence, experience and the wholesomeness of his electoral victory festoon the neck of President-Elect Donald John Trump, who is quite certain to be officially certified by the U.S.’s Electoral College as President-Elect Trump, though he won the presidency with nearly 3 million less votes than former First Lady and Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton.

In Ghana, the winner of the 2016 presidential election defeated his rival and the presidential incumbent by just over 1 million votes. I guess one could safely and aptly say that in America, it is the loser who often gets to be declared the winner, especially if that lucky candidate also happens to belong to the fiscally self-centered Republican Party.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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