Ghana quiet, calm before and after Supreme Court verdict

BY: Samuel K. Obour

The general atmosphere throughout the country was quite, tense and calm yesterday, contrary to speculations over what would befall the country before and after the Supreme Court verdict on the 2012 presidential election petition.

The much feared violence was non-existent as people kept glued to their radio and television sets to listen and  observe proceedings at the court and the aftermath of the judgement.

George Folley reports from Wa that  shops were closed, cars parked while motorbike riders were virtually absent from the main roads in the municipality.

The main hub of government business in the region, the Ministries, were quiet as workers failed to turn up for work and chose to stay in their houses to watch proceedings from the courts.

A police patrol team could be said to be on a holiday as no violence occurred.

Just after the ruling, some supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were seen on motorbikes displaying their riding skills amid tooting of horns to celebrate the victory.

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Some of them who spoke to the Daily Graphic called on Ghanaians to continue to live in peace despite their political differences.

A resident in Tumu, Mr Abdul Razak Ahmed, told the Daily Graphic on phone that the town was very calm.

According to him, shops were closed with people glued to their television sets to listen to proceedings.

He was happy that both the supporters of the NDC and New Patriotic Party (NPP) were seen together enjoying themselves at a drinking spot as if nothing had happened.

From TakoradiKwame Asiedu Marfo reports that the atmosphere in the Sekondi/Takoradi metropolis remained calm before and after the Supreme Court verdict.

Also reports from other parts of the Western Region indicated that there had been no disturbances and chaotic situations.

People went about their businesses and other activities smoothly as there was no tension in the city.

At the Takoradi Central Market, popularly referred to as Market Circle, shops and stores as well as the financial institutions were opened throughout the day for normal business. Few shops were, however, closed for the day.

Vehicular and human traffic were reduced during the day, which was an indication that many people stayed home to watch the Supreme Court proceedings.

Vincent Amenuveve & Marcelinus Dery report from Tamale that there was spontaneous jubilation in the metropolis, following the verdict that went in favour of the NDC.

Moments after the verdict, the metropolis came alive with vehicles and motorbikes tooting their horns while some police and armoured vehicles patrolled the streets to maintain law and order.

Some of the youth carried placards with the inscription "Thank you Ghana" as they marched through some principal streets of the metropolis. Others were in NDC party paraphernalia as they celebrated the outcome of the verdict.

The Regional Treasurer and Director of Elections of the NDC,Mr Rashid Tanko, cautioned the youth to celebrate the victory in moderation as the security services would deal decisively with them if they breached the prevailing peace.

People bought and sold, drove and ate in a calm atmosphere as the radios blurred out the ruling of the Supreme Court in Cape Coast, report Joe Okyere & Shirley Asiedu Addo.

About 20 minutes after the verdict, groups with drums paraded through town ignoring security personnel deployed at the vantage points.

At the NPP party headquarters, the doors to the offices were under lock and key when the Daily Graphic called.

The only visible sign was a banner,  “The Battle is the Lord’s”, quoting 1 Samuel 47:17, with the portrait of Nana  Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo hoisted by the Central Regional Youth Wing of the party.

Nana Amanfo Edu, Omanhen of Mankessim, said Ghana’s democracy had been the beneficiary.

He said it was important for all to commit to ensuring that the peace in the country was maintained.

For Mr Kwame Pinkrah, a chemical seller, there should be major electoral reforms to strengthen the electoral process in the country to avoid future recurrence and deepen the democratic process in the country.

Victor Kwawukume reports from Ho that the mood in the Volta regional capital remained indifferent before and after the judgement of the Supreme Court.

Life went on as usual. Shops were opened at normal times and workers went to work as usual.

There were pockets of people who had gathered around television and radio sets watching and listening to the proceedings of the court.

Following the pronouncement, this reporter did not witness any spontaneous reaction, but mostly hushed voices discussing the judgement.

The security detail deployed had a field day as policemen and military personnel were seen heartily chatting with the civilian population.

Visits to drinking pubs showed no unusual activities, but the views of people not celebrating was summed up by Kofi Sabadu, a taxi driver: “Life still continues despite the court’s decision? That will not pay my children’s school fees or put food on the table.”

From SunyaniAkwasi Ampratwum-Mensah reports that the general atmosphere remained as normal before and after the verdict.

The heavy security presence in the entire municipality, with the personnel displaying their weaponry, especially at the central business district, rather caused some displeasure to most residents.

The usual tooting of horns by drivers and motorbike riders that characterised celebration by victors in the past was virtually absent in the town after the declaration.

Walking through the central business district of the town, the Daily Graphic observed that traders and shop owners, as well as food vendors, had displayed their wares and prepared meals for sale to the public while public and civil servants also went to work as usual, contrary to the expectation that some might stay away from their duties.

However, most of the residents remained indoors to watch the proceedings on their television, after which they came to town to honour their respective engagements.

A number of people the Daily Graphic spoke to moments after the pronouncement, expressed thanks to God for having guided the Justices and the contestants in the election petition to come to the ultimate.

Benjamin Glover & Alhandu Abdul-Hamid report from Bolgatanga that the streets, which on a normal day would be flooded with vehicles and motorbikes, were virtually empty as people opted to stay in their homes or offices to watch the proceedings on television.

Personnel of the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces were on the streets to foil any disturbances.

As a result of an agreement reached between the Regional Security Council and operators of drinking pubs, a 24-hour moratorium was placed on the sale of alcoholic beverages.

The temporary prohibition also covered pito brewing joints that also had to suspend their activities all in the interest of peace.

In the Bolgatanga Central Market a few traders were spotted displaying their wares for sale.

There was, however, limited jubilation after the ruling  as only pockets of NDC supporters were spotted clad in party colours tooting their horns in the central business district.

Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana