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'Supreme Court judgement victory for all'

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Nana Akufo-Addo, First Petitioner (left); John Mahama, First RespondentOfficials of peace and governance institutions in the country have described yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on the 2012 election petition as a victory for all Ghanaians and not for any particular party.

They commended the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for accepting the verdict in good faith, and urged Ghanaians to forge ahead in unity and tolerance, to further deepen the country’s democratic practice.

Sharing some thoughts with the Daily Graphic on the Supreme Court ruling and the way forward, officials of the National Peace Council (NPC), the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) advised the victors to celebrate in moderation and avoid taunting their political opponents.

The Chairman of the NPC, Most Rev Prof. Emmanuel Asante, said as a people who believed in the rule of law, “we have no other option than to accept the verdict”.

“We are grateful to God that it’s all over now,” he said, but the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana was quick to add that the ruling was not the end of the matter because the details were not yet known.

He advised members of the NDC to be circumspect in their jubilation and sensitive to the feelings of NPP supporters.

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Reforms

Most Rev Prof. Asante said while awaiting the details of the ruling, which might include electoral reform issues, there was the need for stakeholders to engage in serious dialogue to pursue reforms in the country’s political system.

For his part, the Executive Director of WANEP, Mr Emmanuel Bombande, said the ruling gave Ghana an opportunity to deepen and open its democratic space and bring an end to the ‘winner-takes-all’ system of government.

He said the ruling “is momentous in Ghana’s democratic development”, adding, “I think that every Ghanaian has won; so we should not think that some people have won and others have lost.”

He said the election petition had raised Ghana’s democratic credentials higher and that the positive strides would yield a lot of international goodwill for the nation in the coming days.


Good democratic institutions

Mr Bombande said the successful conclusion of the case demonstrated that institutions of state in the country were working.

Sharing a similar opinion, the Deputy Director of CDD-Ghana, Dr Franklin Oduro, said the Supreme Court verdict gave a lot of confidence that increasingly, Ghanaians were deepening their belief in democratic institutions.

He said the ruling was a demonstration of the operation of the rule of law and constitutionalism in Ghana.


Moving forward

Dr Oduro urged Ghanaians to reflect on the outcome of the election petition to build on the country’s democratic process.

He underscored the need to strengthen the electoral process in order to avoid similar challenges in the future.

He said Nana Akufo-Addo’s acceptance of the verdict was very significant because “that particular statement is a confirmation that we are ready to move on as a nation”.

A Research Fellow at the Governance Unit of the IEA, Dr Ransford Gyampo, said the whole world was now watching how Ghana would deal with the aftermath of the election petition.


Appeal

Dr Gyampo appealed for calm and asked all Ghanaians to be law-abiding, adding that they must refrain from provocative celebration and taunting of political opponents.

He also appealed to the leadership of the political parties to demonstrate good faith and abide by the provisions of the Political Parties Code of Ethics on the need to ensure peace, stability, law and order.

Dr Gyampo, who is also a senior lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, called on Ghanaians to uphold the virtue of tolerance and politics of accommodation.

On the media, he said, they should endeavour to maintain absolute impartiality and avoid provocative discussions, while urging the security agencies to protect the peace of the country without fear or favour.

By Kofi Yeboah/Daily Graphic/Ghana