An open letter to Ghanaians

We view with utmost trepidation the events unfolding in our beloved Ghana since the December 7, 2020 elections. As intellectuals in Ghana’s tertiary education system, it is our duty to reach out to the Ghanaian public on issues of critical national importance to help us in our moments of reflection, especially when some national institutions and organizations appear to be shirking their responsibility to protect the constitution and to advance the welfare of the people.

We consider it a national responsibility to speak up and let those who disagree engage us in a debate of ideas in the public sphere. There is no doubt that as a country, we are moving into uncharted territory.

We reminisce about those days when the then Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), the affable Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan would meticulously declare election results constituency by constituency and finally declare the winner of the Presidential election.

Ghanaians were used to the structures and the laid down procedures that were followed with utmost transparency. With the appointment of Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa as Chairperson, all these structures and consultations were replaced with intolerance and condescending attitudes as well as disregard for established protocols of consultation.

Consequently, the following happenings in Ghana appear most worrying:

i. The people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) which were part of the Volta region before the creation of the Oti region were denied their fundamental human rights of exercising their right to vote for parliamentary representation.

ii. The process whereby elections were declared at the constituency level (where all the party representatives accepted the results) and then transmitted the same to the EC headquarters (where the party representatives authenticate results) and the EC chair does his/her own confirmation was ignored. This transparent process which has worked since 1992 was replaced by regional collation centres by the Mrs. Jean Mensa led EC. The result was real manipulation of the data from the Regional Centres, which in several cases were rejected by the party representatives.

iii. The posturing of Mrs. Jean Mensa has resulted in untold hardships that Ghanaians have never experienced after any election in the past 28 years. We mourn the loss of the eight Ghanaians who were murdered in cold blood by the security forces. It is tragic to lose children as young as 14 and 16 year whose only crime was to observe something as basic as voting.

Before the 2020 elections, Ghana used to be considered an island of peace in a region plagued with electoral violence. With the high propensity to cheat for the incumbent and over-zealous desire to make the EC an appendage of the NPP, our enviable democratic credentials are likely to be eroded and to be replaced by electoral frauds. We refuse to accept this scenario as the new normal and Mrs. Jean Mensah’s vote manipulation should not be allowed to stand.

To our judiciary, please be reminded that the courts are the places of last resort for the ordinary person to seek justice. We look with admiration and awe the way Supreme Courts in advanced democracies especially in the United States, demonstrate their independence and fidelity to the law through objectivity in their adjudications that often surprise even the presidents who appointed these judges.

To our religious leaders this is the time to let the citizens of Ghana hear from you. We are reminded of your pastoral letters during the military regime of General Kutu Acheampong and the heroics by the late Justice Kobina Abban. The Church in Ghana now has refused to speak and bear witness to the Freedom Creed of the Gospel of Luke 4.

To the Ghanaian media, we recall your role and that of others in ushering in the 4th Republic with the opening of the airwaves and proliferation of newspapers. However, we were disappointed to learn that the figures you presented to the Ghanaians in the 2020 election were not collected independently by you but provided by the NPP.

It is not for nothing that Edmund Burke bestowed the enviable title on you as the 4th estate. In advanced countries, journalists were able to expose Presidents and their abuse of power. The time has come for the Ghanaian media to blaze the trail and fight democratic tyranny and despotic governance.

Our democracy was nearly dealt a blow when the new Parliament of 2021 saw a military detachment led by one Colonel Joe Punamane who until April 2020 was the Director of Port Security and who is now at Presidency Annex, Jubilee House, stormed the deliberative chamber of our legislature.

We believe the sole objective was to settle partisan scores just as they did in Techiman South a few weeks earlier. Carrying arms to parliament houses is sacrilegious.

Who gave orders to Colonel Punamane to lead armed men to the parliament house? We call on the Parliamentary Privileges Committee to call for a hearing and get to the bottom of this unwarranted invasion.

We conclude by condemning the creeping dictatorship and gross violation of the fundamental human rights of the citizens by state sponsored terrorists whether it was at Ayawaso West Wuogon Bye election, killing of eight innocent people after the 2020 election, curtailing freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and desecrating parliament with armed military detachment.

As Ghanaians let us forever be guided and remember the words of the German Lutheran Church Minister and theologian Martin Niemöller (1892– 1984) which was an act of cowardice par excellence in the midst of dictatorship during the Nazi era in Germany:

First they came for the
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade

And I did not speak out Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews And I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me And there was no one left To speak out for me

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Source: Ghana Web



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