After Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga accepted the ruling of the Supreme Court that his rival Uhuru Kenyatta won the presidential election in a free and fair poll, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Ghana have gone on the offensive at each others throats.
Mr Odinga, who had challenged the Kenyan result on the grounds of technical irregularities, said that while he did not agree with the ruling he respected the decision and his “faith in constitutionalism remains supreme.”
The ruling by the Supreme Court of Kenya has already created ripples on the tense political landscape in Ghana, as the NDC and the NPP give different interpretations to the ruling, ahead of a similar election petition pending at Ghana’s Supreme Court.
Moments after the declaration was made in Kenya, the Ruling National Democratic Congress went partying, with the conviction that the Supreme Court in Ghana would soon replicate Kenya’s example by throwing out the petition brought before it by the opposition NPP, who are challenging the December presidential elections on similar grounds.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Johnson Aseidu Nketia, popularly known as ‘General Mosquito’, noted that the verdict on Kenya’s election petition was a clear sign that the flagbearer of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Auffo-Addo, was on the verge of suffering the same fate as Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia’s conviction was borne out of the fact that the NPP had in the recent past been out and about on the fact that Kenya’s Odinga was following in the footsteps of Nana Addo, by filing a petition against the declaration of Mr. Kenyatta as president.
“Therefore, if Odinga has lost the petition, it should tell you what will be the verdict of NPP’s petition,” he said in an interview with Peace FM, a local radio station.
Mr. Asiedu Nketia further argued that the expertise of Ghana’s Electoral Commission was extensively sought by Kenya, prior to their elections, and doubted if Kenya would have come to Ghana if its electoral history was not credible.
He, however, lauded the time frame within which Kenya’s Supreme Court took to resolve the electoral dispute, and suggested that Ghana should review its laws over election petitions.
But the Communications Director of the NPP, Nana Akomea, thinks the NDC should be bracing up for a shocker, rather than claiming victory from Kenya’s ruling.
“If the NDC truly believes that the petition will be thrown out like Kenya, why are they employing all means to prolong and frustrate the process,” he queried.
Mr. Akomea said the urgency with which Kenya resolved its electoral dispute was an indication that Ghana was taking its democracy for granted.
He noted that Ghana had become a reference point for many other African countries, mainly due to its democratic credentials, which it had kept since the country was ushered into democratic rule in 1992.
He added that elections go to the very heart of the country’s democracy, and that “if we take this for granted, we will have taken our democracy for granted.”
To him, it was a big shame that Ghana, after three months, was yet to begin hearing the case on the contested election results, when Kenya closed the chapter on a similar issue within three weeks.
“That is the biggest lesson for us,” he emphasised. He, however, called for a review of the laws of the land, to ensure some more urgency on issues of electoral dispute.
To him, the current pace at which the case before the Supreme Court was traveling “is beginning to make people anxious.”