By P K Sarpong
The chieftaincy institution, hitherto, was the most revered governance structure back in the days. Several factors have accounted for this reverence being eroded somehow.
One of the causal factors for the nose-diving of the respect the institution commanded is the penchant of some chiefs to fling themselves into partisan politics when the laws of the land debar same.
I have watched a video of Nana Agyemang Badu II in which he is advocating a jettison of the yet-to-be commenced voters’ registration exercise.
In the considered view of the Dormaahene, the presence of COVID-19, with its concomitant entanglements, should be reasons enough to call off this planned compilation of a new register.
In his presser, Nana Agyemang Badu II indicated that the increasing spate of reported cases of the deadly coronavirus pandemic is justifiable enough to halt the registration process.
He also asserted at the press conference that it would be the height of dishonesty on the part of any Ghanaian to say that the existing register is faulty or blemished and, therefore, needs a total overhaul.
He was emphatic on the point that the existing register was cleaned in 2016 when about 56,000 names were removed, per the directive of the Supreme Court. He, therefore, sees no reason why there should be a new register, he postulated.
I find the respected Dormaahene’s arguments to be fraught with factual inaccuracies. I am also stupefied with astonishment why the chief would engage in arguments which are clearly pedestrian with respect to the matter.
First of all, the COVID-19 argument falls flat in the face of logical deductions. How did we reach the 10,000 infected cases of the deadly coronavirus pandemic? Through the EC’s exercise or through our own negligence, irresponsibilities and unwillingness to comply with the safety protocols announced by the Ghana Health Service? It is as though the EC stopping the registration exercise would kill all the infections we have recorded.
Hasn’t the EC taken measures sound enough to protect registrants and its workers during the exercise? In case Nana Agyemang Badu II is oblivious of what the EC has done, I would like to bring same to his attention. The EC has taken deliveries of PPEs for its workers. They have also brought out guidelines to help in the exercise. Most importantly of all, they have liaised with health experts on all these matters aimed at protecting Ghanaians during the 38-day exercise.
The thought of Nana Agyemang Badu being a high court judge but advocating the cancellation of the registration exercise puts a strain on my mind. A constitutional crisis is imminent if we do not go to the polls. A registration exercise or a semblance of it would have to be embarked upon. Wouldn’t that cause the infected cases to go up? Is it the contention of Nana Agyemang Badu that there shouldn’t be elections this year? Going to the polls is inevitable, Nana should know. Nana might as well advocate a cancellation of the 2020 elections in its entirety if he believes queuing for any elections related exercise would spike the number of infected cases of COVID-19.
Ignorance of the facts
I am of the view that Nana Agyemang Badu has not apprised himself of the reasons accounting for the decision to go for a completely new register as espoused by the Electoral Commission. Key amongst them is the obsolete nature of the software and equipment used for our elections, and this was mooted by the very company the EC bought the equipment from. There are several other reasons which Nana can readily and easily access to enlighten himself on the matter. The registration exercise would have a minimal impact on the infectious cases of COVID-19 with the measures the EC has lined up.
Pushing NDC agenda?
What I find to be problematic in this move by the Dormaahene is the obvious correlation between what he proposes and those of the opposition NDC. The chief’s position dovetails into that of the National Democratic Congress.
In an ideal world, such views should not warrant a press conference by a chief. Nana Agyemang Badu could have forwarded his concerns to the EC behind closed doors.
It would appear that this press conference and the impression it creates would lead to people concluding that Nana Agyemang Badu is in cahoots with the NDC to scuttle this constitutionally mandated exercise by the EC. These feckless attempts to stampede the EC from undertaking this exercise should be ceased since the electoral body is well positioned to get this job done.
It is based upon the afore-explained reasons that I hold the view that Nana Agyemang Badu got this call wrong.