President Nana Akufo-Addo is the very essence of a “sour loser”, the biggest opposition party has said in response to his recent reference to former President John Mahama, flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a “poor, desperate loser”.
The President, who was speaking in the Volta Region, hurled the salvo at his predecessor who had earlier cautioned the Electoral Commission against plunging Ghana into chaos with its posturing regarding its decision to compile a new register of voters ahead of the 7 December 2020 general elections.
Taking issue with President Akufo-Addo’s comment, the Director of Communication of the NDC, Mr Kakra Essamuah, in a statement, said if anybody epitomised sour losers, the President would be that person because his defeat in the 2012 general elections “heralded, perhaps, the darkest phase of Fourth Republican politics when President Akufo-Addo sowed seeds of violence and militancy in his party”.
“Through incendiary and violent rhetoric, he inspired members of his party to resort to violence as a means of resolving disputes. It was within this period that he uttered those words, which have gone down in infamy: ‘All-die-be-die’.
According to the statement, “President Akufo-Addo was clearly heard, at what he believed to be a secret meeting, lauding his party youth for engaging in violence during the Atewa by-election and insisting that it would be the approach for the 2012 elections”.
“When he lost the 2012 elections, he once again refused to accept defeat and staged a most bewildering charade. He worked to hamstring our political and governance life through a frivolous and totally unfounded petition which was rightly dismissed by the Supreme Court. That was not before his supporters, brimming with the bile and poison of hate and violence he had preached, attacked innocent members of the public including journalists in a contrived protest against his second defeat at the polls.
“If ever evidence existed of a sour loser, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would be a prime example”, the party said, adding: “No other political leader has behaved in the manner he did over those two electoral cycles. In the pantheon of honourable behaviour in elections, President Akufo-Addo is isolated as the only opposition leader to have refused to accept defeat in good time, even when it was clear he had lost. All the eminent opposition leaders before him under the Fourth Republic passed this test with distinction”.
Read the NDC’s full statement below:
NDC STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO’S BASELESS ATTACK ON PRESIDENT JOHN MAHAMA
The National Democratic Congress has had sight of a video making the rounds on social media in which President Akufo-Addo purports to respond to the admonition by former President Mahama to the Electoral Commission to desist from actions that can plunge this country into chaos, especially the misguided and unjustified decision to compile a new voter’s register.
In the said video, President Akufo-Addo also purported to lecture the leader of the largest opposition party, the NDC, and to assure Ghanaians of a peaceful outcome in the impending 2020 elections. We in the NDC are certain that the generality of our people will view that video and the words contained in them with both amusement and a sense of irony.
This would be due to their knowledge of President Akufo-Addo's less-than-inspiring record in the area of peaceful electoral conduct.
Our people would be fully aware that no political leader, apart from the sitting President, has done more to endanger the peace and security of our country because of electoral loss.
Dating back to the 2008 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has imperiled our democracy in ways no other political leader has done. Ghanaians would remember how he schemed to undermine the will of the people, freely expressed in that election, when it became clear he had lost.
The good people of Ghana would also know that he attempted to stop the declaration of the results of that election through a surreptitious court application that, if granted, would have thrown the entire country into chaos. This was after the rigging plot he set in motion had been foiled by our vigilant election monitors.
The actions of now-President Akufo-Addo created so much tension and fear within the populace that at a point, the central business district of Accra had to be abandoned by traders and the general public, for fear of violence. On that occasion, it took the maturity and magnanimity of President Kufuor and the famed tolerance and peaceful demeanour of President Mills to calm the storm.
That defeat heralded, perhaps, the darkest phase of Fourth Republican politics when President Akufo-Addo sowed seeds of violence and militancy in his party. Through incendiary and violent rhetoric, he inspired members of his party to resort to violence as a means of resolving disputes.
It was within this period that he uttered those words, which have gone down in infamy: “All-die-be-die.”
President Akufo-Addo was clearly heard at what he believed to be a secret meeting, lauding his party youth for engaging in violence during the Atiwa by-election and insisting that it would be the approach for the 2012 elections.
When he lost the 2012 elections, he once again refused to accept defeat and staged a most bewildering charade. He worked to hamstring our political and governance life through a frivolous and totally unfounded petition which was rightly dismissed by the Supreme Court. That was not before his supporters, brimming with the bile and poison of hate and violence he had preached, attacked innocent members of the public including journalists in a contrived protest against his second defeat at the polls.
If ever evidence existed of a sour loser, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would be a prime example. No other political leader has behaved in the manner he did over those two electoral cycles. In the pantheon of honourable behaviour in elections, President Akufo-Addo is isolated as the only opposition leader to have refused to accept defeat in good time, even when it was clear he had lost. All the eminent opposition leaders before him under the Fourth Republic passed this test with distinction.
The period leading up to the 2016 elections threw up further evidence of undemocratic conduct on the part of President Akufo-Addo. After once again assuming the flag bearership position of his party, he elevated thuggery and militancy to dizzying heights through the formation of all manner of militant groups within his party with such blood-curdling names such as ‘Invincible Forces’, ‘Delta Forces’, ‘Bolga Bull Dogs’ among others.
Their sole purpose was to assault the pillars of power and give him the Presidency whether Ghanaians willed it or not. Those within his party who opposed this spiral into violence and chaos, became the subject of attacks from these militants who were acting at his behest.
The several open and violent confrontations at his party headquarters and the unfortunate deaths that resulted from the same are matters of public record. This led many to question his suitability for the high office of President. But if anyone doubted the foundation of the position taken by his critics, then they have had their answer since he became President.
President Akufo-Addo has done everything to prove his critics right and let down those who held out hope that he would act differently. The same violent Militants have continued to operate with even greater impunity, attacking any and every state institution at will. He has blatantly refused to act or hold them accountable for the havoc they have caused all this while.
The culmination of this, was the shocking act of state-sponsored terrorism during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election early last year. To the consternation of all right-thinking Ghanaians, his party thugs recruited into National Security, despite lacking the necessary requirements, unleashed terror on Ghanaian citizens lawfully assisting with the mobilisation effort of the NDC.
In the process, they carried out brutalities of all kind on innocent people, leaving some with gunshot wounds and severe injuries. A sitting member of Parliament was assaulted as well.
As has become his style, no concrete action has been taken against the individuals who carried out these attacks. He has, in fact, through a White Paper on the report of the Commission of Inquiry set up on the matter, defended the assault on the Member of Parliament and refused to sanction or prosecute anyone as recommended by the Commission.
In the circumstance, we in the NDC regret to point out, that the assurances of a peaceful election by President Akufo-Addo, ring hollow and is devoid of any moral value. We have great doubts that given his track-record, anyone will be convinced that he will not use these same militants to perpetrate violence against his political opponents as a way of perpetuating himself in power even against the will of the Ghanaian people.
On the specific issue of the compilation of a new register, over which he accused former President Mahama of a volte-face, we need to point out that our respective histories on the work of the Electoral Commission, speak volumes about who has been consistent and principled.
President Akufo-Addo has rejected the outcome of elections organised by them twice when he has lost. On the part of former President John Manama, he placed a call to Nana Akufo-Addo in which he conceded defeat well ahead of the declaration of final results of the 2016 elections by the Electoral Commission. This is a courtesy President Akufo-Addo has failed to extend to any of the persons he has vied for the Presidency with.
The NDC, together with several political parties and dozens of CSOs, has all voiced legitimate concerns about the validity of the EC’s decision to compile a new voter register at a time when they have not proven that the current one has any problems.
It is a well-known fact that President Akufo -Addo led a botched effort in the run-up to the 2016 elections to undermine the credibility of the voter register. He made unfounded claims about bloating which he was never able to prove. In both the court of public opinion and the law courts, his claims were soundly defeated.
In the end, it was the same register that formed the basis of his election as President.
While as President he has accepted the mandate of the people derived from that register, he has persisted to cast the same baseless doubt about the register while providing no evidence. Regrettably, the current leadership of the Electoral Commission which he promptly installed after removing the previous leadership through clearly, partisan considerations, have only channelled his unfounded views on the register and are bent on compiling a new one, against all sound advice.
At this stage, no logical or technological basis exists for the compilation of a new register and this leaves only one motive for consideration – a desire to suppress votes and disenfranchise people in perceived opposition strongholds to the undue advantage of the incumbent.
We have expressed our disagreements with the EC through convincing and well-considered positions and arguments. These positions have been corroborated by independent Civil Society Organisations who have carried out their own analysis of the EC's claims.
When compelled to do so, we have used peaceful protests to press home our position. This coupled with the last admonition of former President Mahama which he responded to, bear no semblance to the all-out war of attrition and debasing campaign that he and his party waged against Mrs. Charlotte Osei in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
In one such unjustified attack, he stated at a forum in Amsterdam in October 2015 as follows: “Ghana has worked incredibly hard to preserve a democratic character. One administration shouldn’t be allowed to undermine it. And at times, this requires putting the interest of the country above partisan interest.
“The hope is that the global community takes notice and urges change before the elections rather than looking back at the 2016 elections; shaking their heads and asking ‘how did this happen’; we are telling you exactly how it’s going to happen…”
“All the pieces are in place for a rigged-elections. As Africans, we have witnessed election-related violence tear countries apart, we know what we risk should these problems not be resolved…”
The above shows that President Akufo-Addo frontally claimed that the administration of former President Mahama was working with the Electoral Commission to rig elections without providing any evidence. The outcome of the election and its conduct proved him totally wrong. It was against this background that former President Mahama urged respect for the work of the Electoral Commission.
Doing so does not preclude President Mahama from cautioning against conduct that can lead to potential trouble. In any event, why has President Akufo-Addo so suddenly come to believe in the work of the Electoral Commission such that he now does not want to countenance criticism of their work?
It is instructive also that President Akufo-Addo speaks of conscience. The conscience of former President John Mahama is clean and does not carry the burden of suppressing votes in opposition strongholds through politically motivated decisions.
Neither does it carry the burden of arming bandits to carry out state-sponsored attacks on political opponents just so elections can be fraudulently won.
Finally, we are by this statement, counselling President Akufo-Addo to exercise his constitutional authority in the patriotic manner of his predecessors, that the peace and stability of Ghana ride paramount over the ambition of himself and his family, that he has a duty to ensure that he leaves office next year January 7th with this country intact and at peace with herself.
ISSUED IN ACCRA THIS 19th DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2020
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS