Hi admired Jean,
The ruling NPP and an opposition NDC stand to lose when there is yet another election violence in this country but the EC loses even more. And to think it would be you in charge of this EC, bleeds my heart even more. I cannot come to terms with a plausible fact that my beautiful Jean will go into history as the EC boss who plunged the nation into a senseless chaos when she could have nipped it. I therefore write to you (addressed as My Dear) this love letter.
My dear, electoral roars have always taken the form of war songs when all seems to have failed, when the referee is seen as having trust issues. That’s why my mother’s unforgettable disorder still lingers as you, beautiful Jean, lead us into an election this year.
Her trauma from the Liberian war of the 1990s replays in her quivering voice like a horror movie anytime she told it. With my sister strapped at her back, she tiptoed their way through the bullet cartridges fired on the floor into the then Ghanaian ambassador’s residence in Liberia.
Today, probes into the remote causes of the first and second Liberian civil war, reveal a couple of political and ethnocentric factors, among them is a common phenomenon in our democracy, the struggle for power.
The ’94 genocide against the Tutsis saw the mass slaughtering of some 500,000 fellow human beings.
A clash between South Africa’s two political forces, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party between ’90 and ’94 further claimed the lives of 2,000 people.
In Kenya, before Odinga and Kibaki agreed to share power after the December elections in 2007, 1,500 people had already been killed.
Nigeria hasn’t been spared either. Following the election of Goodluck Jonathan, many ethnic riots broke out and claimed 500 lives.
According to the Social Conflict in Africa Database, Africa has recorded over 680 conflicts from 1990 to 2011; majority of which where fueled by electoral disagreements.
Admired Jean, the thread is that these warring factions started showing signs by singing the songs of war, by act of omission or commission long before the breaking point. What was even more wrong, was the blatant refusal of the referees including peace councils and the clergy in these countries to intervene.
The unchallenged merit of periodic elections is to ensure stability. But in all the above cases, the conduct of the parties involved showed that elections have also become breeding grounds for civil wars. It is therefore commonsensical that so long as elections continue to be a political culture among African nations like ours, there is bound to be conflict and wars. Calculating the number of our fellow humans who have lost their precious lives and remain displaced as a result of these avoidable pockets of violence, should get you and me overwhelmed and emotional.
In Ghana, but for a trusted judicial system and the love for peace and religion, our nation would have recorded many violent unrests after elections. We’ve seen few in recent times and we are only lucky to have survived them.
The signs and symptoms of electoral wars have always been visible on the walls of these countries, our Ghana inclusive. The mistake has taken the form of either ignoring completely, calling the bluff of the war songs or trivializing the lyrics of these songs.
In most cases, the cause has been the mistrust, suspicion and less transparent activities in the lead up to the elections.
My Dear, the voter’s register cold war in Ghana is beginning to take the shape and narrative of these dark histories.
I do not think you, beautiful Jean, the ruling NPP and an opposition NDC would wish the nation goes into another phase of trauma and topsy-turvy after our current dehumanizing phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
Already, the nation has lost over 30 lives to our current phase whilst more than 6,000 people continue to battle for their lives, hoping Allah grants them grace. Losing the life of a single citizen to either a disease or violence must be a worry, my dear.
But my dear, I believe you are even in a better position to avoid such war songs because you are the referee. It’s becoming glaring that the process that you lead towards Election 2020 seems fraught with suspicions and less transparency, not because the NDC says so, but because the electoral euphoria forewarning. The referee (EC) must call the players to order but the way to do it must not be calling off bluffs rather, opening up the process, opening up to changes and possibly compromising.
We ought to be forewarned that the commonsense that comes with democracy demands that we find a common grounds to every process leading to elections.
If the technical facts and exposes are not convincing enough, maybe the thought that history could repeat itself, should deter the EC to have a second dialogue plan. The war songs are getting louder and it must be worrying!
For people like my mother, she doesn’t even want to hear the conversation. My dear, she’s ready to blame you first and the EC second, NPP third and NDC fourth, should her dark history resurface.
But I told her she should wait, perhaps, you will see this letter and listen because know I care; and you remain my crush.
A secret Admirer.
Kabu Nartey, GJA Student Journalist of the Year and a Political Communications Strategist