Congratulations to John Dramani Mahama on winning the Ghana presidential election. After ensuring a smooth transition after the passing of John Atta Mills (RIP), the Ghanaian electorate has given him a mandate by a thin margin but enough to ensure that he was the clear winner and no need for a run off.
As usual the opposition has cried foul, possibly they were irregularities and transgressions. The points they raise are always the same, rigging tallies, stuffing ballots, causing delays and late openings. These issues are always worrying and the Electoral Commissions need to be strengthened and become more independent.
The opposition needs also to step up, and stop reacting to election irregularities but anticipate them, followed by implementing the relevant measures to prevent them. As the saying goes – fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
If the incumbent continues to rig and the get away with it then shame on the opposition. Each time, doesn’t the opposition learn its lesson and prepare better?
A lot of this is down to the laziness of some of the opposition in Africa. They spend the time between elections chattering in the urban centres and only remember during election time that the rural population contribute most to the vote. Yes, urbanisation this will change over time but it hasn’t yet. The opposition in Africa has to build better grassroot structures that can relay their message.
Apathy should not also set in, incumbents can be defeated like Atta Mills (RIP) and Macky Sall did. Even in the toughest conditions, MDC – Zimbabwe won the first round in 2008. They may have lost the second round due to sheer brutality but the first round win gave them a strong mandate that led to a power sharing goverment. The MDC worked with partners to monitor each polling station, photographed each polling station report and tallied it with the official results, led campaigns to encourage turnout. All these methods led to win for an opposition party in such a tough environment.
If our oppositions want to us to take their petitions seriously and stop seeing them as sore losers, they need to change. They need to build grassroots structures between elections, and learn that prevention of rigging is more likely than the cure of rigging.
As the next elections come round, the opposition should remember – rig you once, shame on them ; rig you twice, shame on you.