Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Indian woman - Another victim of intolerance and narrow-mindedness

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Another victim has fallen. May her soul rest in peace.

A victim of the intolerance of the few narrow-minded, who unfortunately the rest of us would have to deal with or put up with.

They want everyone else to think, live and act like them, if you don't, they use violence to bring you into 'line'.

So this young Indian woman's crime was because she dressed in a way that the extremists see as against the 'norms'. So now they have killed her, after they visited upon her that beastly act of rape in a public bus. Sadly, that's how they believe they can tell the 'deviants' how not to conduct their affairs. By these dastardly acts, so inhuman and barbaric, they shamelessly tell the rest of the world that they are on the right path.

In Pakistan, they even shot young Malala at close range in the head, for desiring to get an education, and they were proud to announce that they did it.

Unfortunately, we tolerate these intolerant few who are making our world unsafe, especially for women and children.

Little, closed knowledge, bigotry and to a large extent misinterpreted religious texts are what make these extremists a danger to us all.

They have never considered dialogue, mutual disagreement or even persuasion as ways of communicating one's position on any issue. For them, violence is the only way.

It is so unthinkable that these people who claim to be followers of religious truth, who believe that they are closer to a loving God would use violence in unimaginable proportions on usually, unarmed and defenceless individuals and groups to show their fervent commitment to their God!

They even believe that makes them more saintly and gives them a ticket to paradise with wonderful rewards so tempting that the killing and maiming of the innocent are justified.

Politics and religion are necessary, but truth be told, these two phenomena are only a small part of the realities of life - that is so because these are held by humans, who are limited in their capacity to hold and use knowledge in its fullness.

Even the most ardent proponents of political theories and religious knowledge are fallible. All humans are entrapped in weaknesses and foibles - what we know we know in part, these are not absolutes! Therefore, using violence to the extent of taking lives to propagate these ideals are unjustifiable by all standards.

As the people of India and the rest of the world mourn the untimely, but painful death of this young woman, may her death remind all of us that we can't use violence to make our point.

I hope her painful and unnecessary death, would also serve as a lesson to the political and religious zealots among us that it is immoral and even evil to use violence to force others to believe in what we stand for.

Hopefully, we would come to the realization that what we claim to have as knowledge or the truth is only a part, a small part of the whole, and must not be imposed on others, because they also probably have another part of that knowledge.

What eould make our world peaceful for everyone also includes a good amount of tolerance. Each one of us, have the freedom to live, no single individual or groups have the right to impose on others what in their view is the right way to live. If it however, becomes necessary to do so, dialogue is a much humane and acceptable option.

We don't know it all, and we don't have the whole truth.

Monday, December 10, 2012

There is no tension in Ghana after the elections, let the war mongers get that

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Sadly, it appears that when there is no violence in an African country after an election, then it is not normal.

Ghanaians went through voting on December 7, 2012 in some cases for two days of voting, at some polling centres voting continued on December 8, because biometric verification equipment didn't function on the first day of voting.

In 72 hours the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) announced the final results from all 275 constituencies and declared the winner of the Presidential poll.

The winner is incumbent President, John Mahama, who stood on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He won with 50.70% of the total valid votes cast, defeating his closest opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The difference between these two close contenders was 325,863 votes.

Nana Akufo-Addo got 5,248 898 of the votes or 47.74%, followed by Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) with 38,223 votes – that is 0.59%.

Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) has 38,223 votes or 0.35% of valid votes cast, Hassan Ayariga of the Peoples National Convention (PNC) has 24,617 or 0.22% of valid votes cast. Dr. Abu Sakara of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) has  20, 323 votes making 0.18% of valid votes cast.

The Independent candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah has 15,201 or 0.14% of valid votes cast and Kwasi Oddai Odike of the United Front Party (UFP) has 8,877 of valid votes cast which is 0.08%.

According to the EC total valid votes cast is 10,995,262 and 251,720 votes were rejected. The results are from all the 275 constituencies around the country.

The voter turnout was 79.43% .

The opposition NPP is demanding an audit of the results. Its candidate, Akufo-Addo is yet to concede defeat and the NDC is organising what they call a 'mini' victory rally in Accra.

A few rowdy people had gathered around the premises of the EC and were driven away with tear gas by the police, and that is what is making news among the war mongers. If that is the only source of news to people following on the situation in Ghana after the elections, then these people will think Ghana is about to fall off a cliff.

I spoke yesterday and today to two different residents of the second politically most active city in Ghana, Kumasi in the Ashanti region and they all say, the city is calm.

Yet the mongers are emphasising the NPP position and the small crowd situation as the main focus of the aftermath of the elections.

Accra, the capital itself is calm and most people are happy returning to work Monday morning after a long weekend filled with election issues.

Ghana is not about to crack, there is not the slightest possibility that the country will be up in flames over the election 'dispute' by the NPP. Indeed, there have always been election disputes in Ghana, and yet the country never went up in smoke!

After the 2008 general elections, which the NDC won, some of its ill informed members marched to the offices of the EC and were driven back by the police. What the NPP supporters are doing is similar to that incident and that is that - it is not the beginning of war.

Ghanaians have voted, the EC has announced the results. The opposition says it has evidence of fraud, mostly in areas where it lost. It can go to court to make a case, Ghana's judiciary system has proven it is independent, and the matter will be looked into on merit.

Ghanaians love the peace they are enjoying, even if most of them have not benefited from the huge economic leap the country has achieved in cutting poverty to half - they cherish the peace and would protect it. Ghanaians won't go to war over election results and there is no tension in the country. Life still goes on.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What to expect after the Ghana elections on December 7

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

I made a promise to my friends on Facebook to write about my predictions of what are likely to happen after the elections are over. These predictions are nothing new. They happen in Ghana after every election.

I am keeping this promise, and here are my thoughts and the things that you should expect to hear or read about.

Some of the things you would hear would be exaggerated, some would be closer to the truth, some would be outright lies, the figment of some people’s imaginations and some deluded individuals would also have their fair share of the cake of happenings after the elections – but most certainly, these things I hereby predict, would happen. But as they do, remember this – I am not a soothsayer, and in answer to my dear friend Nii Ayertey Aryeh’s question, I did not use a crystal ball.

Election times in Ghana are interesting times, often filled with excitement and tense anticipations.

To some people, it appears to be the only time for real hope. Hope that their preferred candidates or political parties would win power and change their fortunes.

Considering the fact that even though poverty has been cut to half in Ghana, it is still endemic in the country, just like most parts of the world, and the only way most people know to get out of poverty is through politics. There is overwhelming evidence to this fact – mostly unknown individuals have become millionaires overnight through their associations with political parties that became governments after winning elections.

The phenomenon known as ‘job for the boys’ is common. Individuals known to be incompetent are  appointed into very important and sometimes lucrative jobs, as a reward for their loyalty to the party in power or as a reward for some contribution to the party’s win or depending on which influential party stalwart one knows.

As a matter of fact, this election won’t be any different from all the other five since the country ushered in the 1992 constitution. After December 7, these things would happen.

My predictions

I predict that there will be winners and losers. That of course you know.

Long before the day ends Friday December 7, 2012, there will be claims and counter claims of having won the elections by two specific political parties. They would not wait for the Electoral Commission to announce the final results.

They have already appointed their ‘electoral specialists’ who are on standby to specifically monitor and announce what in their views are the true results.

Sadly, members of these two political parties are so sure of winning in the first round that none of them is psychologically prepared for any likely possibility of losing. They will start trading accusations and counter accusations of rigging even before the ballot is over.

None of these parties believe that  they could lose a fairly contested elections and they will have their own ‘evidences’ to prove the allegations of vote rigging even before the results are officially declared.

If anyone listened to executives of these two parties during their last political rallies Wednesday evening they were telling their supporters that the election is a done deal – they invariably are saying we have won already!

None of these parties has given any indications that its fate is in the hands of voters! They believe in themselves – they are so sure of victory.

We shall hear threats of court actions over results of some parliamentary ballots, and some will actually go to court to challenge the results – and these court actions might go on for four years, by which time the winner being challenged would have served the full term in Parliament, collect the financial benefits and go smiling all the way to the bank, returning to contest another election.

There will be jubilation by some and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Some contestants will be so shell shocked that they are likely to fall into unconsciousness and be rushed to the hospital.

People on the winning side will tease their losing opponents – they will rub it in till it bleeds.

We shall hear of and witness some skirmishes but there won’t be any major conflict arising out of the elections.

I also predict that most of the pollsters who have recently arrived in town, will vanish into thin air after the elections as their ridiculously cooked up polls won’t materialize, leaving only Ben Ephson to show his face around because his polls have been proven in the past.

As for who wins the presidential slot, I predict that Ghanaians will decide the winner and still make Ghana the beacon of democracy in Africa.