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August 26, 2013

Ghana King Urges Citizen Confidence in Supreme Court

by Peter Clottey

In Ghana, the paramount king of Akyem Abuakwa, has called on citizens to be confident that the Supreme Court will hand down the right ruling this week on the validity of the 2012 presidential elections.

In an interview with VOA, Okyehene Nana Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II also expressed confidence that the country’s peace would not be disturbed despite concerns about potential violence after the court ruling scheduled for Thursday, August 29.

“Whatever everybody is thinking, it’s only the judges who have the evidence and who can pronounce the verdict,” the king said.

Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (NIEC), declared John Dramani Mahama winner of the presidential vote with 50.7 percent of the ballots cast, enough to avoid a run-off with rival Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

But, citing voting irregularities during the election, the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) petitioned the Supreme Court seeking to throw out Mahama’s victory in the 2012 presidential vote. The NPP is, however, not contesting the outcome of the parliamentary election, which the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) won with a majority.

Some analysts have expressed concerns about tensions and possible violence following the court ruling. But, Amoatia Ofori Panin says he is sure Ghanaians will not resort to violence after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“We are not violent people. We have been at this before,” Amoatia Ofori Panin said. “The petitioners did not go to the street to fight; they didn’t take sticks, they were not confrontational they decided to take the matter to court, where they deposited their complaints. I’m sure some people are going to be disappointed either way, but I think we would hold on and we will just forge forward.” 

Amoatia Ofori Panin says other Ghanaian kings have been speaking with the youth about the need to ensure a peaceful and prosperous country.

“We are speaking to young people to first think about our country, think about the future of our children,” he said. “We need to build a Ghana that would be competitive, a Ghana full of opportunities for young people.

“I told them what type of country would you want to leave behind for your children? We inherited a great nation, and it is the responsibility of every adult, every leader, [and] every security agent to make sure that we stay where we are when justice is pronounced and everybody should understand that.”

Amoatia Ofori Panin recently met with President Mahama, Akufo-Addo and other opposition leaders as part of an effort to diffuse tension among supporters ahead of the court ruling.

“When I first met the president after the election my message to him was that Mr. President [Mahama] I need for you to pronounce that you will accept the verdict and he gladly said yes. I spoke to Nana-Addo, he said he would. I have been speaking to most of the leaders and they said they will accept the verdict,” said Amoatia Ofori Panin.

He praised the process of the electoral challenge, which was broadcast live across the country.

“I just believe that both the petitioners and the respondents, including the judges, have conducted themselves very well in this manner and for the convenience of technology, everybody saw it on TV. We watched the proceedings, so I’m sure these judges are going to come out to do the right thing, and then everybody can accept it so that we can move on and think about other issues that confront us,” said Amoatia Ofori Panin.
Clottey interview with Okyehene Nana Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II