A civil society organisation and pressure group, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has jumped to the defence of former President John Mahama over his recent ‘do or die’ comment, saying the caution was to put the Electoral Commission (EC) on its toe.
The Executive Director for ASEPA, Mr Mensah Thompson, who was speaking on the Tonton Sansan show on TV XYZ Thursday morning emphasised that there was nothing wrong with the comment of the 2020 NDC presidential candidate.
On Tuesday, 7 September 2021, Mahama who was speaking on Techiman-based Akina FM in the Bono East region, during his ‘Thank You’ tour reiterated NDC’s position ahead of the 2024 general elections and said the party will take a “do or die” posture to protect the votes of Ghanaians.
“We were clearly robbed but we accepted the verdict for the sake of peace,” he noted and stated the NDC is not ready to go back to the Supreme Court with any election-related issues.
His comment has attracted a backlash from some Ghanaians, particularly the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) that believe the comment was unfortunate and threatens the peace and security of the country.
But Mensah Thompson believes the comment was to remind the EC that it ought to protect the votes of Ghanaians and act in good faith.
“John Mahama’s do or die comment is to protect our democracy…We’ll urge John Mahama to be sounding more warnings, going forward,” he told host Prince Minkah.
Asked why he believed the comment was not condemnable, Thompson explained that the NDC had reported electoral fraud during the 2020 polls and the EC affirmed it by changing the figures of the election results “about 8 consecutive times.”
He said apart from the EC hastening with the announcement of the results, the EC ignored some red flags the NDC raised ahead of the elections at IPAC meetings but the EC ignored them because some “small parties the EC had resurrected” had agreed to the issues.
To him, the EC needs to be reminded at all times to do the right thing such that when election results are announced, all parties can accept them.
“If you have a child and he is stubborn, you have to be sounding more warnings to him to change so what the former president said is in the right direction,” he stated. ” We want John Mahama to keep on sounding such warnings.”
“We owe it a duty to defend this democracy,” Thompson noted while commending the former president.
Mr Mahama has also hit back at critics insisting his ‘do or die’ comment is not intended to incite the public as they want the public to believe.
The former President who said his comment is borne out of lessons learnt from the 2020 elections and how the dispute was handled says he will not retract the ‘do or die’ comment.
Speaking on Sunyani-based Moonlite FM, the former President said that: “’Do or die’ is an English idiom; those who left school early don’t understand what an idiomatic expression is”.
‘Do or die’ means a critical assignment that you have and you must do the needful or perish…And so, you must do the needful. So, what I mean is that NDC will not wait to go to the Supreme Court again, so, we have to do what is required of us at the polling station…And, so, I don’t retract”.
He stressed that party executives will be well conditioned and in the next election, adding “all must do the right thing at the polling stations”.
He continued: “And, so I’m telling all our party executives that you must be at that polling station and make sure the right thing is done. So, I haven’t retracted my words. Don’t abdicate your responsibility at that level and expect that after somebody has stolen the election, you go to the Supreme Court to see if they will turn the election for you; they won’t do it”.
According to him, the “NDC must man the polling stations, they must man the collation centres, make sure the pink sheets are correct, make sure we get the right results and everything because, maybe, somebody else will become the flagbearer and he may say he will go the Supreme Court but if I become the NDC flagbearer again, I’m not going to the Supreme Court”.
“We must win at the polling station and the collation centre then the EC would have no option than to declare who the true winner is”, Mr Mahama insisted
By Henryson Okrah| Myxyzonline.com|Ghana