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WINNING DESPITE LOSING

ana, please let it go.  There’s no point in contesting Tain.  You will not win.  And even if you were to win, your margin of victory will not be the twenty-three or so thousand that now separate you and Mills.

True, on paper there’re 53,000 voters.  But there aren’t that many, really. In 2004 as well as in the first round of voting in 2008, approximately 30,000 voters turned up. In 2004, President Kufuor beat Mills in Tain by 1,516 votes. On December 7, Mills won by around 1,276.  And the NDC won the parliamentary race too. You are as likely to carry Tain or by the margin you need as 2+2+2 = 8.  Let it go.

I’ve never contested an election.  Actually, that’s not true.  As a national executive member of NUGS in the early eighties along with Dan Botwe and Arthur Kennedy, I ran for the post of All-Africa Students Union Secretary-General.  And lost.  It hurt.  But I concede that my mind cannot possibly measure how it feels to lose a Presidential election that’s this close. But leadership is about making tough decisions. Decisions that sometimes hurt.  As for casual decisions everyone can handle them.  And so be the leader you promised you would be. Demonstrate it now by letting Tain go.  Let it go.

As for going to court to challenge the results in the Volta Region, double let it go. True, some nasty things did happen in VR. As they did in Ashanti.  But let’s even grant that the infractions in the Volta Region were graver.  The culprits of these offences — whether in Anlo-Afiadenyigba or Atwima-Nwabiagya — ought to face the lawn on charges of violent conduct, fraud, whatever.  The critical question though is whether those offences changed the outcome of the results in any substantial way in VR.  In order to prove that, you must demonstrate that in a critical number of polling stations or constituencies where your agents were compelled to be absent, there was a spike in, say, voter turn-out or statistically impossible support for Mills.  You have to establish a direct correlation between specific VR polling station results and the forced absence of your agents.

The thing is you did not lose this election in VR.  You lost it everywhere. In the Western Region, Mills gained 35,426 up from his first round score.  You had 28,545 fewer votes than your votes in round one.  That’s a net gain for Mills of over 74,000 votes.  In Brong Ahafo where you won on December 7, you lost 4,000. Mills gained 25,000. In unfancied Upper East you lost almost 1,000 votes.  Mills won 35,000 more.  In the Volta Region, you received only 195 fewer votes than in round one.  Alright, Mills gained an extra 81,000.  But you also made a net gain of 131,000 in Ashanti.  My point is you don’t really have a compelling case to contest in Tain or go to court.  So let it go.

You should feel uncomfortable about somehow winning the Presidency through the courts, whilst losing the polls in eight out of ten regions.  That raises questions of legitimacy.  That would be a pyrrhic victory.  A triumph so costly it’s worse than defeat. So let it go.

You see politicians think of the next election.  Statesmen think of the next generation.

 

II

If you lose an election, don’t lose face.

So stare down that phone.  Wear your famous thinking man’s pout. Take in a deep breathe. And make that call.

“Hello, this is Mills.”

“Fiifi, am sorry to wake you up.  This is Nana Addo.”

“Hey, Trostsky!”

“Oh, don’t bring yourself.  ….Listen, congratulations!

Silence.

“Fiifi, are you there?”

“Yes, Nana, I’m here.  It’s just that woama me ho adwiriw me.”

“Look, you fought a good fight, I threw in everything but, hey, the people have spoken.”

“But what about Tain?”

“Forget it, Fiifi. Look, it’s over; Ghana is bigger than all of us. I wish you the best of luck.  And I still believe in Ghana.”

“Thank you very much.  I always knew you to be a decent man.”

“Then you should’ve joined us.”

Laughter at both ends.

“But, Nana, what’re your plans?  Nkye epe Council of State a?”

“Thanks for the offer but am coming back in four years.”

“Oh, you too!  Let me also do eight years, ae!

“I’ll be 72, you know?”

“It’s true, you’ll be an olu man.  (Laughter)  Well, let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”

“Thanks.  And watch that man…and his…   Oh, don’t worry, awo gyaw no ma me.  Leave him for me, ae.”

“Ei, Fiifiii, a better man for a better Ghana! (laughter).”

“Trotsky oh, Trotsky!

“Oh, go way you!”

Click.

 

III

Nana, go on, make that call.  Your supporters want you to.  Ghana needs it.  Africadeserves it.  The world will reward you, because we it needs to demonstrate that there’s life beyond electoral defeat. There’s Guinea.  There’s Ivory Coast. Zimbabwe.  Somalia. Uganda. Congo. Sudan. Somalia. Haiti. UN reform. The services of a multilingual former foreign minister, Attorney-General, chairman of the UN security council and true human rights activist and, above all, a decent and gracious man, are required to help fix things around the world. That could be you. You could become an international statesman.  In four years, Ghana will become too small for you. You wouldn’t see yourself in local primaries contesting against Dan Botwe and Kwabena Agyepong just to become a party candidate.  Politicians think of the next election; statesmen think of the next generation.  See what happened between Bush W. Bush and Al Gore?  Bush leaves as a political zero.  Gore is a Nobel hero.

So make that call.

What’s the name of your paper again? The one I wrote a column for…The Statesman.  That’s exactly what you ought to be now. A Statesman.  Like your own JB Danquah.  And William Ofori-Atta.  Men who lost and yet won. Men who inspired you. Because they did what was right.

So make that call.

It was a close race.  If you make that call, you too/two would have won.  If you fail to concede, those who truly shared your vision will walk away from you.  Don’t let them down, lest your foes become prophetic heroes.

So make that call.

Do it.

Dial.

Now.

Kwaku Sakyi-Addo

The author Kwaku Sakyi-Addo

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