The best way to describe what’s happening on the local political scene, is to borrow a famous phrase by the departed magnanimous former managing editor of this newspaper, Edward Chitsulo: ‘We’re being fed dog meat’.
Or simply put, the citizenry is being sold a dummy by the State and political actors.
Jane Ansah, for one is gone, finally, but not before damaging the credibility of the Electoral Commission and undermining trust in the Judiciary, which counts her as a member.
It must also be recorded in history books, which she departs not only as epitome of arrogance, but at huge cost to the taxpayer, thanks to her blundering and actions almost bordering on partisan crusades, as suggested by law expert Garton Kamchedzera this week,
She says she’s “stepping aside” but without showing any shred of remorse for the damage she has inflicted on democracy and economy, whether intentionally or unintended.
“She has left behind a horrible legacy,” Kamchedzera told The Nation. “In my view, she will be remembered as incompetent and causing chaos and as maybe colluding or wanting to help certain politicians to remain in power at whatever cost.”
So fare thee well Ansah, anyway, you’ll not be missed.
And if you think, for a minute, Kamchedzera’s take is elitist, then watch one of those random social media videos in which the ordinary folk express their outrage over the MEC boss, even turn her name into a butt of jokes at funerals.
In one video, Ansah’s K30 000 donation to a bereaved family was booed. In another, a preacher was applauded when he told mourners: “Don’t forget yesterday we heard good news, Jane Ansah resigned.”
Yet the anger and relief for her departure can’t mask the fact that her exit’s timing, whether deliberate or mere coincidence, has plunged the country in favour constitutional chaos. And Ansah is not an innocent player in all this for the commission opted to ignore a date for fresh election set by Parliament, set its own before making a colossal U-turn, claiming it had no powers to set such a date.
Then Ansah went to Parliament, fully aware her commissioners would be out of contract by May 6; fully aware she had written her own resignation letter, and convinced Members of Parliament to set the election on June 23. Trying to find out she didn’t resign immediately after the Supreme Court ruling or even better still Constitutional Court ruling will just cause you a big headache.
This is Ansah we’re talking about, who told us elections cases are not appealable, but she rushed to appeal; who said she’ll resign after the court said she mismanaged the elections, but was reluctant after and yes, whose commission wrote auditors to manipulate the elections case evidence and even disregarded court orders to hand over evidence in the elections case.
But this business of feeding each other dog meat is not only restricted to Ansah. Let us dare ask, where is the Pesident?
With the campaign in full-throttle, our President for a whole month has been missing in action.
What makes us feel short-changed then is not just because we don’t know that it is within a candidate’s rights to campaign or not but, for goodness’ sake, this particular candidate also happens to be the sitting President.
Again, what gives the President confidence that he can just be idle at the hilltop palace and still win the election against a formidable opposition?
All this is troubling and without some answers, obviously nature abhors vacuum and it won’t be too long before theories; lurid, half-backed or real, invade the public sphere.
No one will be out of his head completely if they wonder whether the whole election business is some dog meat when the President, as critical a player as he is to the process, remains disinterested and disengaged.
The question could be: Is someone already planning to defy the highest courts on the land and delay the elections—using the crisis Ansah has gifted us—beyond the July 2 deadline?