Sydney Abugri Writing and Editing Services

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An Afari-Gyan autobiographical memoir would in all certainty fly off the bookshop shelves at home and abroad like free tickets to Heaven and a biographical movie about Ghana’s legendary Electoral Commissioner make one great grandmother of a screen blockbuster, don’t you think?

The man has presided over national elections in Ghana for the past 23 years and presided over five presidential and parliamentary elections in a neat row!

After such a marathon run by the man at the head of our electoral history, it is only appropriate and proper that somehow, something worthwhile and significant is done to give his name a place in the country’s electoral history, yah?

A biographical, memoir-based movie about this out-of-the-ordinary individual and long-time electoral commissioner who loved his cigarettes as much as he loved is job is just what we need to do the job, Jomo.

Between his appointments in 1992 up till last week when staff of the Electoral Commission had a durbar in his honour, we might shoot great scenes from his life, work and times, and we need not follow any sequence, just random scenes that will lend some spice to the story.

In this scene, it is the day after the NPP announces its disputation the results of the 2012 presidential election and declares that the party is heading for the almighty Supreme Court to challenge The Electoral Commissioner’s declaration of John Mahama as winner.  It so happens that on this particular day, Dr Gyan is busy tending crops on his farm.

{When Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan is not busy superintending national polls, he is often busy on his farm tending his crops and fishponds, see?}. His mobile phone rings. Dr Gyan drops his farm tolls and says, “Hello…”  There is one of these nosey chaps called news reporters on the line. The journalist wants to know if the commissioner is dead!

Rumours have apparently reached the reporter to the effect that the commissioner has kicked the bucket. The Commissioner assures the journalist he is very much alive and as pleased as Punch over the fact and is actually busy working on his farm.

The originators of the death rumour had preceded it with comments about how in the wake of the NPP’s disputation of and subsequent petition against the results of the 2012 presidential elections at the Supreme Court, the Commissioner appeared lean, wasted and bound for the sixth acre. Let us save the rest of this scene.

Dr Afari-Gyan may be a near legend when it comes to a parade of superintendents of national elections in Africa but of all the electoral commissioners Ghana has had since independence, he appears to have suffered the greatest election-related tribulations.

One of the first scenes randomly shot, recounts Dr Afari-Gyan’s tribulations, challenges and apparent blunders: It is an election day. Voters have queued up polling stations across the great republic. The scheduled hour for the commencement of voting comes and so many things seem to go wrong at many polling stations:

There are cases of the very late delivery or non-delivery altogether, of voting materials and equipment. The queues of voters are unnecessarily long and winding. Election officers fail to show up at some polling stations long after the scheduled starting time for voting. To compound matters, some of the equipment is found to be defective.

Worse is to come when voting gets underway: Heavily built men with bursting sinews and biceps like oak tree trunks go zooming around on snarling motor bikes snatching ballot boxes and intimidating voters at some polling stations. Dr Gyan who is monitoring the progress of voting receives the news and reaches for a cigarette and his lighter…

In the next scene, it is another election year.  Dr Afari-Gyan has introduced a biometric register and it is giving him problems when it comes to the verification of voters’ identities using his new technology: There is the bizarre case of prospective voters; most of them blue collar workers, whose finger prints cannot be registered biometrically even though the equipment is functioning perfectly.

Sympathetic registration officials begin washing the hands of the unlucky prospective voters with soap but a fat lot of good that does when they try taking the fingerprints again. Dr Afari-Gyan hears the news and reaches for a cigarette and a lighter…

The most nerve racking scene which is also not lacking in hilarity has Dr Gyan sitting in a vast sea of scowling lawyers, glum-faced witnesses, journalists, party activist and court officials at the Supreme Court and taking a bombardment of questions under intense emotional and psychological pressure from NPP lawyers who insist he scored the presidential election win wrongly to John Mahama. The NPP’s case is thrown out.

In the last of the concluding scenes, Dr Afari-Gyan picks his hat off the proverbial office rack and walks off into the sunset to some applause, but certainly not from his beloved friends in Ghana’s leading opposition party!

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