The conduct and performance of the Electoral Commission (EC) has again come under intense scrutiny with a criticism from the leadership of the Shia National Imam of Ghana, saying the electoral body’s refusal to build consensus before, during and after the December 7 polls, leave much to be desired.
According to the Office of the Shia National Imam of Ghana, consultation and consensus-building, have always been part of Ghana’s electoral process from the inception of the fourth republic from 1992 and so it was “quite abysmal” for the current EC led by Mrs. Jean Mensa, to stand on it grounds not to engage the various stakeholders in most cases resulting in dissatisfaction among interested parties.
The EC is on record to have scrapped some old conventions, including the ECs Strong room and Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC)
It said these conventions over the years, have helped to build and ensured trust among these stakeholders that led to the continues peace and security of the nation
“Consultation and building of consensus has since been one of the conventional responsibilities of the EC. The conduct of the EC in the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections relative to consensus building is been quite abysmal.
The convention of constant engagement with relevant stakeholders, before, during and after elections ensured trust and leads to the consultation of peace and security of the nation”.
The EC over the years, has been accused mainly by opposition political parties who often are suspicious of the Commission of being in bed with government which incidentally are the body that appoints the leadership of the EC.
From the days of Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan to Charlotte Osei and now Jean Mensa, the EC bosses have had it tough with the two main political parties-the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) depending on who is in opposition or in government and also who appointed the leadership of the Commission.
In the past, the NPP to some extent did not trust both Dr. Afari-Gyan and Mrs. Osei, so was the NDC against the current leadership who replaced Mrs. Osei after the NPP promised to remove her when it wins political power.
Their mistrust have always cast a slur on the work of the EC which has in some cases led to the various courts, including the Supreme Court.
In 2012, the NPP and it flagbearer, Akufo-Addo, after losing that election, petitioned the Apex court to overturn that election, but they were unsuccessful.
Today, the flagbearer of the NDC, John Dramani Mahama, has also headed to the same court over flaws identified in the December 7 elections.
In the next 42 days, the Supreme Court, will be the centre of attraction, as it will be working to adjudicate that matters.
Having followed events over the years and especially the current one, the Office of the National Imam of the Shia Muslim Community of Ghana, has joined the many calls to have the 1992 Constitutional document amended to take the power of the executive appointing the EC chairperson taken from the president to bring sanity to that institution.
The Office said, the usual mistrust and acrimony that characterize the electoral process among parties is curtailed, if the EC bosses are selected by a body, rather than the president.
“It is on the basis of the above challenges that the Office of the National Imam of the Shia Muslim Community of Ghana deems it duty-bound to call on the relevant stakeholders in both scholarly and policy discourse including the legislature, executive, judiciary, media etc to strongly support the course of amending the Constitution in order to find means and ways of selecting the EC”.
A statement issued by the office sighted by theheraldghana.com maintained that ‘By so doing a body should be constituted to be responsible for the appointment of the EC instead of the executive arm.
Ghanaians need peace and it can be consolidated if all the parties and electorates have confidence in the independence and fairness of the EC.
The statement went on to explain the important and sensitive nature of EC’s role in a democratic dispensation adding that any action that gives the people doubt about the process to elect leaders could breed chaos
“Thus the Electoral Commission appears to be the most sensitive organization in any democratic dispensation that must be robust, strong and independent in its conduct of organizing supervising and declaring of election results.
To discover the reality, the outcome of an electoral process depends on the conduct of the EC and the perception of the people on the institution. Any lack of trust in the behavior of the EC can give rise to political and electrical violence”.
The press statement said the many errors and changing of figures by the EC and other flaws detected during this month’s election, make their case even stronger for a system shift from the norm so that the EC can perform efficiently and it outcomes of election results accepted by all.
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