Democracy has elements that are necessary to make it run unhindered. Among others there should exist an independent body to ensure that political equality is established.
It is for this reason that all citizens put their hope in the Electoral Commission (EC) which occupies an important position in a democratic state.
Many countries have found themselves in political instability and turmoil after elections as a result of the failure of their electoral commissions to properly play by the rules that raised suspicion of unfairness and consequently disputed elections. Fortunately, Ghana has not gone that path because succeeding governments have committed themselves to resourcing the electoral body and embarking on electoral reforms to ensure that our elections are not compromised.
In spite of people’s reservations about Ghana’s Electoral Commission, it has successfully superintendent over seven presidential and parliamentary elections which have generally been hailed as free and fair. In fact, the success of Ghana’s democracy is hugely hinged on its ability to conduct national elections with good results over the years.
Therefore, when the EC came under public scrutiny over allegations and counter-allegations of mismanagement, corruption and incompetence, among others, concerning its chairperson and two other commissioners, the population became alarmed. Petitions to the President led to the Chief Justice empanelling a committee to look at the veracity or otherwise of the allegations.
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Finally, the Chief Justice Committee presented its report. The President, based on Clause Nine of Article (146) which states: “The President shall, in each case, act in accordance with the recommendations of the committee,” has terminated the appointments of the chairperson of the EC and her two deputies as recommended by the report. Opinions on the President’s decision are divided. While some members of the public and political parties have commended the President for the bold step, others have expressed their disapproval over the decision.
The Daily Graphic sees this as exemplifying the beauty of democracy. We, however, urge the public to endeavour to apprise themselves of the report and where they disagree, use the law to address any grievances.
Already, a section of the citizenry has sounded its preparedness to embark on protests against the President’s decision. We think such citizens have the right to protest. We only advise that any action should be carried out within the confines of the laws of the land.
Now that the search for a new chairperson and deputies for the EC is going to begin in earnest, the Daily Graphic encourages the President to constitute a multi-partisan committee, even if privately, to advise as he consults the Council of State and seeks Parliament’s approval for the confirmation of the new officers.
We think this will minimise suspicion of all stakeholders about whoever will be appointed to lead the electoral body so that the commission can concentrate on its mandate as there are too many electoral tasks ahead of the country, both in the short and medium terms, such that we cannot afford to have a new leadership with question marks on its integrity, competence and partisanship.