President John Dramani Mahama has called for a cessation of the harassment of the Electoral Commission (EC) so as to enable it to independently do its job of conducting this year’s general elections.
“I believe the Electoral Commission should be left in peace to do its work, this harassment is not necessary,” the President said in a radio interview on Takoradi based Twin City Radio on Wednesday.
Various pressure groups and political parties, especially the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have been mounting pressure on the EC to validate the voters register before new voters are registered ahead of the elections.
Some individuals have even initiated court proceedings against the Commission at the Supreme Court aimed at ensuring that a new register was procured or the existing one cleaned.
On Wednesday in Kumasi, the protesting groups held a demonstration against the Commission for allegedly failing to either compile a new register or validate the existing one.
Commenting ahead of the demonstration in the radio interview which formed part of his activities of touring the Western region, President Mahama described those moves as a “harassment” of the EC.
According to the President, the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) where all political parties are represented, is the appropriate forum where concerns from various parties are raised and discussed for a decision to be taken by the EC.
“So why do we sit in IPAC and confer with the Electoral Commission and our peers in IPAC and then we come out and do manifestations and other things and say it is our way or it is the highway. If we don’t have our way then nobody must have his way, I mean it really doesn’t help anybody,” he said.
President Mahama said he has restrained himself from getting involved in the argument because as a President, “I’m not supposed to get involved in these things and interfere in the work of the Electoral Commission but I do believe that our Electoral Commission has proved over and over again that it is capable and so let us give it the peace of mind to be able to deliver a credible elections for us.”
He explained that when it comes to elections it falls directly under the ambit of the Electoral Commission and that, what government can do is to facilitate if it is needed and also make sure that a safe and secure environment exist for elections to take place.
“That is government’s duty, the rest is the duty of the Electoral Commission and I pledge that government will play its part to make sure that we have a peaceful and successful elections,” he added.
Listen to the President's interview here
Touching on the track record of the EC, President Mahama said: “I believe that we have one of the best Electoral Commissions in Africa, I dare even say in the world and our Electoral Commission has proved over and over again that it is capable to deliver credible, transparent and fair elections.”
On the provision of resources for the Commission, the president said the Executive together with the Electoral Commission and Parliament have sat down and gone through their [EC] budget and trimmed it down so that it covers nicely what they intend to do.
He said government was committed to releasing those monies to the Electoral Commission so as and when it demands for its budget, the Ministry of Finance pays the money so that it can continue to do its work.
This, the President said was an indication that government was committed to resourcing the Commission so that it delivers good elections for the people of Ghana.
On why he thinks he should be given a second term, President Mahama said, “I believe that Ghanaians are a very intelligent and discerning people and I believe that it is for them to determine who they want to give their mandate to.”
“For my side, having worked over the last four years, I believe that, this government has done a phenomenal job in all sectors and I do believe that looking at the track record of what we have delivered to the Ghanaian people in terms of social and economic infrastructure.”
The President said he was of the firm belief that his government has done a lot for the country in the past three years as evident in the execution of some projects such as roads, electricity, water and education among others.
Whilst in the Western region he held meetings with the chiefs and people in some of the communities and gave an account of the performance of his government in what he has termed as “Accounting to the people”.