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Independent election audit outside court unconstitutional — IDEG/CFI

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey (left) Major General (rtd) Carl Coleman (middle), Chairman and Dr Angela Dwamena-Aboagye interacting after the press conference. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey (left) Major General (rtd) Carl Coleman (middle), Chairman and Dr Angela Dwamena-Aboagye interacting after the press conference. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) have indicated that an independent audit of the presidential results outside the court is unconstitutional.

They have therefore advised the aggrieved parties of the recently declared presidential and parliamentary results to resort to the court for redress.

The two bodies made this known during a joint press conference on the theme: "Matters arising from the December 7 general election."

The presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama, in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA) last Tuesday, stated that he would only accept the verdict of the Electoral Commission (EC) after an independent forensic audit of the results had been undertaken.

Skepticism

Responding to questions during the joint press conference in Accra yesterday, the Executive Director of IDEG, Mr Emmanuel Akwetey, said: "Guided by what happened in 2012, we have seen that an audit of ballots are authorised by the courts."

He admitted that though some people have expressed their skepticism about the fairness of the court, “the court goes beyond individuals, the proceedings are open to the public, everybody comes under some amount of pressure to do his or her work professionally and responds to the issues of interest to the public.”

Appeal

Reading a statement on behalf of the two organisations, a member of the Civic Forum Initiative, Dr Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, said the 1992 Constitution had adequate provision for redress of the concerns of aggrieved parties through civil and non-violent process.

A key development following the declaration of the election results, the two organisations observed, had been the NDC’s contestation of the elections.

The NDC, the organisations said, had resorted to demonstrations despite calls on them by civil society organisations and other concerned citizens to take their concerns to court.

“Going to court is not contradictory to peaceful demonstrations. It is the political and civil right of all persons to demonstrate when they disapprove about some national development. Members of political parties therefore have the right to public protest and demonstration. They have the right to express themselves through demonstrations, so long as their demonstrations are peaceful.”

Dialogue

The outcome of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, she said, indicated that Ghanaians wished to see opposing Members of Parliament working together and not at cross purposes.

“The two political parties will need to work together. We therefore urge the parties to begin to initiate facilitated dialogue right away. This dialogue must seek to decipher and clearly understand the mind of the electorate as reflected in the “skirt and blouse” voting patterns.

The chairman of CFI, Major General Nii Carl Coleman, described the 2020 general election as largely peaceful and successful and appealed to Ghanaians to protect the peace “so that we bring down the tension and temperature that is building.”