Some political parties are calling for the integrity of the Electoral Commission (EC) to be protected since any mistrust branded around the institution could spell doom for the country.
According to these parties, if political parties and the media, in particular, continued to bring the country’s electoral body to its knees through the perpetual damaging of its credibility, it would culminate into the rejection of any election results put out by the EC.
The parties spoke to the Daily Graphic after a closed-door Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held last Wednesday on the premises of the EC’s headquarters in Accra.
The political parties are the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), the Progressive’s People’s Party (PPP), and the leader of the independent presidential and parliamentary candidates, Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, aka JOY.
However, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is of the view that the protection of one’s integrity or credibility relied primarily on the conduct of the individual or institution.
According to the NDC, the EC must undertake its activities in a transparent manner to attract the very respect and honour from the political parties.
“The Electoral Commission can better protect its integrity when it conducts its operations in an open manner where parties involved can all be satisfied,” the Director of Elections of the NDC, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
Using the IPAC meeting as an example, he said, “If after every meeting the EC comes out to say a decision has been made on a particular issue when nothing of that sort has happened, the EC will rather be the one undermining its own credibility.”
At the meeting, which had in attendance the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, political parties were briefed on the preparations made towards the organisation of limited registration.
The EC was said to have proposed the organisation of the limited registration to be conducted at the district level and online but some of the political parties rather preferred it to be decentralised and done at the various polling stations.
There was also a discussion on the issues of the political party offices, which the EC was said to have announced to the parties that the report had been completed and would be made available to them.
The Chairman of the LPG, Mr Percival Kofi Akpaloo, said it would be a mistake on the part of any political party or organisation to tarnish the image of the EC, considering the fact that the electoral body had the power to declare election results.
He said despite challenges the EC faced, the institution had done excellently well in ensuring that issues among party and decisions regarding elections were communicated.
Mr Akpaloo said Ghana could not risk having the EC’s credibility tainted since its ripple effects could overwhelm the entire nation.
The National Secretary of the PPP, Mr Murtala Mohammed, said the party supported the call for the credibility and image of the EC to be protected at all cost.
He said issues could be addressed in a way that would not lead to the public doubting the integrity of the EC.
Mr Mohammed said the party would not intentionally drag the reputation of the EC into the gutters because of its dire consequences on the entire country.
The Vice Chairman of the GCPP, Mr John Amekah, said political parties must create a solid credibility for the EC else Ghana would be in trouble.
“If we do not do that, anytime the EC holds elections and wants to declare the result, nobody will trust it. We have to make the EC credible,” he said.
Mr Amekah also urged the media to refrain from pronouncements that could ultimately damage the EC’s integrity.
For his part, Mr Osei Yeboah was also of the view that the work of the EC was crucial and that parties and organisations must rather help protect its integrity.
He said there must be a better way for parties or organisations to express their concerns regarding how the EC worked, but must also be mindful so that their utterances “do not affect the image of the institution”.
Mr Yeboah said it must be a collective responsibility for every organisation to help maintain the credibility of the EC.