NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE UPCOMING GENERAL ELECTION
One issue that keeps giving most peace loving Ghanaians hope in the December general election is the frequent assurances by the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jean Mensah that the elections will be credible, orderly, transparent and peaceful. At the moment we are told all the political parties have received their copies of the voters register and the ballot papers has been completed and are being bagged. In all these the Electoral Commission has been silent on the fate of some 30,000 prospective voters whose names were deleted from the register for various electoral offences.
Recently more than 400 of these voters went to court and it ordered that their names be reinstated in the register. We ask , has this been done? With about three weeks to election day, the EC is yet to exhibit the final voters register for the electorate to verify their names. One keeps wondering whether those whose names have been deleted from the voters roll have been duly informed so that on election day they do not turn up at the polling stations to disturb people’s peace.
The EC owes it an obligation to ensure fairness in all its dealings with the electorate. “Not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done.” Again, the EC must ensure that it does not unduly disenfranchise any voter. The largest opposition party, the NDC has on several occasions raised the red flag about the electoral processes but anytime they express their reservations, they are taken with a pinch of salt with some describing them as unduly troublesome. Its flagbearer John Dramani Mahama has on countless occasions stressed that the party will not accept any flawed electoral results and has gone the extra mile to draw attention to flaws in the election process which has most of the time been taken for granted.
Looking at developments in the US, considered the citadel of democracy, where the sitting President, Donald Trump refused to concede defeat and gone to court to seek redress in what he considers electoral fraud, one can only urge the EC in Ghana to tread cautiously and do more to get all stakeholders on board to avoid the American situation in Ghana. It is clear the EC has not brought the IPAC on board its processes as its predecessors did but all the same, all is not lost.
The EC can still make amends and ensure IPAC remains the fulcrum around which the elections preparation revolve. We agree the EC is an autonomous and independent body in the administration of Ghana’s electoral process but consensus building is essential if it is to be successful. There are time tested processes which the current EC seem to be overlooking if not ignoring. It is said the fly that refuses to heed advise follows the corpse to the grave. Currently most journalists do not have their names on the special voters list. This means most of them will not be in the position to monitor the general election as they used to. The media play a significant role in the success of any election as they are tools to reach large numbers of people.
As enablers of democracy the media definitely cannot be left out in paddling the electoral boat out of stormy waters. There is no doubt the electorate have confidence in the EC to deliver on its mandate. The onus therefore lies on it to make sure transparency and orderliness is maintained to ensure credible elections.
The stake in this year’s elections is very high as a former President and an incumbent have been pitched for the coveted prize. As the arbiters therefore, the EC will be the cynosure of all eyes and it dare not fail.
BY JUSTICE MINGLE A JOURNALIST