I Am Not Shocked by IEC Excuse for No-Show in Parliament
Unlike the 3News’ reporter, I am not the least bit shocked about the failure of Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa and her senior associates and administrators of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to show up in Parliament to explain preparations, so far, made towards the smooth and successful conduct of the December 7 general election, because the grounds given for such a no-show was primarily one entailing tardiness on the part of the members of our august House. From the news report that constitutes the gist of this column, it does appear that the notice containing the invitation for the Electoral Commissioner and her relevant associates to appear before a full-session of the House had been sent too late and not afforded the invitees adequate temporal space or span for the delivery of such a major and momentous presentation (See “EC’s Reason for No-Show in Parliament Will Shock You” 3News/Ghanaweb.com 11/6/20).
Normally, such invitation ought to have been prescheduled well ahead of time and ought to have been marked up on the permanent calendar of the House. In this instance, however, it appears that the invitation was a spur-of-moment decision, which was very disrespectful of both the staff and the very busy and hectic work schedule of the IEC’s staff, and definitely not in consonance with best parliamentary practice in many a robust and functional democracy. You see, it was not as if the operatives of the IEC routinely spend their days idling about and waiting to be summoned at the beck of the members of our National Assembly. That, at any rate, would smack of inexcusable absurdity. You see, the IEC’s administrators have a plate-full of activities at anytime of the year, but especially during the hectic one-month period towards a major election year such as the present one.
So, no, I am not the least bit flabbergasted or gobsmacked, or even astounded that some commissioners of the IEC had traveled out of town, presumably on official duties, when the aforesaid invitation arrived. If Mrs. Jean Mensa is telling us that the invitation for her and her administrative associates arrived rather much too late for them to promptly respond, then, of course, that is all that there is to it and we have not other alternative but to take her word for it. You see, the IEC’s Chair is an astute and diligent professional who has been literally working around the clock ever since she was sworn into office a little over two years ago. We are also, all of us, well aware of the steady and systematic harassment to which the IEC Chair and her associates have been relentlessly subjected by the leaders of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), largely entailing vicious and patently false propaganda that is studiously aimed at both irreparably undermining her credibility and the credibility of the entire IEC establishment.
Even more significant, however, is the scandalous failure of the 3News’ reporter to have critically questioned why the members and operatives of our National Assembly decided to wait until on the eve of their recess before deciding to invite the very busy IEC commissioners to appear before the House in order to brief them about the level and state of preparations so far made to ensure the successful conduct of the 2020 general election. It makes one wonder whether our parliamentary representatives have their priorities set aright. Was it, perhaps, because these MPs were too busy divvying up their quadrennial “gratuities,” actually loot, at the expense of the hardworking but woefully underpaid Ghanaian blue-collar worker, as well as our public and civil servants, to care? Come on, 3News (TV?), we deserve some critical heavy-lifting and deep-thinking journalism here!
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
November 6, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]
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