If it turns out to be accurate that the European Union’s Election Observation / Observer Mission (EOM) has, indeed, put out a report on Ghana’s 2020 General Election in which the EU’s EOM team claims that the mechanism for appointing Chairpersons of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) does not inspire confidence in the institutional establishment of the IEC, then the EU’s EOM ought to also have cast matters in their proper context and historical perspective by also underscoring the fact that the present EC appointments protocol, which is almost 30 years old, was established by the late former President Jerry John Rawlings’ regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – (See “Appointment Mechanism of EC Bosses Doesn’t Build Confidence – EU Report” Modernghana.com 4/14/21).
You see, Dear Reader, this is not the very first time that the EU has dispatched an Observer Mission to monitor the conduct of General Elections in Ghana. So, the most logical question that ought to be asked of the EU’s EOM is precisely when the latter team of Election Monitors arrived at the conclusion that the mechanism for the appointments of the executive operatives of the IEC left much to be desired or did not inspire confidence. At any rate, what has been done or is being presently done vis-à-vis the appointments of the IEC’s executive operatives that has not been done in the past when NDC-sponsored Presidents were at the helm of our nation’s affairs? For example, were the appointments of the first two IEC’s Chairpersons by National Democratic Congress-sponsored governments, namely, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, done in active and participatory consultation with members of the extant main opposition New Patriotic Party?
And also, precisely why is this long-established appointments protocol being now envisaged to be patently undemocratic and problematic under the watch of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo? In other words, precisely why is the EU’s Election Observer Mission team attempting to hold Nana Akufo-Addo up to double standards in this sphere of our political culture and national governance? Is this because the EU’s EOM team members suppose Nana Akufo-Addo to be far less deserving of the Presidency than, say, former President “European Airbus Payola-Guzzling” Dramani Mahama, who presided over two election cycles with the same EC appointments protocol and was even privileged to appoint one former EC Chairperson and several senior staff members of the latter establishment? How inclusive was the appointments protocol utilized by former President Mahama that is any significantly different from the means or method employed or appropriated by our incumbent President?
The credibility of the EU’s EOM Report, if these are really the sort of questions it raises, can at best be deemed to be suspect and deeply troubling. Outside of a meticulous comparative analysis, it does not mean very much for the EU’s Election Observation team members to claim that our State broadcaster, that is, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), favored the ruling party and government twice as much as it favored the main opposition National Democratic Congress, as that was all to be expected. Besides, when it has been in power, the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress have ensured that even far less airtime would be afforded its main opponents of the New Patriotic Party. Plus, we need to also highlight the fact that a Preliminary Report by the EU’s Election Observation Mission had been widely reported by Ghana’s media to have noted that the main opposition National Democratic Congress controlled at least 55-percent of the national media, a very unusual phenomenon for any political party in opposition anywhere in the civilized democratic world.
All of which, of course, is not the least bit to imply that significant improvements could not be made vis-à-vis the procedure by which the IEC’s Chairperson and Staff are appointed to their jobs presently. Our only most legitimate contention here is that the call for the significant improvement in the method or protocol by which the most senior administrators of the Independent Electoral Commission are appointed must not be made a propaganda issue by scandalously scapegoating President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo or by pretending as if Nana Akufo-Addo is doing or has been doing anything fundamentally different or at variance with the status-quo ante.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
May 2, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]