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Sanitize Ghana’s democratic space

Feature Article Sanitize Ghanas democratic space
TUE, 03 JAN 2023 LISTEN

The revelations contained in the leaked audio, regarding the 2021 Presidential Election Petition, of the former General Secretary, and now Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, the NDC, indicates the political landscape of Ghana has much filth to clear.

Prior to the determination of the Election Petition case by the Supreme Court of Ghana, the major opposition party conducted itself as if they had superiorly-collated electoral results that controverts the final results collated and declared by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

The leaked audio vindicates the firmly-expressed opinion in an article I titled Set Parameters for Presidential Election Petitions, that the NDC filed a trifling case at the Supreme Court, and the opinions of those who expressed similar thoughts on the issue. The content of the leaked audio confirms that the NDC did not present a case backed by any truthful evidence to challenge the figures declared by the Electoral Commission of Ghana. The party did not have the legal requirements to invoke the powers of Article 64 (1). The reason is, their petition did not meet the requirements of Article 63 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.

Yet, several months after the determination of the case by the Supreme Court of Ghana, former President John Mahama continued to lament on the judgement delivered by the court and the general supervision of the Electoral Commission of Ghana of the 2020 general elections. He consistently called for an independent investigation into the 2020 Presidential Elections: he had alleged there was fraud and rigging in the said elections. Former President Mahama publicly maintained he would prefer the investigations into the election to be conducted by an independent body like ECOWAS. It looked as if the NDC’s 2020 Presidential Candidate was not briefed by his party on the data available to the party and the credibility of the data to support the claims of fraud and rigging.

Political parties and their leaders need to maintain the integrity of the political system through their actions. The integrity of the NDC and its leadership is dangerously impaired by the conducts of its leaders immediately after the declaration of the results by the Electoral Commission, as well as before and after the ruling of the Supreme Court of Ghana. The party could not independently and internally collate its results but persistently asserts the 2020 Presidential Election was rigged.

These happenings indicate a filthy democratic space that needs cleansing. The actions and inactions of the leaders of the National Democratic Congress in 2020 could have triggered mayhem in the country. Party faithfuls were asked to jubilate because the NDC had won the 2020 Presidential election. The supporters were equally asked by the leadership of the party, the NDC, to seek justice on the streets. They were made to believe that the Electoral Commission stole the Presidential election for the ruling party, the NPP. Some supporters thoughtlessly adhered to the instructions of the leaders and began to terrorize people.

Some supporters of the NDC violently confronted innocent State security personnel which could have been basis for a heightened chaos in the country. There was clear expression of a desire in the NDC leaders to cause confusion as they embarked on protest to the premises of the Electoral Commission to threaten its top officials. There was needless tension in the country as a result of the public declarations of the leaders of the party indicating their electoral win.

Political actors should take a cue, and a keen interest in the happenings within the democratic space in Ghana in 2020 after the declaration of the collated Presidential results and take corrective steps to sanitize the democratic space of Ghana. The country needs a clear guide on the conduct of the leaders of political parties and their supporters as the country prepares for elections in the coming year (the 2024 general elections).

There is a demanding need to adequately prepare a guiding principle of conduct for political leaders, to regulate the management of their emotions and expectations and those of their supporters in elections. The leaders of the various political parties, for instance, must be barred from making their own declarations and inciting their followers to jubilate even if they have independent and robust systems for collating electoral figures. Such an attempt will sanitize the democratic space of Ghana and avoid needless mayhem in the future.

The content of the leaked audio must not be treated casually. It must be given a focused attention to deal with its impacts on the likelihood of a depletion of the democratic gains of the country, and the possibility of impairing the enviable image of the Electoral Commission of Ghana. Unguarded comments by political leaders can lead to political hostilities.

BY Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast

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