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27.02.2024 Feature Article

The 2024 Ghanaian Election And The Challenge Of Electoral Commission Credibility

The 2024 Ghanaian Election And The Challenge Of Electoral Commission Credibility
27.02.2024 LISTEN

As Ghana approaches the 2024 elections, a cloud of mistrust looms over the nation, casting shadows on the integrity of the Electoral Commission (EC). Ghanaians, both at home and abroad, find themselves questioning the impartiality and independence of the EC, raising concerns about the transparency of the upcoming electoral process.

The Dilemma of Presidential Influence is one of the key factors contributing to the skepticism is the perceived influence of the presidency on the EC. The current President's overt efforts to pave the way for his vice president's succession have sparked suspicions about the EC's ability to conduct a free and fair election. The trust in the EC's independence becomes even more complicated when one considers that the commission's leadership is appointed by the presidency, creating an inherent conflict of interest.

Historical antecedents show the EC, particularly the Charlotte Osei regime, has left an impression on Ghanaians despite allegations of bias towards the opposition at the time and a friendly gesture towards government, it conducted an election leading to a loss of power which saw the opposition come in. Confidence in the EC's ability to act independently must be demonstrated in words and deeds. The subsequent appointment of individuals with strong political affiliations to the commission by the Nana Addo government has further fueled concerns about impartiality.

The Call for Statesmanship In these critical times is imperative for President Nana Addo to rise above political interests and emulate the statesmanship exhibited by his predecessors. Ghana has a tradition of peaceful transitions of power, and the onus is on the current leadership to uphold and strengthen this democratic legacy. By doing so, President Nana Addo can contribute significantly to restoring public confidence in the electoral process.

To address the prevailing mistrust, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo must take proactive steps to reassure the public of his commitment to a peaceful electoral process while the EC is clear in its dealings with political parties. While the appointment of politically affiliated individuals to the EC may be a reality, it is crucial to ensure that these individuals prioritize their role as guardians of democracy over partisan interests. Transparency in the decision-making process and active communication with the public will help dispel doubts about the EC's independence.

Civil Society groups and International Observers must play a vital role in ensuring a credible electoral process since Ghana is not an island, it operates within the international community and must live within the tenets of the rule-based system that governs democratic societies. Their active involvement in monitoring and reporting any irregularities will serve as an additional layer of accountability, helping to maintain the integrity of the elections.

As Ghana stands at the crossroads of yet another election, the need for a transparent and credible electoral process is paramount. The mistrust surrounding the Electoral Commission poses a significant challenge, but with decisive actions from the President, a commitment to impartiality from the EC, and vigilant oversight from civil society and international observers, Ghana can navigate these challenges and reinforce its democratic principles. The 2024 elections should not only be a test for political leaders but also a testament to the resilience of Ghana's democratic institutions.

Ken Braimah
(Global & Geopolitical Security Analyst)

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