Thu, 16 May 2024 Feature Article

Democracies can retrogress through elections: Jean Mensah-led EC should be minded

Democracies can retrogress through elections: Jean Mensah-led EC should be minded

Napoleon once said that ‘The world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people but because of the silence of the good people’. This also buttresses the adage that the voice of the people is the voice of God.

The Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) is, supposed by law, to ensure national elections are conducted fairly and transparently but not being intransigent since it is no direct beneficiary of electoral victories in the country. It is rather people who choose they want to lead them at the Presidency and in Parliament.

The reputational damage caused by the actions and inactions of this Jean Mensah-led EC coupled with the high political stakes in the 2024 general elections has the potential of endangering our fledgling democracy. Unfortunately, the Jean Mensah-led EC continues to show brazen disrespect toward the electorates and incompetence in the discharge of its mandate since 2020.

For instance, the actions of the Jean Mensah-led EC led to the disenfranchisement of the Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lipki and Lolobi (SALL) people to have representation in the Hung 8th Parliament. The EC also struggles to have cordial dialogue with key stakeholders including political Parties leading to the boycott of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings by the largest opposition Party in Ghana, the NDC.

The return of the latter to the IPAC is crucial for your democracy building efforts because the controversial proposals of the EC such as no indelible ink, reduction of polling station staff, and change of voting time for the 2024 general elections were abandoned. It is indeed worrying to observe that the Jean Mensah-led EC has not been learning useful lessons from election-related skirmishes in the 2020 general elections, avoidable problems in last year’s District and Unit level elections and the previous Limited Voter Registration (LVR) and ongoing LVR exercises.

The Jean Mensah-led EC appears to be unperturbed about recurrent practical problems such as errors in small computations of registered Voters, breakdown of BVRs/BVDs, loss of some EC laptops/BVRs/BVRs and continuous lack of trust for the EC outfit, etc. Interestingly, the NPP see no evil, and hear no evil regarding the conduct of this Jean Mensah-led EC even in the face of those outrageous EC’s proposals mentioned above which were later abandoned through the instrumentality of the NDC.

Ghana cannot afford to sacrifice its fledgling democracy and developmental aspirations on the alter of EC’s utter disrespect, incompetence, and negligence before, during and after the crucial 2024 general elections. The EC’s constitutional mandate is to conduct free and fair national elections and Ghanaians not less than that. The Jean Mensah-led EC should therefore be highly mindful of their concerning actions in the lead up to the upcoming general elections.

Democracies in the world including both matured and fledgling ones can retrogress through elections and well-meaning voices should be made to ensure the Jean Mensah-led EC handle its electoral activities responsibly and fairly and allow the ordinary Ghanaians to make their choices for the right Presidential and Parliamentary candidates in 2024. We only have one Ghana we call home. A word to the Wise is enough!