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16.01.2020 Feature Article

Troublesome Wives- NPP & NDC

Are the two driving EC crazy
Troublesome Wives- NPP & NDC
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Arguably, the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana and the Ghana Police Service (GPS) are the most disliked institutions in the country, according to this writer's observation.

But who are their 'haters'?

The two are not in the good books of politicians. Why? In part, politicians in their political lenses don't see the EC and the police toeing their lines or bending the rules in their favour.

And whether this is true or untrue, scientific or unscientific, this perceived thought has been overstretched such that it's potentially eroding the credibility of these two institutions.

For instance, over the past decade, it appears the credibility of every EC chair has critically been questioned or pigeonholed.

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan one of EC's most respected and accomplished individual at some point in his capacity as the chair of the electoral body was criticised vehemently by both parties.

Invariably, it's the party in opposition that makes the loudest noise or cry wolf.

In 2016, the cycle continued. Dr. Afari Djan's successor, Mrs. Charlotte Oseii came under intense fire and was deemed unfit and uncut for the job. She was also accused of being pro-NDC by then opposition NPP.

Today, barely four years on, (in the year 2020),

Mrs. Jean Mensa,(appointed by the ruling-NPP) the current chair, has come face to face with reality. Yes, it's a reality check!

She's been facing what I call brimstone.

The opposition NDC is spewing fire--as the party launches incessant attacks against the Commissioner.

Indeed, what goes around comes around:

The irony though is.these same political parties in many occasions or ways have tried or attempted to undermine the independence of the very institutions the nation established.

Never observed this?

Have you not observed that the EC get criticised most by the NDC when NPP is in power and vice versa?

And haven't you also observed that this trend, is softly if not vigorously chipping off EC's credibility as an independent body whose primary function is to conduct, free, fair and credible elections?

History and time

The EC has time and again (history is my witness) been kicked around like an empty, can, punched like sandbag and jettisoned in the Ocean like contraband goods.

The conundrum

Currently, the EC is facing what could be described as a conundrum. It plans to come out with a new voters register for the December 2020 general Elections.

BUT already, that idea has sparked controversy. It's sorely angered the NDC and certainly raised eyebrows.

So how can EC deal with the conundrum?

First, let's paint a picture by using the following metaphors--wives and a husband. It's also important to establish that the EC is dealing with a party or group of parties that have taken a polarised position regarding the subject matter.

In this scenario, the EC being the husband is married to conservatively 10 wives-- two of them known to be troublesome or trouble-makers( NDC and NPP).

Are the two driving the EC crazy?

Indeed, history is my witness, these two wives have the proclivity to harass their husband---no matter what the EC does for them. And typical of the two wives they would question the merits, credibility, neutrality or independence of their troubled husband.

Coalition

In the meantime 13 political parties who call themselves the Coalition of Political Parties have backed the EC's decision to compile a new voter’s register.

The parties include the the-governing NPP Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), National Democratic Party (NDP), People’s National Convention (PNC), Convention People’s Party (CPP) among others.

At a press conference held in Accra on Thursday, 9 January 2020, the coalition said it supports the decision by the EC and its justification for a new register.

The coalition argued, the compilation of a new register will break the duopoly of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

I should note that I really don't know how that would neutralise the strength of the two major parties. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen.

Mr. Kofi Akpaloo the convener of the Coalition said this: “We support the Electoral Commission because their justification for the new register is very clear. Also, our main reason is simple: the NDC-NPP duopoly can be broken by us if only the register is very clean.”

He also made a statement which in my view is remarkable and patriotic: "The coalition, in view of the explicit provisions in the constitution defining the role of the election management body as independent, civil society organisations have a duty to support the Commission in the discharge of its mandate."

Interestingly, on Thursday while, the coalition was declaring or trumpeting its unflinching support for the EC, the NDC and some groups such as the True Drivers Union, on the other hand, registered their displeasure against the planned exercise. They in plain language described the EC’s move as a "wasteful venture".

Question is: Given the history of the two, wasn't this posture expected?

EC’s justification

The EC holds the view that integrity of the 2020 polls could be undermined if a new register and a new Biometric Voter Management System are not put in place.

It further says" the current kits and solutions are obsolete: They are End-Of-Life (EOL) and can no longer be supported by their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The immediate past vendors of the solution proposed that the Commission replace all the equipment and also upgrade the Data Centre. This was rehashed by the Consultants we engaged to audit our systems", the above was contained in a statement issued by the commission in Accra.

“It is important to emphasise that whether we compile a new voters’ register or not, there is the need to acquire new equipment to replace the obsolete kits acquired in 2011. It is therefore important to delink the procurement of equipment and kits from the registration", the statement concluded.

If the above statement doesn't sound convincing and persuasive enough, I will humbly suggest, the EC engages his wives constantly in a more transparent dialogue. Such conversations between the husband and his wives, particularly the two trouble-makers should be devoid of favouritism. Anything short of this would set the clock back.

Better still, if EC or the husband feels in his heart and mind that there's something inherently wrong with his planned move: I think it is not too late to rescind the decision.

He shouldn't be stubborn to admit or acknowledge his error(s) and make amends if there's such a need. After all, it's for the nation's interest and not for parochial interest.

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Gordon Offin-Amaniampong, © 2020

The author has 370 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: GordonOffinAmaniampong

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