Professor Ransford Gyampo, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Political Science Department says the Jean Mensa led Electoral Commission of Ghana is gradually destroying its carefully crafted reputation by making the Commission faces needless public ridicule.
Prof. Gyampo indicated that, the Electoral Commission’s preparations towards voting and the voting itself were both transparent and seamless. But the subsequent activities following voting including collation of results, intransigent posturing and the unprecedented errors that have characterized virtually everything that has been done, makes the Commission a pale shadow of itself.
According to him, It is his reasoned view and he insists that this particular Electoral Commission started well. It is however ending in a manner that subjects the Commission to needless public ridicule.
It is baffling how the Commission wasn’t able to contextualize and nuance a simple letter of recess at a go, and at a time when its activities were under scrutiny. They got it wrong on the number of districts we have in Ghana in that release. The admission of computational errors in the release of the final results, exposed a certain predilection for speed over accuracy. The excuse for giving no audience to the minority MPs, in these “abnormal times” was flimsy, not smart enough and only deepened antagonism against the Commission. These can only douse public confidence in the Commission and accentuate the belief held by some, that the integrity of its verdict in the 2020 elections, was compromised.
“You don’t protect institutional peace and solve any conflict, when you create a problem, refuse to dialogue on how the problem can be resolved and insinuate that the one affected could go to court. You cannot just slap me and tell me to go to court. That’s impunity of a sort and this palpably annoys.” He explained.
“These challenges notwithstanding, I still re-echo my appeal to the NDC to act only within the confines of our laws in order not to cheaply cause public disaffection for themselves. Demonstrations must be peaceful, if the party still wants to do so. There should be no arson or destruction of property that may likely affect innocent people who voted for the party.”
He again said, when the NPP overly relied on its signature project of Free SHS to the neglect of other key factors that could undermine their electoral fortunes, some of us predicted trouble for them. Social interventions are good but they do not shape voter attitude to the full. Free projects that aggressively silences critics and implementers, create votes only in the minds of those championing them.
Apart from banking inordinate hopes on the Free SHS programme, the NPP made and allowed too many mistakes. These inter alia, include greed, arrogance and corruption on the part of some appointees in an over-bloated government, antagonism of civil society, the ousting of Domelovo to the revulsion of CSOs and anti-corruption crusaders, the politically infantile move of imposing parliamentary candidates on constituents, the low-standard disingenuous attempt at comparing achievements to a regime that the NPP had described as incompetent and had been monumentally defeated in the previous elections, the last-minute quickie road asphalting in some urban and peri-urban communities, the implementation of COVID relief social interventions like free water and free electricity for a certain category of consumers, that looked more like propaganda and vote buying interventions, rather than candid pro-poor initiatives, as well as the neglect of other key issues of concern to many Ghanaians.
“These challenges naturally made the NDC come-back very attractive to many. That was why long before the elections, I predicted that the outcome of the 2020 election was going to be a victory with a taste of defeat, and a defeat with a taste of victory. Clearly, the results of the elections show that the NDC is a preponderant force to reckon with, that can deliver a similar 2016 defeat to the NPP, should the NPP continue with its politically suicidal mistakes.” He added.
“But whether the NDC will live up to expectations in any future election, depends on what it does today. Regardless of their paranoia, I still plead that they go to court and not to do anything that takes away their public love and sympathy. They should remember that, one of the factors that accounted for their monumental defeat in the 2016 elections, was the response of Akufo Addo, after the 2012 election, that shifted public perception of him, from being a lawless person, to someone who was willing to allow due process to take place.”
The victory or defeat of a political party in any future election, is to a large extent, also contingent on what it does today and how it chooses to go about expressing discontent about the outcome of today’s election. Those who do not want to hear the counsel of being told to go to court, must be allowed some time to calm down and must be led to do some soul-searching with regards to what they want to do. If they choose to remain on the streets, it would be their democratic right. But they must remain there peacefully and be mindful that the unintended consequence of such long peaceful stay on the streets, would impact negatively on public affection for the party.
Prof. Ransford Gyampo argued that, the outcome of the 2020 elections should be a clear wake-up call to the EC to improve upon its conduct, posturing and relations with the NDC and indeed, all political parties. Else, it’s security of tenure may remain only in theory. There is no need to offer any counsel to the NPP. Let them take lessons from the challenges outlined in this post and let the presidency and center of government be manned by a Chief of Staff with an emphatic persona, independence of mind, and pedigree, who can wield enough checking control over all appointees, and have the mental fortitude to even tell the President when he is wrong, while remaining extremely loyal to him. Dan Kweku Botwe, should be able to do this for tremendous impact.