Civil society group, Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana (CARE Ghana) has raised serious concerns about the processes leading to the 2020 general elections, and has suggested some measures to put in place to help restore confidence in the Electoral Commission (EC).
Care Ghana believes there has been an attempt by the Electoral Commission of Ghana to “whitewash the illegalities, lack of transparency and accountability that characterized the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.”
“Unlike the 2012 Presidential Election Petition which afforded Ghanaians the opportunity to observe at firsthand how the EC conducted the 2012 elections which in the end resulted in far-reaching recommendations by the Supreme Court for electoral reforms, the procedure adopted by the Supreme Court in the 2020 election petition aided the Electoral Commission to escape scrutiny and accountability to Ghanaians,” said Care Ghana Executive Secretary, David Kumi Addo.
In a statement, Care Ghana said it supports the position of the European Union Election Observer Mission whose findings revealed that there was lack of consultation in the appointment of members of the Electoral Commission.
Care Ghana has thus recommended the EC to make some reforms in its outfit ahead of any election.
Below is the statement;
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“CARE” GHANA CALLS FOR REFORMS IN GHANA’S ELECTORAL SYSTEM TO RESTORE PUBLIC TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN THE EC
The success of the 2020 general elections is credited to the resilience of the Jean Mensa led Electoral Commission. However, we have observed with grave concern the attempt by the Electoral Commission of Ghana to whitewash the illegalities, lack of transparency and accountability that characterized the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Unlike the 2012 Presidential Election Petition which afforded Ghanaians the opportunity to observe at firsthand how the EC conducted the 2012 elections which in the end resulted in far-reaching recommendations by the Supreme Court for electoral reforms, the procedure adopted by the Supreme Court in the 2020 election petition aided the Electoral Commission to escape scrutiny and accountability to Ghanaians as to the grievous errors that characterized the elections. In effect, Ghanaians did not benefited much from the 2020 election petition. The overall effect is that it has left doubts on the competence and credibility of the Electoral Commission since many questions about the acts and omissions remain unanswered. For this reason, Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana (“CARE” GHANA) calls for reforms to strengthen Ghana’s electoral laws, ensure transparency in the administrative processes and minimize external interference and control.
The Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) has become a platform for information dissemination and a tool for influencing electoral decisions due to the fact that there is no law backing it. Without legal backing for legitimacy, IPAC continuous to be under the whims and caprices of the Electoral Commission. We support the position of the European Union Election Observer Mission that the lack of consultation in the appointment of members of the Electoral Commission is problematic. It will be recalled that, upon the assumption of office, the New Patriotic Party government led by H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo effected the removal of the then EC chairperson and her two deputies and appointed persons perceived to be sympathetic to his party to replace them. At present, 4 out of the 7 member Commission were appointed by President Akufo-Addo. This development remains a clog
on the independence of the Electoral Commission.
The claim by Michael Buadu Director of Training at the EC that, the 2020 elections is the most successful, well-coordinated and efficient elections organized in the 4th republic is contrary to the facts. For instance, the people of Santrokofie, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi (SALL) a representation in parliament as a result of bad by the decision by the Electoral Commission. Also, the use of illegal Statements of Poll (Form 8) popularly known as Pink Sheets promoted widespread voting without verification which is contrary to law. In fact, this is sufficient basis for invalidating over 1 million votes in the last elections. The compilation of the otherwise disputed voters register was characterized by allegations of voter suppression and the strange incidents of excess ballots with the official seal of the EC that were in circulation. The lowest point was when in the midst of disputed results the EC announced a closure of its offices to the public. This calls for the need to have honest conversation on how the EC can freely register Ghanaians to enable them exercise their franchise in accordance with law.
The synergy required to strengthen the confidence political parties have in the EC to promote harmony and national cohesion for peaceful electoral process have disappeared. For example, the incessant demonstrations organized by the Inter Party Resistance Against New Register, the recent decision by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to turn down the invitation by the Electoral Commission to the IPAC meeting and the decision to subsequently review its working relationship with the electoral commission raises concern.
The comedy of errors that characterized the 2020 elections is unprecedented. Right from the compilation of the voters’ register, there were several errors on the provisional register. The errors in the collation and declaration of results are unpardonable, therefore we recommend that, the EC as an institution must do well to hire competent staff and put in place superior systems that will check and double check its figures before the results can be declared. We also recommend as part of reforms the need for the EC to outsource collation of results in all constituency collation centres to internationally reputable accounting and auditing firms to collate and verify the results before they are announced.
“CARE” GHANA have noticed with concern that, instead of the Electoral Commission working towards repairing its public image to restore public trust and confidence, it is rather engaged in selfpraising. We therefore wish to assure the general public that we are committed to raising critical issues regarding the conduct and management of the 2020 elections that require critical attention and reforms in the ultimate interest of Ghana’s democracy. In this regard, we call for an urgent need for a legislative and administrative reforms to strengthen Ghana’s electoral system in view of consolidating Ghana’s electoral democracy.
David Kumi Addo
Executive Director “CARE” GHANA