The former president, John Dramani Mahama has descended heavily on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Madam Jean Mensa and his reason? Madam Jean Mensa is incompetent in her duties as the EC chair.
He and his National Democratic Congress(NDC) have accused the Commissioners of a bad job due to some alleged irregularities with the exhibition of the voter’s register currently ongoing at various polling stations across the country.
While name calling and pouring of invectives at the elections management body may not be new in the country, it is quiet novel and unusual for a former president and for that matter any serious presidential aspirant to descend so low as the one leading the charge against the body.
More disturbing is the fact that in one of his campaign tours, John Dramani Mahama was heard speaking highly of the election management body in relation to the just ended election registration exercise and one wonders what has changed so dramatically that will make a former president go gaga!
Perhaps, if there is anybody to trigger such vitriolics and attacks against the EC, the last person should be John Dramani Mahama and rightly so because of his earlier stance on the independence and neutrality of the commission in our democratic governance.
As a person who has led this country before and knows the implications of denigrating the elections management body, one will expect him to be measured and responsible in his criticisms of the Commission.
It appears Mr. Mahama in his characteristic fashion, is conducting himself populistly and in a way that betrays his own standards and logic.
One may recall that, prior to the 2016 general elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), other political parties and sections of the Ghanaian public called on the EC to compile a new voter’s register because they felt the old one was over bloated.
Even though it was their democratic right to make such demands of the EC, Mr. John Mahama who was then the President of this republic posited that, the EC is independent and that it must be allowed to do its work. In his opinion, asking the commission to change the register when it was not ready for such, will amount to dictating and interfering in its job.
Former President Mahama who was then the Commander-in-chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) did not only end at that, but in a peaceful demonstration these opposition members to press home their request for the compilation of a new electoral roll, unleashed the entire national security apparatus on these unarmed demonstrators and most of them including the late Justice Adjakuma who suffered an eye loss were brutalised beyond proportion.
Despite the widespread condemnation of the brutalities on the demonstrators, Mr Mahama felt so indifferent about their plight and to add insults to injury, mounted a platform and commended the security forces for their high handedness.
Today, it is difficult to appreciate why the same person who advised Ghanaians against mounting pressure on the EC in the discharge of its duties, will backtrack on his earlier stance and incite the public against the very state institution he described as sensitive and critical in our democratic dispensation?
At his flip flopping best, Mr Mahama continues to show a great display of indecision and his lack of candour casts him in the mode of someone who lacks integrity and cannot be taken seriously.
Granted that his allegations of anomalies with the electoral roll were valid, the question that will arise will be, is that not the reason for the voter exhibition exercise?
It is important to let the public and the world at large know that, detection of missing names, misspelling of names and assigning of wrong polling stations to potential voters are not new and even if they were, it is precisely the reason why the state spends millions of cedis to conduct the exhibition exercise.
Conducting the exhibition exercise is not for the fun of it. It is one of the mechanisms carefully put together and have been employed over the years to address such anomalies if any.
There is a reason why the electoral roll at the exhibition centres is referred to as “provisional register” and any objective, sane and sincere mind, will be interested in the operative word “provisional”.
It is important for the former president and his party to officially notify the EC of any discrepancy and complaints they may have detected for redress instead of engaging in acts that undermine the authority and the neutrality of the Commission.
While it is the democratic right of Mr Mahama to raise criticisms against the EC, it is important that such criticisms will be based on verifiable and indisputable facts.
This is important because ascending to the high office of the President of the Republic of Ghana is no mean an accomplishment and the honour that comes with exiting that office cannot and should not be cast away like a pearl before a swine.
To ensure a peaceful atmosphere and avoid inciting to any form of rioting, the flagbearer of the NDC and his party are encouraged to participate in the exhibition exercise currently underway to seek effective redress.
As put out already, the purpose of the exhibition is to help identify such potential omissions, errors and irregularities on the register for ratification and spare the Ghanaian such vitriolics that only goes to poison the atmosphere.
JDM must remember that once upon a time, a Supreme Court led a certain William Atuguba (JSC) decided to interpret the legal injunctive “Shall” to mean “May” all in the name of national cohesion and peace, however, we all know the greatest beneficiary of that action of the SC was him.
The world did not come to an end just because others felt some anomalies and irregularities have characterised our electoral system or even the last institution of resort’s decision has been turned upside down.
Those affected resorted to the legally laid out procedure to help shape our democracy and we believe you can equally learn from such example if you are to continue to be relevant in our democratic history.
Source: Chineseman, Osei and GuyGee (COG)
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