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Opinions of Monday, 4 January 2016

Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa

EC Boss And The Entire EC, Brace Themselves for Electoral Fraud in 2016.

EC Boss, Charlotte Osei And The Entire EC, Brace Themselves for Electoral Fraud in 2016.

Ghana is perceived as a nation that is dangerously living with a biased institution of Electoral Commission, and headed by a "puppet" Commissioner of Elections.
In almost every nook and cranny in Ghana, Ghanaians are openly engaged in debating over where the supposed loyalty of the EC, and its head is posited. Majority of discussants rule out any form of probability that the institution owes loyalty to Ghana.

Between the years 2009, and 2015, approaching the 2012 elections, during the era of Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, the recently retired Commissioner of Elections, a sort of novel circumstances set itself in the Electoral Commission, whereby Ghana saw a sudden surge in the its voters register to "Alpine" heights. The Commission presented figures for the parliamentary elections, different from that of the Presidential. There were several anomalies that were made manifest. Dr Afari Gyan, admittedly, dropped a brick at the 2013 Supreme Court petition hearing, by conceding that the Ghana voters register had been bloated. He provided the world with his own definition, in what he termed as a "classical" version of over voting, not to be enchanted with, but to the amazement and disbelief of the world.

In an earlier statement, Dr Afari Gyan had acceded to the fact that, for 56% out of the Ghanaian population to be eligible registered voters, as he had it, and presided over, then, "that is incredible to any world standards." With all his supposed technocrats around him, as an appointed Commissioner of Elections, charged with an onerous responsibility to oversee to providing near accurate, if not accurate detailed information and statistical figures from his outfit for census, and elections purposes. Whiles seated in the dock and testifying, long faced Dr Afari Gyan literally goofed, as hopelessness was written in bold letters all across his face. This, in the opinion of most Ghanaians, suggests that there is something seriously wrong, either with the institution as a unit, or the Commissioner, who is supposed to know better, and who should be capable of controlling subordinates under him, into compliance with acceptable rectitude. It further suggests that either the commission must have been wrongly staffed and stuffed with unqualified officers and statisticians, or that these technocrats have knowingly committed gross negligence in their commitment and services to Ghana, and must be penalised.

Before Dr Afari Gyan's exit, the Supreme Court had recommended for serious electoral reforms, in order for Ghana's future elections to be undisputale. Subsequent to that, the Abu Ramadan v the EC had said it all, that the EC had not only dishonoured its responsibilities to Ghana, it is an act of incivism. It was one of the unlawful commissions committed by the EC that was contrary to the law, yet it was done under the watch of the head Commissioner.
The Supreme Court ruling, in the eyes of the public, has as at today, been disrespect fully ignored with disdainful contempt, yet with impunity.

The Electoral Commission is the same body that oversees to organising national census, and to provide for the government, accurate figures and information on Ghanaian citizens, resident migrants, and visitors. Such information must also be provided in the interest of the citizenry, and for educational purposes, yet what we see and hear do not tally to any valuable purpose.

The Electoral Commission has misconstrued what is meant by an independent institution, and has assumed a status of untouchable. Here is a national institution, which like all other State institutions, draws a huge chunk of the national budget for their operational functions and sustainability. It is paid out of taxpayers money, and purported to be honestly used to do a job that will inure to Ghana and Ghanaians. The EC calculates, and draws its budget in hard currency US Dollars, yet the institution has never been audited. However, if they have ever been audited, it is neither to my knowledge, nor is it to the knowledge of the general Ghanaian public.

Peace - loving Ghanaians, comprising political parties, civil society groups, religious organisations like the Christian Council, and the Catholic Bishops Conference; the Peace Council; institutions like the traditional rulers etc, as well as international organisations, have all recently expressed disquiet over the nature and size of Ghana's voters register, as Ghanaians head towards a major general elections in 2016.
Evidence of cross border registrants have been made available to the current Chairperson of the EC, Madam Charlotte Osei and her institution.
Following a demonstration by the opposition NPP, and other allied political parties, that was greeted with armed police brutalities, a five member commission was set up by the same EC, to look into the various issues raised on the voters register, and to submit its report for consideration and implementation. This move was seen by Ghanaians, as a step, apparently in the right direction, thinking that it was said and done in good faith, and with the hope that it might not be an illusive forlorn hope.

All these notwithstanding, on behalf of the EC, its Chairperson, Madam Charlotte Osei, has presented the institution's proposed 2016 elections timetable, as well as its budget for the event to be organised to parliament for approval, but minus any consideration for all the various pending issues on the register. It must interest you to note and acknowledge that opposition parties have provided excellent working suggestions to the EC, from the days of opaque ballot boxes, to this present biometric era, presupposing that the views of opponents to the government cannot just be shrugged off in derision.

Madam Charlotte Osei, you may need to be animadverted on the fact that Ghanaians sense and feel a tremulous pulsation of the working mechanism of wheel within wheels, a situation that leaves you in a dilemma, and essentially being remote controlled by President John Mahamah; but considering the fact that you have to cover a long journey down your appointment as a young Commissioner, it must be in your own interest to consider that you have the prospect of being recorded in history, either as a celebrated icon, or as an odious villain. Either of these options will surely depend on how you will lead the EC to conduct elections, to an undisputed satisfaction, indicating how broad your loyalty is spread across interested Ghanaian groups.

In view of the prevailing circumstances, may I hereby ask with as much politeness as I can muster, that as a newly appointed head of the EC, that if you are not in concert with your institution, in trailing the same dishonest steps as was treaded by Dr Afari Gyan, and this time, most probably with reinforced disdainful impudence towards the opinions, suggestions, rulings and recommendations of our Superior Court, the general public and other organisations, national and international?

May I ask once again, if you will proof your worth as a capable head of your institution, to which Ghanaians look up for electoral fairness, and in utmost honesty, and to shame observing critics?
I therefore ingeminate as above, and in a hope that, in spite of the institution's acclaimed independence, Madam Osei, you will rectify the wrongs and misdeeds of your predecessor, and reckon that the institution you head with prestige, is doubtlessly, heavily dependent on the public purse, therefore you must work towards the public weal.
In this regard, Ghanaians are looking forward to a day when the doors to the offices of the EC will be open to auditors, to work accordingly, and in the interest of public scrutiny, to satisfy ourselves that your institution has provided Ghanaians with value for money.

Finally, we demand assurance that everybody's prayer will be fulfilled by you and your institution, by being fair to all parties equally, and in the supreme interest of Ghana, a country you have chosen to love, live in, and willing to work for, by desisting from being a sectionalist head, but rather as a generalist and loyal nationalist.

Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, (London, UK)