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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Columnist: Denis Andaban

The EC Brouhaha: A shake of the Ghanaian democratic foundation

Some staff of the EC have petitioned the President to trigger the EC boss' impeachment Some staff of the EC have petitioned the President to trigger the EC boss' impeachment

Ghana has been striving well in building a more solid democratic foundation. Indeed, many political pundits have pointed at Ghana as a classical resilient and promising democratic nation in Africa.

Of course, this is so because we have very functional structures. The electoral commission is one of such sensitive structures that was established by the Electoral Commission Act (Act 451) of 1993. That is the independent body responsible for conducting elections. No multiparty democracy can function effectively without an independent, reliable, credible and trustworthy Electoral body.

Let me say that without the Electoral Commission, there would be no multiparty democracy. It is on this premise that we must all be concerned in the ongoing impasse among commissioners at the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

As it stands now, one is unable to decipher who holds the truth or who stands for national interest against parochial interest reading from the accusations and counter accusations. What is very obvious however is that the petition by some faceless people to impeach the Electoral Commission boss, Mrs Charlotte Osei, is the catalyst of this shameful and worrying situation we now find ourselves in.

As independent as the commission remains as mandated by the Constitution, it is responsible for solving its internal issues. I am very sure there is no organisation without any internal problems. Internal discrepancies are not injurious to organisational goals. What is very inimical is the inability to manage those differences. That is the true state of all democratic structures in this country and elsewhere.

In country where is already a worrying polarization and politicization of every issue, the petitioners should have known better that petitioning their boss without names, makes their intent and purpose traceable to political motives especially when known political elements have used uncultured and unprintable words on the EC boss not long after his appointment and promised of doing everything under the sun to frustrate her.

What all political actors should know is that what is happening in the public domain about the EC is eliciting varying views, not very unexpected of any democratic situation. Every organisation has its internal structures that are used for conflict resolution when the need arises. To have abandoned those structures and jumped to another is only tantamount to institutional jeopardy.

Unfortunately, politicians are unnecessarily hyping the issue. While others are in support of the impeachment process, though the issues have not been ascertained yet, others think that the EC is a culprit under vindictive political circumstances. Let's agree that we are all right but let's rethink again, for how long can we be fueling this impasse and what will be the end results?

In my view, the spirit of the Electoral Commission is dead! We have killed it. We are neither destroying Mrs. Charlotte Osei nor any of the Commissioners. We are fundamentally destroying the institution and we would only understand after we have finished the human haunting expedition.

Any serious national leadership would have acted swiftly in resolving this impasse but some have started calling for the resignation of the Commissioners. That is simply the dissolution of the Electoral Commission. Really!! Are we serious at all? It does suggest that anytime there is a known impasse in any organization, that organization should be dissolved? Frankly speaking, we must raise the standard and learn how to think of the repercussions of our actions. Our emotions as rational human beings are not permanent but our actions could permanently ruin our entire generation.

The very people that are supposed to be facilitating the resolution of this impasse have done nothing about it. An institution like the National Peace Council which is supposed to be a very reputable and revered institution and in a better position to resolve situations of the likes is rather calling for the resignation of the commissioners. The question is, what role has the National Peace Council? Should we dissolve it for this ineptitude and gross incompetence demonstrated in this matter?

Replacing the Commissioners in the Independent Electoral body cannot help the matter. The spirit of the institutions which emanates from its independence, credibility and trust is what is paramount and not the constituents of it. If the spirit is dead, we can remove all of them and fix different people but that is rather going to escalate serious institutional predicaments. We only have to rethink and solve the differences between them by first putting the needless emotions aside.

More importantly, those who are jumping and celebrating over this pathetic situation are triumphing in extreme ignorance. I say this because; this situation has the propensity to throwing this nation into political genocide if we want to push our political agenda with it, especially when national elections are at the corner.

It is not because we all like certain individuals who are heading some institutions but we must respect them because there are mandated by the supreme law to be there. Even the president of Ghana, it is not everybody that like him but we must see him as our president. Personal hatred has no standpoint in democracy; it is what the rule of law dictates.

I am calling on all stakeholders to give break to the media sound bites and quickly get to the drawing board to help ameliorate the situation. If we fail, that is our end.

Kirby Page (1963) pontificated that "our difficulty comes, of course, in deciding where ethical coercion ends and unethical violence begins. None of (all the) possible ways of dealing with social injustice can entirely prevent or remove human suffering.... The policy of wisdom is to use that method which involves a minimum of suffering and offers a maximum of redemption"