President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to disprove all allegations of its critics by ensuring that it efficiently discharges its functions as stipulated by law.
Addressing the Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Jen Mensa and other members of the election management body when they paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House, as the last leg of the stakeholder consultation efforts of the EC, President Akufo-Addo urged the Commission to ensure that every decision taken ahead of all upcoming elections, such as the District Assembly elections and the 2020 general elections, are speedily concluded for purposes of ensuring an efficient Electoral Commission for a free and fair elections.
“There are sections of the Ghanaian community that have attempted to stigmatise you and the Commission as being inefficient, incapable of being able to run this institution efficiently and all of that. It’s going to be a big test for you to disprove these allegations and be able to show that whatever arrangements you put in place at the end of the day are efficient and enable, therefore, the Commission to deliver on its mandate in a manner that is incontestible,” President Akufo-Addo said
Mrs Jean Mensa, in her address to the President, noted that over the last one year, since assuming office together with her fellow commissioners, they have attempted to establish an effective governance structure for the Commission, which hitherto, was nonexistent.
She also emphasised that the EC is currently recruiting new staff to boost the capacity of the institution.
She also noted that a legal department has also been created since there has never been one in the entire history of the EC.
She indicated that concrete efforts have been made to institutionalise the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), the platform that brings together the leadership of all political parties in Ghana to dialogue on issues relating to elections.
“Since assuming office, we have tried to have at least one meeting every month to develop an agenda around which we can have constructive dialogue. I must say that it hasn’t been easy. We had a somewhat shaky start but as the months have gone by, that trust is being built across the board and we are making some progress,” Mrs Mensa said.
President Akufo-Addo expressed great delight at the efforts that are being made to institutionalize the operations of IPAC.
“How firmly entrenched it is as a body within the election management system has not been clear up till now and the efforts that are being made to institutionalize and entrench it are very welcomed,” President Akufo Addo noted.
Implementation of ROPAA
According to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, consultations are seriously ongoing to ensure that the EC implements fully the Representation of the Peoples Amendment Act (ROPAA).
Amongst others, she noted that there will be the need to amend Constitutional Instruments (CI) 91 and 94 to accommodate the implementation of ROPAA.
She further assured that the EC is in touch with Parliament to get the amendments through to pave way for the implementation of same.
Commenting on the implementation of the ROPAA, President Akufo-Addo observed that the issue of a national identity card is extremely important if the ROPAA law is to be implemented as is done by most French-speaking countries in West Africa. He urged the EC to continue with its consultations and ensure a comprehensive implementation of the law.
No Personal Interest
President Akufo-Addo, in his remarks, indicated that he has no personal interest in who runs the EC or not. His focus, he said, is to assist the EC which is a very important state institution to execute its mandate.
“I hope the press took note of the statement made by the Chairperson of the Commission that she has not received one call from the Office of the President since she took office as Chairperson of the Electoral Commission,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“I don’t need an Electoral Commission to win an election. I don’t want to win an election in Ghana because of the Electoral Commission. I want to win an election in Ghana because of the people of Ghana, that they make a free and open choice, that Akufo Addo again will be their choice. That will be my take on this and not because the Electoral Commission is helping me win an election.”
The Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei Opare, the Senior Minister Osafo Marfo, the National Chairman of the NPP, Freddie Blay, General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu, Peter Mac Manu, NPP National Campaign Chairman for 2016 Elections, the Minister for Regional Reorganization and Development Dan Botwe, and Martin Adjei Mensah Korsah, Deputy Minister for Regional Reorganization and Development where all present at meeting.