The late Kofi Annan, son of our Ghanaian soil, perhaps did not think through it well, when he said, ‘elections are at the heart of democracy, when conducted with integrity, they allow citizens to have a voice in how and by whom they are governed’, because the alternative may be the reality in his continent of birth.
With less than two weeks to Ghana’s general elections, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa can not reject accusations that the commission is in bed with the incumbent government by mere jokes.
Uncertainly, Mrs. Jean Mensa strongly believed, if she was in bed with the government, the evidence would have been for her to have two children by now because its being two years now since she became the chair of the Electoral Commission.
Let’s not be deceived because elections are not an end in themselves. Their purpose as stated in our fourth Republican Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is to ascertain the will of the people regarding their government. They are process to confer legitimacy to govern and to peacefully resolved political competition.
Therefore, the moral obligation to manage the independence of the Electoral Commission enshrined in our constitution as well as the views of the public reflected through political parties as stakeholders in the process is one that all Ghanaians must pay close attention, on order to judge the performance of the electoral commission ahead of 2020 general polls.
A genuine election is ultimately one in which the outcome reflects the freely expressed choices of the people. However, if an election and its outcome could enjoy credibility in the eyes of the citizens of Ghana, it will depend on the extent to which the democratic principles of universal suffrage and most importantly political equality are respected. At the same time, the connection between the technical quality of an election and the legitimacy of its outcome may be complex but particular attention must be given this.
Most elections produce results that merit acceptance even in the face of imperfections of varying degrees. In some cases, the numerical results (the vote count) can contain errors or inaccuracies, irrespective of underlying motivations, which may not affect the outcome.
To seek peaceful redress in such situations requires that the contestants and their supporters have confidence or at least a reasonable hope that a just outcome can be achieved.
Our elders say, an elephant which kills a rat, is never considered a hero but a queen whose response to serious matters is jokes, deserves no crown.
By Kweku Atuahene
The writer is an economic activist
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