On My Radar: Safeguarding the EC’s Independence
My former neighbour, a retired civil servant, struggled to make ends meet for several years. Things were VERY tight for him on the financial side. But as soon as the NDC won power in 2009, he landed a job in government. He immediately bought two 4 X 4 vehicles and renovated his house. The last time I saw him, he was driving a luxurious BMW car. (I could not believe my eyes)
Extrapolating from the above, we can say that there are thousands of struggling NPP supporters whose lives will be transformed for the better if the party wins the 2016 election.
Many of them feel that their destiny is tied to the success or failure of the party in 2016. And that’s why they are desperate to help put in place measures, such as securing a new voters register, that they think will help them win. Having spent eight years in opposition, things are beginning to become too tight financially and many party supporters are becoming aggressive and impatient. A hungry man is an angry man, they say. And this is very understandable. After all, Ghana is for all of us and we are all entitled to a share of the national cake.
NDC supporters are also desperate to retain power because they want to continue living the good life they are enjoying now. They are perhaps even more desperate because once you’ve tasted good living, you won’t want to go back to hustling. And that’s why, for instance, they want the old register, which they think will give them a political advantage, to be retained.
Be that as it may, it is imperative, Irrespective of the goals of both parties, that they give the Electoral Commission a free hand to conduct the election in a way that will be acceptable to all Ghanaians. Neither side must attempt to stampede the EC into pandering to a particular viewpoint.
There is no evidence whatsoever at this time to suggest that the EC is bent on sabotaging one side in the election, so we all have a responsibility to support the commission and stop insulting its officials.
Whether we like it or not, the EC has done enough to prove that it can be relied on to conduct a free and fair election.
If the EC was as dishonest or corrupt as has been portrayed by politicians and their supporters over the years, two opposition parties, the NPP and the NDC, would not have won the presidential elections of 2000 and 2008 respectively. Needless to say, our politicians – both in NDC and NPP – only find out that the EC is biased and corrupt when they lose elections.
Admittedly, the EC is not infallible nor is it a repository of all knowledge. It makes mistakes because it’s a human institution, and not a machine. But the good thing about the commission is that, over the years, it has proved willing to learn from its mistakes and institute reforms where necessary. The introduction of the biometric process ahead of the 2012 election is an undeniable demonstration of the EC’s commitment to reform.
That’s why I’m confident and optimistic that the EC will deal decisively with concerns that have been raised regarding the current voters register. Whether it’s a ‘new register’ or a ‘cleaned register’, I’m sure the EC will present us with something that will be acceptable to all parties and facilitate free and fair election.
And whenever the commission takes the decision, we should be waiting to support it.