President Nana Akufo-Addo has reiterated that he does not need the Electoral Commission (EC) 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 will be, again, their choice,” he said.
The President was speaking Thursday, when the Electoral Commission, led by its Chairperson, Jean Mensa, paid a courtesy call on him at Jubilee House.
The visit is part of a series of consultative meetings being held with stakeholders of the electioneering process.
He stated that to have an Electoral Commission that is partisan or open to manipulation is essentially striking the heart of the democratic system of the country.
“What the ballot should do is to present an unvarnished verdict of the will of the Ghanaian people. That is what should take place of any well-functioning democracy; that the ballot represents a fair, clear statement of what wishes of our people are.
“If there is any interference with that, it is a distortion of the popular will, and, that, therefore, means that the democracy that you seek to advance itself becomes questionable,” he said.
The need for a commission of integrity, a commission that is not the subject of manipulation by anybody, President Akufo-Addo stressed, is absolutely vital to the direction which the Ghanaian people have decided to go, i.e. the attachment to multi-party democracy.
Touching on the key reforms being undertaken at the Commission, the President was glad to hear of measures underway to institutionalize the role and operation of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).
He said IPAC, since its institution somewhere in 1996, has provided a welcome platform for all political parties to have their say and discuss with the commission directly matters as stakeholders, institutionalizing them is very important.
On the EC’s suggestion to persuade political parties to merge, the President said “I am not so sure that encouraging parties to merge is a part of the functions or remit of the electoral commission”, adding that “those decisions, I believe, are for the parties; yours is to provide the regulations and the ambit within which the parties can operate.”
He described as important the efforts the Commissioners are making to strengthen the EC, enhance its institutional capacity, and control its own processes.
EC was a free-for-all institution
On her part, the Chairperson of the Commission thanked the President for the support they had received since their appointment, adding that “for the first time in our history, we had ou intervening in the release of our budget to us. So, this, year, we have been able to carry out our mandate smoothly.”
She added, “Since you appointed us into office a year ago, we have been doing our best to ensure that the ideals and mandate you gave to us are achieved. We want to assure you that we are committed to peaceful, transparent and credible elections. In all our dealings, we have Article 45 of our Constitution as our guiding light.”