ATTACKS ON EC AND JUDICIARY; AN ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY
Ghana has defined three strategic arms of government to advance its course of democracy and to establish the practices of same.
The judiciary remains one important arm of government as an arbiter and the last resort. Where citizens fail to trust their hopes in the judiciary to deliver justice to them, the nation grinds to its knees. We cannot risk it.
In all of these, members of the legislature are elected to represent in the house of parliament which elections are conducted by a constitutional body – the Electoral Commission.
The head of the Executive arm of government, the President, is elected under the supervision of the same constitutional body, the Electoral Commission.
Over the years, it appears the results for the elections of members of the legislature are generally accepted by the members, but that of the results of the president are always in doubt sometimes requiring challenge at the courts.
In effect, the two arms, including the third arm, agree that the only place they could resort to for justice is the judiciary. A clear case was the resort to the courts by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to the Supreme Court over the election of President Mahama.
Over the years, the elections of certain members of the legislature were equally challenged and the final verdict accepted.
A clear case of trust in the laid down rules and regulations in the country was the resort to the courts by some justices including Justice Derry to clear his name of judicial corruption in a video recording released by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
It should be a matter of appreciation from all of us that we have a state that has clearly defined processes and procedures in dealing with affairs of the state including those that results in litigation.
What should be of much significance to us is that, we have come a long way in the practice of democracy. At least, the last time we embraced democratic practices was some 24 years ago. This is a significant feet we have attained which must cause us to appreciate the strides we have made.
Recent attacks on the Electoral Commission and especially on the person of the Chairperson is unfortunate. Especially that the attacks is not on the inability of the commission to deliver on its mandate.
We all would join in upholding the mandate of the commission if its capacity to deliver on its mandate is called into question. This is because, we cannot allow just anyone into that commission when the capacity has not been demonstrated.
In the case of the Chairperson of the commission today, I am not sure anyone had been able to point to any flaws in the execution of her duty except to attack her person for unclear reasons.
If we keep doing this, what we are doing in effect, is to create doubts in the institution and to make its work useless even before it executes it. Political parties had been declared winners of elections without qualms.
It must be stated that the electoral process must be explained to some of these individuals. Yes, the Electoral Commission will announce the results and for that matter, the winner of the 2016 elections. But, would those results to be declared, be different from what the Commission would have obtained from polling stations which would have been certified by political party agents?
Clearly, as part of the process, political party agents authenticate results from the various polling stations all the way to the regional offices. At the national level, these figures are relayed to the national representatives at the Electoral Commission. So in effect, all political parties are aware of the final results that are announced by the Commission.
What becomes a challenge is where after all the huge investments, a party loses the elections and decides to follow some processes to create doubts in the minds of the people of the outcome as announced. That is the danger.
How easy would it be to tell that, votes cast in secret are supposed to go for your political party and not for the other? Votes are cast by individuals are on secret basis, the same system used in the advanced countries even if electronically. However, the difference is that, the body charge to conduct and declare the results are trusted.
Whom do we expect to build trust in our electoral system if not ourselves? Consistently, external bodies with interest in our democratic systems have lauded our electoral systems except us here in Ghana.
Eventually, someone would be declared winner in an election that is contested by more than one person. What I have stated earlier is that, you cannot assume votes cast in secrecy which records you do not have, can only be to your advantage and not the other way. That is undemocratic and a recipe for chaos based on mental fancy.
Let us uphold our democracy and work hard to defend the records and successes we have chalked so far.