The Coalition Against Rigging Election 2020 (CARE2020) has raised concerns over what it describes as the inconsistency in the conducts of officials of
The Coalition Against Rigging Election 2020 (CARE2020) has raised concerns over what it describes as the inconsistency in the conducts of officials of Ghana’s elections management body, the Electoral Commission.
At a press briefing yesterday, the coalition observed that conducts of some current principal officers of the EC “does not appear consistent with that of former principal officers of the commission who discharged themselves creditably, and this is becoming a major source of worry for fair minded and critical political watchers which if not reviewed could plunge this nation into chaos”.
Members of CARE 2020 said the utterances, conduct and posture of the Jean Mensa-led EC “feeds into the perception that the leadership of the EC is yielding to political pressure from the current NPP government”.
According to the Coalition, the current leadership of the EC has breached the trust of citizens by failing to discharge its duties fairly, hence, cannot be trusted to solely take decisions bordering the conduct of credible polls.
For instance, the CARE2020 backed its points with the alleged electoral malpractices recorded during the December 2018 referenda and slammed the EC for clearing its officials caught in electoral fraud in the face of video evidence.
They also referred to the violence recorded at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, which according to them was an attempt to rig the elections.
The”unilateral” decision by the EC to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 general elections has also been translated as an attempt to rig the polls in favour of the NPP.
“…You will all agree with me that compilation of a new voter‟s register is an important programme, not only for the EC, but for all political parties and the nation at large. This explains why such an important programme of a new voter‟s register compilation should be a matter of national discourse and consensus. Why must the EC smuggle such a key item as the compilation of a new voter’s register for the 2020 general elections in its press release a day after the meeting with IPAC on March 27, 2019 when it was not a subject matter for discussion at the said meeting and unilaterally declare same as the way forward for the commission? Will this posture and declaration lead to a free, fair and credible election in Ghana come 2020?”
The group vowed to resist any attempt to rig the upcoming as it will continue to act as watchdog and bring to public notice, any move by the EC that will compromise a credible election.
The group warned the EC to “Forget about any intentions to rig election 2020. We at CARE2020 have accepted the Constitutional obligation to resist any attempt to rig 2020 for any political whether, NDC or NPP. CARE2020 wishes to sound a caution that any attempt by the EC and its collaborators to skew any election in favour of any party or individual will be resisted by Ghanaians through all fair and constitutional means. The leadership of EC must not let Ghana down by betraying the trust and confidence reposed in them.”
Read full statement here:
PRESS CONFERENCE BY COALITION AGAINST RIGGING ELECTION 2020 (CARE 2020). APRIL
Dear friends of the Press,
Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to our very first Press Conference in the series of many to be held in the coming weeks and
Coalition Against Rigging Election 2020 (CARE2020) stands for Accountability, Good Governance, Free, Fair, Credible and Transparent Elections.
We humbly serve notice to the press and the general public that we do not intend to attack the person of any of the chairpersons of the Electoral Commission, rather we will subject the operations of the EC to scrutiny and reasonability.
The Electoral commission‟s recent posture as reflected in the conduct of some of its principal officers does not appear consistent with that of former principal officers of the commission who discharged themselves creditably, and this is becoming a major source of worry for fair minded and critical political watchers which if not reviewed could plunge this nation into chaos.
It is trite law that, by the constitutional provision creating the EC, it is independent of any external control. However, by convention and good practice, the EC adopted consultation and consensus building with it key stakeholders as a strategy for decision making. And this has held and sustained the peace in Ghana‟s political space over the years.
You will recall that, the EC‟s engagement with political parties at the InterParty Advisory Committee (IPAC) brought about Transparent ballot boxes, biometric voter‟s register, coloured picture ballot papers, counting of ballots
at the polling stations, and many other reforms relating to the role of polling agents and Election Day documentation and final declaration of results.
You will therefore agree with me that the work of IPAC towards any successful election in Ghana cannot be underrated.
Many years on and by convention as established by the EC over the years, the Inter-Party Advisory Committee has become an integral part of the decision making process of the commission.
Ghana over the years has been applauded both locally and internationally for its credible electoral systems and smooth transfer of power from one political party to the other.
CARE2020 intends to serve as the watchdog to protect this enviable record of our country and to ensure persistent and sustained improvement in standards such that Ghana‟s place as a leading democracy and a beacon of hope is not undetermined.
Dear friends of the media, we at CARE2020 are deeply worried about the utterances, conduct and posture of the Jean Mensa led EC which feedsinto the perception that the leadership of the EC is yielding to political pressure from the current Npp government led by H.E Nana Addo Dankwah Akkufo Addo, the president of the republic.
The Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency by-election which is believed by many to have been rigged through the use of disproportionate force and mayhem visited on the electorates by officially sponsored thugs from the National Security Council is an important premise for our concern as leadership of CARE2020. It is instructive that the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election recorded the most abysmal voter turnout of 19.04%.
Another important basis of our concern at CARE2020, is the December 27, 2018 referendum held last year which recorded widespread irregularities with EC officials captured on video in a shameful act of thumb printing ballot papers and stuffing same in ballot boxes across a number of polling stations ostensibly to fulfill the minimum constitutional threshold.
Even though the leadership of EC has promised to launch an investigation into the electoral malpractices, Jean Mensa has gone to sleep over the matter believing that Ghanaians are short-sighted, forgetful and docile.
Believe me, that notion is inaccurate!
Thirdly, the recent display of arrogance on “Eye witness” news by Dr. Bossman Asare, a deputy chairperson of Ghana‟s electoral commission on the EC‟s position on compiling new voter‟s register are all typical low points of the commission that must not be ignored.
As a country we have invested so much resources into the Electoral commission to bring it to the stage it is currently, and it will be suicidal for us to sit back and allow some individuals in leadership of the EC to undermine our democratic values and aspirations.
The CARE2020 wishes to sound a caution that any attempt by the EC and its collaborators to skew any election in favour of any party or individual shall be resisted by Ghanaians through all fair, just and legal means. Again any unilateral attempt by the EC to do the bidding of other interest parties shall equally be resisted! Ghanaians are used to and comfortable with the common sense approach to consensus building.
Ladies and gentlemen, you will all agree with me that compilation of a new voter‟s register is an important programme, not only for the EC, but for all political parties and the nation at large. This explains why such an important programme of a new voter‟s register compilation should be a matter of national discourse and consensus. Why must the EC smuggle such a key item as the compilation of a new voter’s register for the 2020 general elections in its press release a day after the meeting with IPAC on March 27, 2019 when it was not a subject matter for discussion at the said meeting and unilaterally declare same as the way forward for the commission? Will this posture and declaration lead to a free, fair and credible election in Ghana come 2020?
A posture like this, obviously feeds into the perception that Mrs. Jean Mensa and Dr. Bossman are yet to wean themselves off their association with the Dankwa-Busia tradition and that certainly creates a state of fear and panic for the country at large, so long as they remain part of the leadership of the EC. It is public knowledge that, Npp is the preferredpolitical party of the duo. Indeed both are known ideologues of the Dankwah-Busia tradition and in the case of Dr. Bossman, a former Tescon patron back at his former place of work; University of Ghana, legon. Even before here, we know how closely they have worked with top NPP members. But that should not influence their current role as members of the leadership of our enviable commission. We highly expect them to be fair to all political parties, and come to the table without their political coloration.
Friends of the press, let us place on records that, CARE 2020 is not against a credible voters register. Indeed we recognize the significance of a clean and credible register, as that in itself underpins the very foundation of democracy, free and fair elections and also deepen the credibility of the entire electoral process. It suffice to say that having a credible election to elect any legitimate leader at any stage on the ladder starts with a credible register, but what is the justification for a new voter‟s register for 2020?
What prevents Jean Mensa and Dr. Bossman from sharing the so called scientific evidence that they claim to be their justification for a new voter register with all stakeholders? Or is facial recognition a justification for compiling a new register as Dr. Bossman alleged? Why are they hiding the scientific claim in their bedrooms alone? What are they hiding from all of us? Get us right. You are not an extension of any political party.
Forget about any intentions to rig election 2020. We at CARE2020 have accepted the Constitutional obligation to resist any attempt to rig 2020 for any political whether, NDC or NPP.
CARE2020 wishes to sound a caution that any attempt by the EC and its collaborators to skew any election in favour of any party or individual will be resisted by Ghanaians through all fair and constitutional means. The leadership of EC must not let Ghana down by betraying the trust and confidence reposed in them.
Let us not breach the rules of transparency in the conduct of the work at EC.
Ladies and gentlemen changing a whole register with such a huge cost and budgetary implications without establishing the very reasons that makes it a necessity in the face of economic hardship, Dumsor, difficult-to-implement yellow and green track educational system, free fall of the cedi, rampant fuel increases, failure of 1D1F, yet to be fulfilled one constituency one million dollar promise, one village one dam failure, increase in prices of basic goods and services, environmental mess and the massive unemployment situation that has currently bedeviled this government is untenable.
Friends of the press, you will bear us out that, all of the above economic challenges demand huge financial commitment on this nation and that should be the concern of any patriotic person willing to protect the public purse and not a replacement of an alreadycredible voter register which has being described by many, including the electoral commission as the best, and used same in conducting two separate elections since assuming office; the AWW by-election and the referendum to create new regions.
As a matter of fact, the current register is the best we can have. Any changes must be one that is informed and proven and not to aid any political party win at all cost. CARE 2020 is convinced that the current register is credible to supervise the upcoming general elections in 2020 without any need for a new register.
CARE2020 intends to make some demands of the EC to prepare an even playing grounds towards election 2020. And for the avoidance of doubt the following are our demands,
1. We demand of the EC to share as a matter of importance their so called scientific research with all relevant stakeholders to bring closure to the urgent need for a new register
2. Publish the findings of the investigations the EC promised into the December 27, 2018 referendum massacre, the officials caught on tape thumb printing and stuffing ballot boxes during the exercise to create new regions and what measures the commission has taken against such officers.
3. We demand the leadership to condemn the unacceptable arrogance of Dr. Bossman Asare, a deputy chairperson of EC in his recent defense for a new voter register for election 2020 on „eye witness‟ news.
We intend to serve notice to all diplomatic missions in Ghana on our fears of a possible rigging of the 2020 elections if the EC continue to exhibit its unwillingness towards IPAC and all other stakeholders.
The widespread levels of poverty and the dwindling fortunes of our people as a result of down turn in the economy with its attended high level of frustration should inform us that we are in bad times. Truth is that all is not well with this government and likely to be rejected at the polls come 2020. So, Jean Mensa and leadership of the commission must not attempt anything that will plunge this nation into abyss.
Should we at any time satisfy ourselves of any attempt by the leadership of EC to work in contravene to what its mandates are, we shall not hesitate to proceed to court and challenge the EC to ensure justice is served the good people of Ghana. We are also serving them notice that CARE 2020 will mobilize Ghanaians across the country in perpetual demonstrations against the Electoral Commission, if they should go ahead to force any unilateral electoral decision on the people.
Members of the inky fratenity, we wish to submit without any fear of contradiction that, the surest way forward for the EC is to broadly consult with all major stakeholders to build consensus before take-off. Their current views on the way forward is simply myopic, suspicious, incompetent,
wicked and partisan.
We advise the EC as a matter of urgency to withdraw this unilateral proposal and call for an emergency IPAC meeting to develop a clear cut
road map going into election 2020.
Our eyes are on the ball, and we shall strive to bring Ghanaians up to speed with all the relevant issues relating to the 2020 general elections and beyond through our public fora to be organized across the country. But leadership of the EC can listen to us and choose the peaceful path of consensus building and disengage accordingly from the current posture of arrogance, or be prepared to pay their partisanship approach with legal
uncertainties and perpetual demonstrations.
This is Ghana. They won’t take us down that slope. They and the entire commission will be resisted all through till the right things are done. Before they came, someone was removed and the current leadership of the commission must know that no situation is permanent and can happen to them as well.
The Jean Mensa led EC should eschew arrogance, and rather focus on building consensus and public confidence in the operations of the commission ahead of the 2020 general elections and above all consult widely, while they operate within the tenets of their mandate as established by the 1992 constitution if the aim is to supervise a clean and credible elections.
As for rigging election 2020, they should forget it. Ghanaians are not ready to seek refuge in other countries. This is the only country we have and we will not sit for anyone to play us into chaos and a state of anarchy.
Ladies and gentle from the press, we are counting on. You hardly disappoint and we know you will add your voices strongly to the call towards an Electoral Commission that is as independent as envisaged by the 1992 constitution, committed to a free and fair process towards credible elections at all times.
Let us speak up just as we have done in the past. Nothing should stop us.
This is the only country we have and no one should push us to a point of regret. We may not see it now. But the rest of the sub-regions that have experienced political violence and instability did not spring up out of the blue. The arrogant posture of the likes of Dr. Bossman, coupled with other misjudgments on the part of electoral officers led them to those dangerous situations. Let us condemn it now before it‟s too late.
The likes of Mrs. Charlotte Osei, Amadu Sulley and the rest never got here, but we gave them enough reason to know that the commission cannot and should not do any political party’s bidding, and Mrs. Jean A. Mensah and her lieutenants should not be an exception.
We have come far and can‟t afford to lose it now. At this stage we have only one alternative as a country. Succeed, succeed and succeed. There is no turning back. Mrs. Jean Mensa and Dr. Bossman should be warned.
Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you for your time. Together we shall rise, build and bequeath a stable country to our children and generations yet to come. We shall be back shortly.
ERIC NII ODARTEY LAMPTEY
By: Kekeli Kuatsenu/awakenewsonline.com