We are constrained to intervene in the ongoing discussion within certain quarters about the future of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission and electoral reformsafter the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Election petition case.
We note that following the verdict, the New Patriotic Party and its many surrogates have continued with their campaign of lies and vilification against the Electoral Commission and its Chairman Dr Afari Gyan. They have sought to use this campaign to deflect justifiable criticisms from their supporters over the massive deception they engaged in which has been exposed by the outcome of the Election Petition case. They have in the process made many untenable demands of the Electoral Commission.
We first wish to condemn the calls by the NPP and its affiliate groups for the resignation or dismissal of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission.These calls are utterly risible and must be dismissed as they have no foundation in the 1992 Constitution which grants the Electoral Commission Independence and absolute protection from interference. We urge the Electoral Commission and indeed the general public to disregard these calls because they are motivated by sour grapes from faring badly in the elections of 2012 and the frivolous petition they filed at the Supreme Court.
Dr Afari Gyan is an honourable statesman whose excellent academic and professional credentials are beyond reproach. His over two decades of dedicated service to mother Ghana as Chairman of the Electoral Commission calls for gratitude and laudation and not the crude, appalling insults being hurled at him by the NPP and its agents. The Supreme court in dismissing all six issues brought before it has vindicated Dr Afari Gyan and completely exonerated him from the vicious falsehoods levelled by the former flagbearer and leadership of the NPP to the effect that he had colluded with President Mahama and the NDC to steal votes.
On the issue of electoral reforms we note attempts byEx-President Kufourto stampede the Electoral Commission into ceding its powers to unauthorized bodies when stating that reforms of our electoral system should not be led by the Electoral Commission. Rather than join this unwholesome chorus, we urge President Kufour to call to order persons within the NPP who have made Dr Afari Gyan the butt of insults and abuse.We have also taken note of further unconstitutional moves by the NPP to force out Dr. Afari Gyan and compel President Mahama to appoint a successor of their choosing. This latest effort is captured in a letter written to the Council of State urging them to consult parties in their advice to the President on who he appoints as Dr Afari Gyan’s successor.
The Constitution explicitly vests the power to appoint Electoral Commissioners in the President in consultation with the Council of State. Nowhere in the Constitution is room made for consultations and deliberations with political parties on the matter. We in the NDC wish to serve notice that we will neither allow nor permit a rollback of all the gains made since the return to constitutional rule through violations designed to placate disgruntled losers in an election. It is important for all political parties to respect the provisions of the constitution which embodies the spirit and aspirations of the people of this country.
While we agree in principle that electoral reforms ought to be considered when it becomes necessary to do so, we are unable to subscribe to any self-serving prescriptions which will create more problems and undermine the sanctity of the 1992 constitution.
The NDC is fully aware that no perfect electoral system exists anywhere in the world. We nonetheless wish to observe that Ghana’s Electoral system has seen incremental reforms since 1992 and has evolved into one of the most credible, transparent and innovative in the world. These reforms have come about through consensus building and cordial discussions among various stakeholders. It is within this time-tested arrangement that the current discussions about this matter ought to be conducted.
We also wish to caution organizations within our society which periodically serve as disguised mouthpieces for the NPP and seek to ram unworkable propositions and demands down the throats of Ghanaians to refrain from doing so this time as the NDC is determined to ensure the preservation of our state institutions and respect for our constitution.