The Director of Election for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has said the Electoral Commission has been able to conduct seven peaceful general elections, despite the so-called poor structures at the Commission.
He said this in response to the Chairperson of the Commission, Jean Mensa’s claim that the Commission lacks a structured governance framework.
Ms. Mensa at a meeting with the President said she inherited the outfit in a weak state.
“We inherited a very weak institution. It is an institution that is not founded on rules, administrative policy. It does not have a governance framework and so we came to office and found out that we do not have a single policy to guide procurement, HR, administration.”
“Nothing exists so, in a nutshell, the Commission has existed as some sort of an election machine and over the years we have spent a lot of effort trying to plug the loopholes to the best of our knowledge and to the best of our ability so it runs as a free for all institution till date.”
“I would like to turn our attention to some of the work we have done in the area of our IT. It was the weakest link of our operations and we came to discover a 55-member department that could not run an election for two people.”
However responding to the EC Chairperson, Mr. Ankrah said systems at the EC had become the envy of the world.
“What is the primary duty and mandate of the Electoral Commission? As part of their mandate, their duty is to provide credible voters’ register and put in place systems and mechanisms for that to happen. As far as Ghanaians know, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, consistently, we have had successful elections. With both major parties, there has been a transition of power. As we go along, we have improved upon our systems. First we had opaque ballot boxes. It was changed to transparent. Secondly, we were using ID cards without photos, it was changed to photo ID cards.
“Thirdly, we had a situation where results were declared at collation centers, they introduced through IPAC a situation where results are declared at the various polling stations. Consistently there has been an improvement in the entire electoral process which is the primary mandate. You see that our system has become the envy of the world. People from all over Africa come to study our system. We keep improving upon it through IPAC,“ he said.
President Akufo-Addo on June 28, 2018, removed the then Chairperson of the Commission, Charlotte Osei and her two deputies – Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwa from office upon the recommendation of a committee set up by the Chief Justice, to investigate separate complaints brought by some Ghanaian citizens.
Charlotte Osei was accused of various procurement breaches, whilst the deputies were also found guilty of same offences as well as financial malfeasance.
Although government spokespersons had justified the move, some members of the opposition had challenged it, saying Madam Charlotte Osei, who was appointed by then-President John Mahama, was only hounded out to enable the NPP rig the election in 2020.
‘I don’t need EC’s help to win election’ – Akufo-Addo
But President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at a meeting with a delegation from the EC said he does not need the help of the Electoral Commission to win an election in the country.
“I said it to you before, and I will repeat it. I don’t need the Electoral Commission 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.