The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, says the survival of the state as a democracy depends on its ability to conduct free and fair elections.
According to him, the country’s ability to conduct such elections peacefully and in the process ensure smooth transfer of power had given the Fourth Republic the universal respect within the international community.
“Responsibility for this credit belongs to the Electoral Commission. And yet somehow the commission has never had a free rein. That its operations have always been shrouded in controversy in my view reflects the sheer intensity of the political contests over which the commission is called upon to preside,” he stated.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said this last Friday when he presented a paper titled: “Leadership: Strengthening Democratic Institutions for National Development” at the third annual lecture of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
The programme, which was attended by a number of dignitaries including former President J.A. Kufuor, was also used to launch the 55th anniversary celebration of the UPSA.
The dignitaries included chiefs, queen mothers, Members of Parliament, Ministers of State and members of the diplomatic corps.
For the first time, he said the commission had suffered the abrupt termination of its membership as a consequence of some perceived wrong-doing, adding that a new commission had been constituted but not all the political parties had as yet embraced them.
“I can only hope that a prolonged conflict may be avoided. We may find a lot to disagree within our hearts but reality obliges us to appreciate that continued mistrust can only be harmful to the future of this crucial institution,” he said.
“We will urge all concerned to smoke the peace pipe so the commission can reset the button and begin preparations for the conduct of our next elections with total commitment to fairness and justice,” Otumfuo Osei Tutu entreated.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he could not comprehend that persons appointed to the commission would come with the intent of compromising the integrity of the commission and working in favour of one party.
He, therefore, reminded the appointees of the commission that they were under no obligation to favour the appointing authority, stressing that “it is our conviction that the new chair and members of the commission will endeavour to carry out their duties with impartially and without fear or favour.”
The Vice-Chancellor of the UPSA, Prof. Abednego Okoe Feehi Amartey, praised Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for his tremendous role in national development.
He said Otumfuo’s matchless visionary leadership abilities were evident in the many initiatives he had undertaken.