Ghana’s opposition leader, Mr John Mahama, has said there is the urgent need for international election observers to come into the country as soon as possible, to monitor and police the country’s Electoral Commission’s activities in the lead-up to the 7 December 2020 polls, which, in the former President’s view, have been “chaotic”.
“As things are going, we are not comfortable with the process going to the election and we call on the international community to take an interest in what is happening in Ghana”, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said on Tuesday, 22 September 2020 while condemning the election management body for its handling of the ongoing voter register exhibition process.
“We want electoral observers to come long in advance; international election observers must be deployed long in advance to supervise the electoral process going into the election”, Mr Mahama said.
Mr Mahama said he was forced to abruptly end his tour of the Bono Region so he could return to the national capital, Accra, to help address the party’s concerns with electoral process.
“We will make a major statement on this matter in due course, very soon”, he said, adding: “But in the meantime, I’ll suspend the campaign in the Bono Region, there are several constituencies that were expecting us today and tomorrow and the day after. I wish to apologise to them. As soon as this matter is addressed in Accra, I’ll quickly come back and finish the tour of the Bono Region”.
Apart from observing that the electoral processes have been fraught with “so much disorder, anarchy and chaos”, Mr Mahama said the EC has exhibited “legendary incompetence”.
He told party supporters that since the EC started the voter register exhibition, “many have gone to check and in many places, there are anomalies, several anomalies that our party has detected”.
“In any exhibition of a register, there’ll be a few anomalies that are normally easy to correct but we also know that anytime we’ve done a registration of voters, we have done it in good time so that if there are anomalies, we can correct them,” he said.
“When this government and the Electoral Commission decided that they were going to do a new register, we warned them that the time left was so short that if you compiled a register and there were fatal flaws in the register, you will not have enough time to do the correction before the election”, the former President said.
“And let me say a voter register is the most important document in any election. If the voter register is not credible or is full of errors, it makes it difficult to have a free, fair and transparent election,” Mr Mahama noted.
According to him, “as it is, recently, we saw a video of voter registration cards being issued and the video went viral. It turned out that these were EC officers issuing voter cards. Today, the EC issued a statement and admitted that, yes, these cards were being issued at the EC’s offices because of some duplications they had found out. The political parties are the main stakeholders in any election. And, so, while the exhibition of the register is going on, we have our agents at all the polling stations supervising the registration.
“Now, if there was an issue in compiling the register, where the codes of the codes of the various equipment were found to be duplicates, and it was necessary to issue voter cards, why were the political parties not informed.
“And the point even is, if you issue these new voter cards at your district office, how will the people whose cards are affected, know so that they can come and give back the old cards and give out the new cards?” he wondered.
In Mr Mahama’s opinion, “there is so much wrong going on.”
“The incompetence of this Electoral Commission is legendary. We have held elections in this country, we have held voter registrations in this country, but we have never seen a situation where there is so much chaos and disorder in an electoral process.”
He warned: “It has the potential to create crises in our country and that is why at a point, when I spoke, I said that the Electoral Commission should be prepared to take the blame if this country descends into chaos and they dismissed me.”
“Today, we don’t know if we are going to have a credible register because we are not confident in the process that is going on. There is too much anarchy and disorder. We are not sure that we can have a credible register with which to have a free, fair and transparent election.”
“And, therefore, because of the seriousness of the reports I’m receiving from my elections directorate, I’ve decided to curtail my campaign in the Bono Region and go back to Accra to ascertain and verify the reports and to make the views of our party known to Ghana and the rest of the world,” he announced.