Political scientist Professor Ransford Yaw Gyampo, who is also the Director of the Centre for European Studies at the University of Ghana, has admonished leadership of the Electoral Commission, Ghana (EC) to desist from public interactions which professional communicators should do.
“The chairperson and her deputies cannot be the mouthpiece and spokespersons of the Commission,” he stated in a piece dated Sunday, May 26, 2019.
This appears to come in the wake of a series of interview conducted by the Chair of the Commission, Jean Mensa, over the week as she paid courtesy calls on some media firms.
But some of her pronouncements have not enthused Prof Gyampo.
“Telling us the EC Chair cannot rig any election, is a no brainer,” he opens his writing.
“We know this for sure. Afari Gyan told us this long ago and anyone who understands our electoral processes well, know that not even a father can steal elections for his son, given the kind of scrutiny and vigilantism that characterizes the conduct of elections in Ghana.”
Prof Gyampo says even if leadership of the EC would want to speak “they must sound sober, toned down and less combative even in the face of partisan provocation”.
“Sounding aggressive and overly defensive would be injurious to the Commission’s expected image as a fair and neutral umpire.”
Find the unedited piece below:
Prof. Yaw Gyampo on EC
1. Telling us the EC Chair cannot rig any election, is a no brainer. We know this for sure. Afari Gyan told us this long ago and anyone who understands our electoral processes well, know that not even a father can steal elections for his son, given the kind of scrutiny and vigilantism that characterizes the conduct of elections in Ghana.
2. We all knew this when Charlotte Osei was appointed the EC Chair. Yet some people, either deliberately or ignorantly felt she could rig the elections and did all they could to perpetuate a fear that wasn’t well-founded, as well as suspicion in the activities of the Commission.
3. The unfounded fear and paranoia cannot be swept under the carpet simply because power is won only to be resuscitated after losing power. We aren’t all stupid and can read and expose the selfishness of politicians.
4. We cannot sing a particular tune to undermine the integrity of institutions only to change the tune when power is won. This tendency frustrates the quest to build legitimate and independent institutions.
5. Whereas some elements within the NDC now fears that the EC Chair could rig the 2020 elections, many people in the NPP are either not bothered about this fear or paranoia, and have a firm belief in the truism that, no EC Chair can rig any election.
6. The challenge however is that, the positions and perceptions of the two parties with respect to the EC, will change depending on how the 2020 elections go.
7. This tendency of shifting the political goal-post, if not deliberately dealt with, would continue to inflict the EC with the crisis of partial legitimacy deficit it has suffered for over two decades.
8. we expose partisan selfishness and advocate for sobriety in perceptions of the EC, the current crop of leadership of the EC must also play a role in dealing with the partial legitimacy deficit. The chairperson and her deputies cannot be the mouthpiece and spokespersons of the Commission.
9. This work must be done by trained communicators. Problems of the Commission can be explained in the public domain by those who are well trained and are currently being paid by the tax payer for that job description.
10. The headship of the Commission must work hard quietly behind the scenes, together with its stakeholders, in dealing with whatever challenges confronting our electoral processes.
11. The history of Ghana’s election administration suggests to me that, EC bosses work hard behind the scenes, and are sparingly heard explaining anything in the public domain themselves.
12. When Afari Gyan wasn’t talking, who spoke on behalf of the Commission? When Charllote wasn’t talking, who was speaking on behalf of the EC? Not all these communicators are on retirement.
13. I respect the decision to transfer and hire new communicators. But until new ones are recruited, the old ones must continue to work as communicators for the EC. This is a sure way to shield the headship of the Commission from derogatory attacks, negative perceptions, as well as maintain the aura, tremendous respect and enigma that shrouds the headship of the Commission.
14. Should it become extremely necessary for the headship of the Commission to be heard, they must sound sober, toned down and less combative even in the face of partisan provocation. Sounding aggressive and overly defensive would be injurious to the Commission’s expected image as a fair and neutral umpire.
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