We can't leave Charlotte Osei and her EC alone, Mr. President!

Sat, 9 Jul 2016 Source: Statesman Opinion

The Charlotte Osei-led Electoral Commission has given discerning Ghanaians more than enough grounds to wonder about its preparedness to ensure that the nation gets peaceful, credible elections whose outcome will be readily accepted by all stakeholders.

The conduct of the commission appears to support the suspicions by many that it wants to direct the outcome of the election towards a specific direction.

Indeed, the New Patriotic Party and other groups have accused the EC of pursuing a grand agenda to steal the upcoming general elections for President John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress.

There are even suspicions that the Chairperson of the commission, Charlotte Osei, was appointed to that sensitive position to specifically sponsor that agenda.

One would have thought with that unfortunate state of affairs, and coming into office at the time the integrity of the commission had been badly bruised, in view of the bizarre exposures from the 2012 elections, Mrs Osei would direct the affairs of the EC in a manner that will kill all the doubts about the neutrality of the commission.

But that has not been the case, as her conduct continues to confirm the fears that she is in cahoots with President Mahama and the NDC.

The situation is made worse when the president always comes public to defend and justify actions and decisions of the EC, and condemn what others think should be done to put the commission on its toes to do what is right, to guarantee peaceful and credible elections in November.

President Mahama does not understand why Ghanaians should subject the activities of the EC to critical scrutiny, and so wants the commission to be left alone to carry out its mandate.

We want the president to tell the nation if the job of the EC has been hijacked by an individual or group. What is happening in the country in relation to the commission is simply a case of a 'stubborn' elections management body being made to respect the laws of the country in the discharge of it its mandate. That certainly cannot be interference in the work of the EC. So, what is the president talking about?

As the president of the nation, we would have expected Mr Mahama to rather advise Charlotte Osei and her EC to conduct their activities in a manner that will kill any doubt about their neutrality and readiness to conduct a credible election.

At the heart of every peaceful, successful election is a credible voters' register which is acceptable to all political parties. Here we are with a commission that has been moving heaven and earth to protect certain undesirable elements in the voters' register for reasons that are only best known to it and, perhaps, President Mahama and the NDC.

The legal battle over the issue of voters who registered with the use of National Health Insurance Cards has badly exposed the EC as an entity that cannot be trusted. A commission that tells plaintiffs in a discussion facilitated by the Supreme Court that it cannot identify names of NHIS registrants, and later claims in court that it can do so, cannot be left on its own. Clearly, the EC cannot be trusted.

The 2016 election is very crucial for Ghanaians. President Mahama and his government have failed terribly in the administration of the country, and Ghanaians are determined to kick them out of power. The change momentum is on, and the EC cannot be allowed in any way to deny Ghanaians the change they yearn for.

The EC therefore cannot be left alone to do what will not be in the interest of the broad masses of Ghanaians, as President Mahama wants us to do.

Columnist: Statesman Opinion