A Political Science Lecturer with the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo has charged the Electoral Commission (EC) to wean itself from the defence by the governing New Patriotic Party to protect its integrity.
According to him, the independence and credibility of the EC will continue to suffer so long as officials of the governing party continue to actively serve as its mouthpiece and advance superior defense on its behalf as they appear to better understand the issues.
Prof Gyampo observed that the posture and inactivity of the electoral management, as though they enjoy the NPP’s justifications, may imply a subtle endorsement of the “bogus perception” that, ECs are always in bed with governing parties.
“Sitting passively to allow some top ruling party officials, to announce an EC plan ahead of time, is suicidal in the quest to protect institutional independence. Leaving the defense of positions taken to the ruling party, and coming out sparingly to speak to the issues, will always create the impression in the minds of the opposition that the business of the Commission, is being run by the ruling party. Even though this may not be so, the EC has fueled this perception by its near dormancy in getting experienced offensive, but conciliatory communicators to do its public relations job,” he said.
“The Commission must go for erudite people, who have command over the issues and have the kind of public affability, as well as the persona that isn’t repulsive to public acceptance. Directors of Election must focus on their mandate, and leave the communication to well-trained communicators, to soothe polarization, rather than worsening it,” he intimated.
Prof Gyampo further took a swipe at the governing party saying their mandate to rule does not include “partisan defense” of independent institutions.
For the opposition National Democratic Congress, he condemned them for merely opposing the EC and perceiving its moves with suspicion and called them out to rather focus on relevant issues such as vigilance and funding.
“To win the 2020 elections, the ruling party must focus on its mandate and govern not only to redeem its promises but to effectively communicate its achievements in a manner that resonates tangibly with the people. The EC has come of age and must be allowed to fight its own battles.”
“The opposition must be constructive in its criticisms and be vigilant in participating in all processes leading to the elections. The EC must not only tout its mandate and independence when there is disagreement. It must work hard to appear a neutral arbiter and strive hard to build consensus, even in the face of intransigence,” the Professor advanced.