The Director for Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), Ghana, Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) and political parties to strive for peaceful resolution of electoral issues.
‘‘Whatever the misunderstanding, they should try and resolve it so that nobody will come and accuse personalities. Attacking one another will not solve problems, rather, it will bring division among themselves,” he stated.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview on the recent contentions between the EC and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the handling of the limited voter registration exercise, Dr Asante said both the EC and the political parties should always remember that they were there to pursue the interest of Ghanaians.
The NDC’s General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, in his recent utterances on IPAC meetings had blamed the EC for not listening to the concerns of stakeholders.
According to Dr Asante, when issues that had to be addressed were left hanging, there would be the tendency of the aggrieved party losing confidence in the electoral processes.
‘‘We need to build trust or rebuild the trust that has been entrusted to us as Ghanaians to ensure that there is a fair and credible election,’’ he remarked.
Dr Asante said one significant thing Ghana was celebrated for was for its democracy, not just in Africa but the world as a whole.
Ghana over the years, he said, had managed through transition from one political party to the other without problems.
Dr Asante was of the view that as elections were a spectrum to the country’s political stability and prospect for the well-being of many Ghanaians, having a peaceful and credible election as a nation would provide a platform for development.
He said ‘‘we are fortunate as Ghanaians that over the years with Dr Afari Gyan as the EC Chair, a very strong foundation was laid. So anybody entrusted with that responsibility has a grave responsibility to discharge duties well.’’
He said political parties had a very important role to play in the governance system regarding how they made decisions and discharged their duties.
The parties, he said, should collaborate with the EC for a constructive democratic environment, adding that ‘‘even when there is disagreement, the majority decision should carry the day because a peaceful atmosphere is what matters.’’
Reacting to the issue on the upcoming limited registration exercise by the EC, Dr Asante said the various stakeholders should find out what exactly the problem was, the strategies being used and compare it to the past exercises to verify whether there had been any changes that could affect the electoral management processes.
He said when the problems were identified, there would be solutions to them and once that was done, the tension would be reduced and the issue of disenfranchising some people would not come up.
Dr Pumpuni Asante also called on the EC to put in place some mechanisms that would allow for continuous dialogue with the various political parties to help solve the issue of mistrust that had been brewing on the political front.
He said creating such mechanisms would help both parties to deal with their differences, disagreements, the side-track, and also minimise the opportunity for contestation that would arise because of the disbelief at play.
Dr Asante said if the EC engaged the various stakeholders in a participatory approach, whereby opinions and constructive criticism were fairly dealt with, no political party would raise accusing fingers at the EC.