FFormer President John Mahama has asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that the 2020 general elections are not rigged.
According to him, there were issues arising from the 2016 elections that needed to be addressed going into the 2020 polls.
He said it was imperative that those concerns were addressed to ensure that whoever wins in 2020, it would be treated as the free expression of the will of the people of Ghana.
Mr. Mahama made the call on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, when the officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) led by its Chairperson, Jean Mensa, paid a courtesy call on him at his East Cantonments-based Office in Accra.
The meeting was held under ‘tight’ security, with journalists’ being blocked from entering the meeting hall with their phones.
After the initial welcome remarks, the former President asked journalists to leave the meeting room for a heart-to-heart closed doors meeting with the EC officials.
The excuse of journalists from this meeting is a sharp departure from the two previous meetings with former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and Jerry John Rawlings where journalists sat in the meetings.
Mr. Mahama urged the EC to ensure confidence in the stakeholders regarding the provision of a level-playing field for all stakeholders.
In the presence of the media, he did not openly revive the issue of the 2016 polls being rigged but it is likely to be a key concern to be conveyed to the EC behind closed doors.
In May 2019, Mr. Mahama observed that the rigging process was facilitated through “the use of IT in results transmission and possibility of hacking.”
He made the allegations at the Oxford University said Business School Distinguished Speaker Seminar organised in collaboration with the African Studies Centre and the Oxford Africa Business Alliance.
Acknowledging that he had worked alongside the EC Chairperson in helping to shape Ghana’s democracy, Mr. Mahama encouraged Mrs. Mensa to continue work in the manner she did when she was with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
Mr. Mahama is the Presidential candidate for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 elections.
Mrs. Mensa told the former President that the purpose of their visit was to among other things, seek his support and partnership for the activities of the Commission.
She said it was also to bring the Commission to the doorstep of the opposition National Democratic Congress and to create a platform for dialogue.
Embattled National Chairman of NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, who in a leaked tape purportedly called for “ruthless war” against Mrs. Mensa, told the EC that contributions from stakeholders particularly political parties were not intended to undermine the Commission but to support its work.
He said it was hurtful to sometimes realised that a contribution from a political party aimed at improving the work of the Commission is considered as an act of undermining the EC.
For instance, he said the NDC’s suggestion to the EC not to rely solely on the online registration process was in good faith and was in order to make the Commission succeed “because if you succeed the whole country succeeds.”
He assured the Commission that the NDC as a party would “continue to play that pivotal role to ensure that our electoral process is enhanced.”
In attendance at the meeting were the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, former Chief Of Staff during the Mahama administration , Julius Debrah.
BY Melvin Tarlue