Johnson Asiedu Nketia
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has moved its campaign against the Electoral Commission (EC) to another level with a call on journalists to criticize the electoral body or die in the event of a war.
Speaking during an event of Tertiary Education Institutions Network (TEIN) at the Koforidua Technical University last Friday, the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said journalists would be the first to die should ‘dangerous happenings at the EC lead to war’.
He’s of the view that the EC is preparing to rig the election in 2020 and once that is done, there is going to be war and therefore journalists should start criticizing the commission or they would be first casualties when the war finally comes.
The General Secretary’s observation is consistent with his previous remarks about the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa.
He said the attitude of Ms Mensa to the NDC in recent times is anything but good.
EC Chairperson’s attitude towards the NDC is borne out of the party’s opposition to her appointment when it was announced, he said earlier.
TEIN is an NDC students’ grouping and the theme for the engagement, which coincided with the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day, was: “The Current State Of Ghana.”
Openly querying the media, he charged journalists to be vigilant and direct their attention to the actions of the EC which, in his estimation, could plunge the country into war as Ghana prepares for the 2020 general elections.
“When you take a look across Africa, you can count the number of countries that have gone to war because of rough elections or dispute after elections. You have Cote d’Ivoire; you have Togo, Congo; name them – everywhere. If you are there and you see the Electoral Commission doing the wrong things and you say that I am a media man I don’t care about electoral commission and I don’t participate in IPAC, I weep for you because when elections are compromised and there is conflict in the country, do you know the people who die first? – the media people,” he declared.
“This is because whilst everybody is running away for their dear lives, it is your duty to capture pictures of people running away. When guns are being shot, it is your duty to go and see from which angle the guns are being fired and who is winning the war…and you are not immune to bullets,” he said.
“So please when issues about preparation to rig elections come out, you must take the lead to ensure that the electoral system is clean and authentic and that it can deliver the actual will of the people as expressed during voting day,” he added.
The NDC has widened the scope of its ‘watch list’ to include the Deputy Chairperson Dr. Bossman Asare alongside other commissioners whose ‘posture,’ the party scribe said “must be a concern to all Ghanaians”.
“I have never heard in any country where the chairperson of the Electoral Commission will talk to political parties and tell them that we don’t owe you explanation about anything we do in this place. And yet we are sitting there as if we don’t care. A large section of the media thinks they don’t care and so they are interested in suppressing news about that,” he stated.
“You are suppressing the canker that will come and hunt you in future. This is the time every Ghanaian must rise and say that if we don’t have proper election arbiters we are in for trouble and that this country is not for one person. And say this state of impunity must stop and the time to stop is now,” he pointed out.
The NDC General Secretary also took issues with the presence of representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and civil society organizations at Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings, describing the development as strange.
One of the worrying segments of the leaked NDC National Chairman Ofosu-Ampofo’s audio recording had to do with his expression of dislike for the EC Chairperson Mrs. Mensa, and how he intends to be consistent in his campaign against her through the NDC.
Observers have described the NDC’s campaign against the EC as sheer bunkum.
The National Chairman was captured on the tape saying “we’re going to take her (EC boss) to the cleaners.”
“As for the EC chair, we must wage a relentless war on this EC chair. Me, she doesn’t want to see my face,” Ofosu-Ampofo allegedly said at the meeting with party communicators, which took place after the Ayawaso by-election.
Charlotte Osei’s Angle
The opposition has not been supportive of the appointment of Jean Mensa following the ouster of Charlotte Osei whose dismissal was in furtherance of a judicial process and conformity to constitutionally laid-down process.
During Charlotte Osei’s tenure, many Ghanaians expressed concern about her outright arrogance and abuse of the constitution-entrenched independence of the EC.
She changed the logo of the EC unilaterally, an action which triggered outrage.
Her response was as offensive as the action when she retorted: “We saw it! We loved it! We like it!”
Asked how she was going to fund the changed logo, she said that was the headache of the Finance Minister, adding that the logo was changed to indicate total independence from government which many questioned.
Two of Charlotte Osei’s deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, were also removed following recommendation by the same committee empanelled by the Chief Justice to probe them.
The three EC gurus were removed on grounds of stated misbehaviour and incompetence.
Since the removal from office of Charlotte Osei, the NDC has been consistent with its narrative and agenda geared towards presenting the EC, as currently constituted, in bad light.
Dr. Bossman, in his reaction to the barrage of the NDC accusations against the EC, accused the opposition party of acting in a manner which is not in the interest of the country.
By A.R. Gomda