Jean Mensa – EC Boss
Last Saturday’s National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) presidential primary polls passed off peacefully but for a few isolated skirmishes not enough to dent the overall rating.
The Ghana Police Service (GPS) had read the Riot Act audibly and without ambiguity. The Electoral Commission (EC) having gone through two baptisms of fire under a new leadership – the referendum and the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election – was sufficiently primed for the task. It discharged the assignment so efficiently that at the end of it all, the NDC was elated by its performance. If the NDC sought for an opportunity to give the commission a bad name and hang it they did not have one.
Both the police and the EC deserve the plaudits of Ghanaians for living up to the expectation of their compatriots. The great lesson to be learnt from the polls is that when the law enforcement agency is not interfered with and they are allowed to discharge their duties without interference from political establishment and others, they would keep hoodlums at bay.
The polls coming against the backdrop of the security breach at the NDC Ashanti Regional Headquarters the police could not have allowed another affront to our public order: their insistence that only the right things would be allowed to originate from this.
It is now clear that when the maintenance of law and order is shared with the police by parallel groupings who take orders from their employers at the headquarters of political parties, the Kumasi NDC headquarters scenario is the outcome.
For us therefore the security arrangement as laid out by the police last Saturday having proven to be a success should be the template for the 2020 polls.
There were no motorbikes registered or unregistered at polling stations and it worked. Hoodlums use such means of transport most of the time they are undertaking criminal activities such as providing so-called security for ballot boxes of political parties during elections. When the police are allowed to perform their standard roles, we would have taken a great stride towards eradicating hooliganism veneered with party paraphernalia.
Now we know that with determination and adequate logistical support to the police, we can achieve a lot in the area of providing security during elections.
A post assessment of the application of the new measures for the polls should be undertaken by the police with a view to finding out ways of enhancing them for the 2020 elections.
No electoral violence must be allowed in our polls henceforth because elections as features of our democracy must be used to choose political leaders and not for murders and maiming of innocent persons.
Accept our congratulations, the GPS and the EC for the wonderful performance which led to the relative peace achieved.
When we all, Ghanaians, resolve that future electoral exercises would be bereft of bloodshed that noble goal would definitely be achieved. We did that last Saturday when the NDC went to the polls and we should do same in 2020 and subsequent electoral exercises.