Former President John Mahama (L) and EC Chair Jean Mensa (R)
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Mrs Jean Mensa, has said she wished former President John Mahama himself had filed his presidential nomination forms rather than delegating that responsibility to the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who did so on the opposition flagbearer’s behalf on Wednesday, 7 December 2020.
“As a Commission, we wished that former President John Mahama and/or his Vice-Presidential candidate, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, would have been here personally to present their nomination forms, as it would have allowed us an opportunity to engage, particularly with the former President, on some of his concerns we have noted in the media,” Mrs Mensa said when Mr Asiedu Nketia showed up at the election management body’s headquarters to file Mr Mahama’s papers.
About three weeks ago, Mr Mahama said the EC’s voter roll exhibition exercise that was taking place at the time, was been fraught with “so much disorder, anarchy and chaos”, adding that the EC has exhibited “legendary incompetence” with the entire electoral process ahead of the 7 December 2020.
The flagbearer of the biggest opposition party told party supporters in the Bono Region on Tuesday, 22 September 2020 that since the EC started the voter register exhibition, “many have gone to check and in many places, there are anomalies, several anomalies that our party has detected”.
“In any exhibition of a register, there’ll be a few anomalies that are normally easy to correct but we also know that anytime we’ve done a registration of voters, we have done it in good time so that if there are anomalies, we can correct them”, he said.
“When this government and the Electoral Commission decided that they were going to do a new register, we warned them that the time left was so short that if you compiled a register and there were fatal flaws in the register, you will not have enough time to do the correction before the election”, the former President observed.
“And let me say a voter register is the most important document in any election. If the voter register is not credible or is full of errors, it makes it difficult to have a free, fair and transparent election”, Mr Mahama noted.
According to him, “as it is, recently, we saw a video of voter registration cards being issued and the video went viral. It turned out that these were EC officers issuing voter cards. Today, the EC issued a statement and admitted that, yes, these cards were being issued at the EC’s offices because of some duplications they had found out. The political parties are the main stakeholders in any election. And, so, while the exhibition of the register is going on, we have our agents at all the polling stations supervising the registration.
“Now, if there was an issue in compiling the register, where the codes of the codes of the various equipment were found to be duplicates, and it was necessary to issue voter cards, why were the political parties not informed.
“And the point even is, if you issue these new voter cards at your district office, how will the people whose cards are affected, know so that they can come and give back the old cards and give out the new cards?” he wondered.
In Mr Mahama’s opinion, “there is so much wrong going on”.
“The incompetence of this Electoral Commission is legendary. We have held elections in this country, we have held voter registrations in this country, but we have never seen a situation where there is so much chaos and disorder in an electoral process”.
He warned: “It has the potential to create crises in our country and that is why at a point, when I spoke, I said that the Electoral Commission should be prepared to take the blame if this country descends into chaos and they dismissed me”.
“Today, we don’t know if we are going to have a credible register because we are not confident in the process that is going on. There is too much anarchy and disorder. We are not sure that we can have a credible register with which to have a free, fair and transparent election”.
“And, therefore, because of the seriousness of the reports I’m receiving from my elections directorate, I’ve decided to curtail my campaign in the Bono Region and go back to Accra to ascertain and verify the reports and to make the views of our party known to Ghana and the rest of the world”, he announced.
Mr Mahama said it was important for the international community to keep its eyes on Ghana’s electoral process so as to ensure the process is clean.
“As things are going, we are not comfortable with the process going to the election and we call on the international community to take an interest in what is happening in Ghana”.
“We want electoral observers to come long in advance; international election observers must be deployed long in advance to supervise the electoral process going into the election. We will make a major statement on this matter in due course, very soon”, he said.