A MESSAGE OF GOODWILL TO MADAM JEAN MENSAH AND HER ENTIRE CREW AT THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION – BABA JAMAL Esq.
Permit me to wish you and all your workers a belated Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. I genuinely wish and pray that we shall meet next year in peace but not in pieces. I know you have the same wish and prayer. But you agree with me that our prayers can only be guaranteed based on our right actions and inactions.
Madam, since you started the IEA and working with the political parties, you have gathered so much experience that I genuinely believe that what is happening on the political front today expecially with the electoral reforms you are adamantly trying to intrduce are not normal and are not things you would have condoned as the head of IEA.
Well, as a political actor myself, a stakeholder and somebody who have worked with you close to two decades in the IEA system, I humbly wish to remind you that there have been many compilation of voters register in this country and in all circumstances it is the opposition parties who force for and campaign for electoral reforms much to the subtle resistance of the parties in power.
Since 1992 when we used pieces of paper as registration cards with only names in the register to 1996 where black and white pictures were introduced with cards through to 2000 when colour pictures were introduced, our electoral system and for that matter our democracy has been improving steadily and peacefully.
In all these reforms the NPP in opposition were very instrumental and voceferous in campaigning for these reforms. I personally know how you Madam Jean Mensah supported these reforms and urged the then chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Afari Gyan to collaborate with the political parties and consult regularly with them.
When NPP took over power in 2000, I remember clearly how we criticized the EC for taking us back to black and white picture register and cards in the 2004 general elections. I was personally part of the struggle in NDC to revert to color register and pictures and to make further reforms.
In 2008 when NPP went to opposition, they were the vanguards for a new register and this time a fully biometric register. I remember the pivotal role your IEA and other civil society groups like CDD, Danquah Institute, Imani Ghana,etc played to get the then government of the NDC to go in for this current register even though very expensive.
What were some of the cogent arguments advanced for this current biometric register?
- Very reliable and will reduce fraud especially impersonation.
- Can be used for a long time if not forever. All what the EC had to do is to update it from time to time.
- Will allow continues registration at all times.
- Can easily be accessible to all especially the political parties and;
- Very transparent and dependable
Madam I believe these features of the current register has not vanished overnight and that the register still posseses these qualities that can continue to serve our electoral needs for 2020 general elections and beyond.
Whether the NDC or the NPP in opposition, the opposition parties are more aggressive in calling for electoral reforms and it has always been the case that the EC largely carries along the political parties in the process of reforming the system. The IPAC which is made up of all registered politial parties since it inauguration in March 1994 has been a major advisor to the EC. The EC generally builds consensus with the parties through the IPAC and this has been the secret behind the success of our democracy and largely the peaceful nature of our elections over the years.
Honestly Madam, I was not in support of your appointment to the chair of EC especially so under the circumstances Madam Charlotte Osei was removed and you were appointed, but one thing I was sure and consoled myself with was that with your background and experience, at least you will do a good job but honestly you are beginning to disappoint me
Madam Jean Mensah, is it not surprisingly to you that for the first time in the history of the 4th republic, opposition parties are up in arms against the compilation of a new register? Have you stopped to ask whether it makes sense to spend over 400 million Ghana cedis to compile a new register when we need less than 50 million according to your own documents to update and improve the current one which by and large is still effective and will serve the same purpose? Are you sure you will succeed as EC boss and achieve your aims as a chair of EC when you adopt a difficult and arrogant posture towards the opposition parties?
Madam where are all your principles and erudite presentations on electoral reforms when you headed the IEA?
As a Ghanaian and a political actor as well as a citizen who want to see this country in one piece but not in pieces after the 2020 elections, I thought it wise to draw your attention to these issues.
As you are aware, we have worked together on many projects within the IEA and I seriously think that you can do better than what you are doing now. I believe if you will resume your old self and stick to your long time credentials as a lover of progress and peace and treat the political parties with respect and dignity, you will be able to do what is right and shepperd this election 2020 to a succeful and peaceful end.
Please Madam listen to good advice, work with the political parties as you used to advice, remain calm and remember that the entire process depend on you and your lefteunants.
Finally I believe you will love to leave the scene with your good name and integrity intact. I will continue to urge you to listen to good advice because coming events cast their shadows.
Once again a belated Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Wishing you all the good things you wish for yourself.