A ghanaweb report is quoting former President John Dramani Mahama and flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as saying that he anticipates chaos in the December 7, presidential and parliamentary elections due to what he considers to be the intransigence stance of the Electoral Commission (EC).
“I can anticipate some chaos on the election day. People will not find their names here and there. I have been an MP before and I know how these happen. I have also warned about the BVRs and how they will perform, we do not know.”
“Elections are about consensus, we build a consensus and we move on. That is why the IPAC is very important. Now, the IPAC is like an enemy to the EC. The EC has gone to resurrect a lot of dead bodies and added them to IPAC so that they can be the majority and bulldoze their way through. On the day of the election, if the thing backfires, it will fall on you,” the popular website quoted Mr Mahama as saying.
“Those three commissioners have a mind of their own. They are doing things how they want. I hear that a lot of people who are very capable and are technically competent, because they served under Charlotte Osei administration, have been transferred out to the districts. This is why I have doubted the competence of this commission. I have no confidence in the EC,” he added.
Since the constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, nobody can gag the former president from expressing his opinion on national issues such as presidential and parliamentary elections, especially when he is a candidate. But, in so doing however, Mr Mahama must be temperate with his language, because, as a former president, whatever he says carries weight.
At the end of the 2016 elections, candidate Mahama polled 4,771,188 as against 5,755,758. This means that over four million Ghanaians voted for him, and if this large number of voters is to listen to his cry and, indeed, resort violence, this country would become ungovernable. This is the reason why we, at The Chronicle, think Mr Mahama must always ponder over his words before using them.
Yes, Mr Mahama is canvassing for votes to lead this country again, but if his utterances lead to violence in the December elections, resulting in the maiming or death of his supporters, who would be there next time round to vote for him? The National Peace Council, National House of Chiefs, Asantehene, the clergy and the National Chief Imam are all high profile bodies that Mr Mahama can report to if he feels the EC is going off track.
We insist that Mr Mahama’s persistent claim that they could be violence in December is sending wrong signals to his supporters, who could react in a violent way if they are fed with any unsubstantiated claims that the election is being rigged in favour of the ruling party. Because of election violence, many innocent souls were lost in our western neighbour, Ivory Coast, a few years ago. Though peace has been restored, the French-speaking country is yet to fully recover from that violence.
Is this a good practice that we in Ghana also want to follow? If Mr Mahama will agree that the answer is a big no, then he must be careful not to incite the supporters or prepare their minds for violence, because it would not serve the collective interest of the country. Despite all our challenges, Ghana remains one of the most peaceful and economic power houses in African. This is an enviable record that must be jealously guarded, instead of destroying it.
It is also the hope of The Chronicle that the issue the opposition is complaining about would be adequately addressed by the EC, so that the elections would be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. The electoral body should not give the leg for any of the political parties to stand on and cause confusion in the country.
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