President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has encouraged the Electoral Commission (EC) not to allow itself to be cowed into submission.
According to the President, political actors would definitely be on the neck of the Commission with one demand or the other, as well as attempt to pooh pooh its decisions.
However, he says these should not scare the independent referee. “Remember now more than ever, that every decision you take will be scrutinised to the letter. That, however, should not scare you and indeed, let no one try to cow you into submission,” he said.
The President gave the encouragement on Monday, March 20, 2023 at Jubilee House, where he swore into office three persons to fill vacant positions at the Commission.
President Akufo-Addo’s words of encouragement to the EC come at a time when the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is bent on blocking the EC’s proposed Constitutional Instrument (CI) to make the Ghana Card the sole document for proof of nationality to register as a voter.
As such, the party’s hierarchy has issued a stern warning to all its 136 parliamentarians never to miss a sitting till the last day of this month. As an incentive, the party has also suspended campaigns in all the constituencies ahead of their primaries.
Addressing the EC on Monday, the President said it is the quality of its work that would reassure the Ghana people that the democratic system of government they chose would be properly nurtured.
The assurance, he emphasised, would be embedded in an electoral system that allows their voices to be plainly and loudly heard.
Having intimated to the Commission that Ghanaians would not spare them any chance, he added that on the contrary, the EC should let the expectation of the citizens spur them on to great heights.
He reiterated to the EC that the counting, transmission, collation and declaration of election results should not be more important than the civic right of citizens to cast their votes.
President Akufo-Addo after administering the three key oaths (of Office, Allegiance and Secrecy) to the three new electoral commissioners, told them they may find no honeymoon period.
He reminded them that they have come to office some 21 months to the 2024 general election and at a time when Ghana seeks to entrench her credentials as a beacon of democracy in Africa.
“As you begin work, you will find no honeymoon period, neither will you be afforded the chance to settle in to your new responsibilities. I have, nevertheless, confidence in you and in your abilities to surmount the hurdles before you,” he remarked.
The three new members appointed to the EC are; Salima Ahmed Tijani, Rev Akua Ofori Boateng and Dr Peter Appiahene.
Their appointment is in line with Article 43 (1 and 2) of the 1992 constitution which states that, “there shall be an Electoral Commission which shall consist of a chairman, two deputy chairmen, and four other members. The members of the commission shall be appointed by the President under Article 70 of this constitution.”
They replace Mrs. Hajia Sa-Adatu Maida, Mr Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn and Mrs. Rebecca Kabukie Adjalo who have all retired.
They have, therefore, joined Mrs. Jean Mensa as Chairperson, Mr. Samuel Tettey as Deputy Chairman for Operations, Dr. Bossman Eric Asare, Deputy Chairman for Corporate and Ms. Adwoa Asuama Abrefa as Commissioner
Dr Appiahene, in his response on behalf of the three new electoral commissioners expressed their gratitude to the president for their appointment and to the Council of State for supporting their nomination.
“We are greatly humbled, honoured, motivated and we finally see this appointment as a sense of duty,” Dr Appiahene said.
“We also accept this appointment in the symbolism of a fresh journey ahead of us, a journey to meet the high expectation of the various stakeholders, especially the over 31 million Ghanaians.
“We are aware of the massive responsibilities and tasks that come with it. We want to state that we are poised, prepared to deliver and to contribute to the development of our democracy, especially in this digital era,” he added.