Last Saturday, the timely intervention of the police averted what could have generated into an unpleasant scene at the Airport branch of the City Escape Hotel, where some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had assembled to disrupt a meeting of the Electoral Commission (EC).
Although the commission says it was a normal meeting with its directors, the NDC thought otherwise, since there had been an earlier injunction on the commission from holding a workshop to train its officers at the Prampram branch of the same hotel.
We are aware of the suspicions that often characterise activities of the EC in every election year, mostly, from the opposition political parties.
But as the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the least the Daily Graphic expects is the worsening of the already tense situation and anxiety created by COVID-19.
It is in this vein that all stakeholders, including political parties and the EC must open up the more to each other in their dealings to avoid suspicions, mistrust and the creation of unnecessary anxiety and the heating up of the political temperature.
Just as other public and private institutions are working within the limits of the ban on public gathering and social distancing, we think that the EC cannot fold its arms, but must also be encouraged to strategise to work within those limits as it plans or works towards Election 2020.
Most institutions working within the CORVID-19 era, such as the Graphic Communications Group Limited, have in-house policies that limit group meetings; while some staff are made to take their annual leave to ensure that social distancing is observed at the workplace.
Equally, the EC must be allowed to do its work within this frame. After all, if it fails to deliver a successful election in December, all stakeholders, including members of the public and political parties, will blame it for failing to deliver on its constitutional mandate.
The EC must, however, like the public institutions of repute that most Ghanaians look up to, particularly when it comes to elections, work within the limits imposed by the executive instrument.
The Daily Graphic believes that it would not be beyond the means, capacity and expertise of the EC to employ technology to hold meetings as it plans and strategises for the year.
Planning and working, the EC must! However, it must endeavour to do so within the limits presented by the pandemic we are all faced with.
Certainly, we could have had something similar or a revisit of the Ayawaso West violence, if the police had not intervened at the City Escape Hotel last Saturday.
We do not begrudge the EC for not informing its stakeholders, because this was said to be a normal meeting which did not warrant public announcement. However, with the issue of the voters registration still hanging due to COVID-19 and other legal challenges, any move by the EC would certainly be viewed with suspicion.
The EC must, therefore, engage its stakeholders more vigorously on its electoral programme to gain consensus or the buy-in of the other parties. Certainly, not all the stakeholders may agree with the commission on its directions and plans.
However, as electoral managers, we believe every action taken by the commission must inure to the greater good.
The Daily Graphic, therefore, encourages all the parties to jaw-jaw more instead of the antagonistic approaches that will poison the political atmosphere, even before we get to the peak of electioneering.
The Daily Graphic is also of the view that if the NDC felt that the EC was in breach of the law or in contempt of the Court, it could have resorted to the law courts, instead of mobilising its supporters to the venue of the meeting.
We do not think that mobilising members of the public to disrupt a meeting of a constitutional body was the way to go.
Already, Ghanaians are anxious about COVID-19, it is therefore essential that we do not aggravate the situation.
Source: Daily Graphic
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