President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) not to be scared and cowed into submission when its decisions come under scrutiny.
On the contrary, he said, it should let the analysis of its decisions and the expectations of Ghanaians spur it onto greater heights and, above all, work, so that the will of the people would be upheld.
Referring to Article 46 of the Constitution, he said in the performance of its functions, “the EC would not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority; it answers only to the Ghanaian people, the Constitution of the Republic and its own conscience”.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when he swore into office three new members of the EC at a ceremony at the Jubilee House in Accra last Monday.
The three are Salima Ahmed Tijani, Dr Peter Appiahene and Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng.
He administered the oaths of secrecy and office and the official oath to the three and presented each with the instrument of office.
The three took turns to sign the oath book, after which the President also signed it.
President Akufo-Addo said more than ever, every single decision the EC took would be scrutinised to the letter.
“That, however, should not scare you; indeed, let no one try to cow you into submission,” he said, adding that the expectation was that the commission would keep to its constitutional mandate.
He said it was the quality of the members of the commission that would reassure Ghanaians that the democratic system of government they had chosen would be properly nurtured by an electoral system that allowed their voices to be plainly and loudly heard.
The President, who had spent most of his adult life fighting for the establishment of democracy and human rights in the country, touched on how he had always fought for and advocated a credible electoral process in the country.
He pointed out that the counting, collation and declaration of election results could and should not be more important than the sacred God-given right of the citizenry casting their ballot.
“I have said it before, and I will repeat it: elections are about those who cast the vote, not those who count, not those who supervise, not those who transmit and not those who declare.
The heart of the democratic process is giving effect to the choices made by those who cast the vote,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the three new members of the EC had excelled in their areas of work and possessed the requisite experience to deliver and meet the considerable expectations of Ghanaians.
He expressed confidence in their abilities to bring integrity, professionalism, independence and fairness of mind to the discharge of their duties.
He said they were being sworn in 21 months to elections and so they would find no honeymoon period nor be afforded the chance to settle into their new responsibilities.
He said, however, that he was confident in their abilities to surmount the hurdles before them.
Speaking on behalf of the three, Dr Appiahene thanked the President for the confidence reposed in them.
He gave an assurance that they would work in consonance with the dictates of the Constitution and in the supreme interest of Ghanaians.
Dr Appiahene, is an Assistant Professor with over 10 years working experience in the Computer Science Industry and Academic Institutions both Domestic and International.
He is currently the Head of Department of Science and Informatics of the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani.
Rev. Ofori-Boateng is the Director of Programmes for the Anglican Diocese of Accra, a member of the United States Trade Advisory Committee on Africa, who served on the 2020 Eminent Advisory Committee of the EC.
Ms Tijani is a banker who works with a state-owned development bank.
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