President Nana Akufo-Addo has, in a response to concerns expressed by former President John Mahama regarding the Electoral Commission’s posture as far as its decision to compile a new register of voters is concerned, said: “I want to assure him [Mahama] that there will be no strife, there will be no conflict after the December 7 general elections”, adding: “The good sense of the Ghanaian people, which has preserved the peace and stability of the 4th Republic for the last 27 years, will continue to prevail, and they will not permit any poor, desperate loser to plunge this country into chaos. Ghana is bigger than the ambitions of any of us”.
The President was speaking at the 20th-anniversary celebration of the founding of the Tertiary Students Confederation (TESCON), on Tuesday, 18 February 2020, in Ho, in the Volta Region, in response to assertions made by former President John Mahama to the effect that there will strife, conflict and chaos in the aftermath of the December 7 elections.
Addressing his audience at the Ho Technical University auditorium, the President stated: “I think that it is important for the credibility of our national public discourse that public persons are seen to be consistent in their views and advocacy.”
He continued: “It cannot be right that when you are President, you say one thing, and, when you become leader of the opposition, you say another.”
President Akufo-Addo recounted how, when in opposition, and when agitations about the credibility of the current electoral register took place, “some amongst us went on lawful, peaceful demonstrations, and some also went to court to ventilate their grievance and seek redress, in other words, we took the lawful routes, the constitutionally sanctioned routes.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, at the time, the President of the Republic, Mr John Dramani Mahama, met the agitation over the register with the following words: “Some parties have made it a penchant to continuously attack the Electoral Commission for reasons I cannot understand. This is the time we need to give the Electoral Commission peace to do its work. Every little thing, they are at the Electoral Commission attacking the Commission… our electoral process has inherent safeguards in it that any serious political party can ensure that it polices that election, and makes sure of the integrity of the election. I believe that our Electoral Commission continues to be one of the most experienced and the best not only in Africa but in the world, and has delivered very successful elections in the past, and, if we give it the encouragement and support that they deserve, they should be able to deliver us a successful election.”
Fast-forward to 5 years later, former President Mahama, in the words of President Akufo-Addo, “has made a complete volte-face”, when he told fisherfolk recently that: “If the Electoral Commission will not listen to us, and proceed to compile a new biometric register, then they will be held responsible for whatever happens. If strife and conflict occur, the EC should own up and accept responsibility for it.”
The President, thus, had the following words for the former President.
“Firstly, the exclusive constitutional responsibility of the Electoral Commission for compiling an electoral register has not changed. It has done so on three occasions since the inauguration of the 4th Republic. None of the registers compiled by the Electoral Commission – 1995, 2004, 2012 – the last two in election years, on one occasion when the NPP was in office, the other when the NDC was in office – led to any disturbance or upheaval in the country, despite whatever reservations any of the political parties of the time had over any of those registers. The people of Ghana registered in peace and tranquility, and voted accordingly,” he said.