Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has urged the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa and her deputies to be firm and impartial in the execution of their Constitutional mandate.
He has also encouraged the Commissioners to use “best practices” in the organisation of elections in the country.
“Wherever there is power there is tension. It should be the referee to show firmness and impartiality,” the former President said.
Mr Kufuor was speaking on Thursday, July 4, 2019, when the Chairperson of the Commission and some of the deputies including Dr Bossman Eric Asare visited him at his Airport based residence in Accra.
The visit formed part of the EC’s ongoing engagements with key stakeholders and it was aimed at seeking the former President’s support and tapping into his wealth of experience to enhance Ghana’s democracy and election management.
Addressing the Commissioners after they announced the purpose of their visit, Mr. Kufuor urged the Commission to stand really firm in the face of pressure from political parties.
“When people are seeking power you will be surprised what they can come up to, stay in the middle, focus,” he said as he encouraged the Commissioners not to fall to the forces from the political parties to be biased.
” You are an agency of the nation; underpinned the integrity and stability of the nation, ” he stressed.
Speaking straight to the Chairperson who was seated right by his side, Mr Kufuor explained that “It should be for the Commission that your agents, your officers at the stations do their work without compromising.”
He said the Commission must in the interest of professionalism, love of the nation and ensure that the right thing is done.
According to him, “your agents must reflect your integrity right to the polling station area.”
He expressed confidence in the ability and integrity of Mrs Mensa whom he said creditably managed her policy think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), saying “your stint with IEA has been quite exemplary.”
Mrs Mensa briefed the former President on some of the activities the Commission has been involved with so far since they were appointed in August 2018.
She cited the organisation of the December 28, 2018 referendum on the creation of the six new regions, and the holding of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
Touching on major institutional changes the Commission has made so far since she took over, she revealed to Mr Kufuor how the EC has taken a decision not to refurbish its data centre at a whopping cost of $56 million.
Mr. Kufuor was happy to note that the Commission rejected to refurbish its data centre at the said cost.
He appealed to the Commission to be abreast with technology and put in place measures to fight against hacking of electoral data and results.
According to him, there was the need for constant training for staff of EC and the Commissioners themselves.
Also, he urged that the Public Relations Officers of the Commission should also continue to engage the communities in the interest of transparency.
Former Chief of Staff under the administration of Mr. Kufuor, Kwadwo Mpiani, who was at the meeting, admitted that the main problem makers of the EC were politicians, saying that the Commission was facing a difficult task.
He revealed that politicians were always anti-EC whenever they were in opposition and when they are in power, they become EC friendly.