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Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has advised the Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa, and her staff, not to succumb to pressure from political parties.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has advised the Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa, and her staff, not to succumb to pressure from political parties.

He asked them to remain firm, transparent and professional, and to take decisive decisions which would ensure peace in all its electoral activities.

The former President said this when Jean Mensa, the chairperson of the EC, led a team of its commissioners to pay a courtesy call on him in Accra last week.

EC’s integrity

Former President Kufuor also said he was confident in the EC and was hopeful that it will deliver when it matters.

“Within your short stay in office, I am impressed with your work. I feel comfortable, especially with the approach of reaching out to engage with stakeholders. I have been following the EC from afar and I know the affairs of the Commission are being steered evenly,” he said.

“I am not too surprised because I know of your integrity, professionalism and exemplary work that contributed to the growth of the Institute of Economic Affairs when you led that body,” the former President added.

Drive to change

With regard to the transformation agenda being embarked on by the EC, Mr Kufuor praised the Commission’s drive to change the way it operates and urged the Commission to equip its staff with the requisite training to ensure smooth electoral processes, because the EC is the pivot around which political system revolves.

“Wherever there is power there is tension, because everyone wants to be on top to manage the power, but it is the duty of the referee to ensure fairness and impartiality,” he said.

“Your agents at the local level must reflect the integrity with which you are working. They must do their work without compromising,” he said.

Mr Kufuor cautioned the EC that it would not be loved by the political parties because of its work, but the constitution enjoins the Commission to be a good referee and ensure that the right thing is done in the interest of the state, as the stability of the nation depends on the ECs work.

“I believe 2020 will be crucial to Ghana and many countries look up to Ghana, so we need to prepare very well for events before, during and after. Use the best practices to conduct the elections and be firm,” he said.

EC’s work

Kwadwo Mpiani, the former Chief of Staff, who received the EC delegation, said the Commission had not opened up to stakeholders over the years, which has led to political parties in opposition constantly conflicting with the Commission.

“We politicians are part of the problem of the EC. I have had the opportunity to engage with the EC and I think politicians make the work of the EC very difficult,” he said.

To enhance its work, he suggested that it should seek to engage competent people at the local level to administer the electoral processes.

He advised the EC to open up to all politicians and the public about its operations to win their trust to reduce tensions.

Kufuor’s record

Mrs Mensa said the Commission recognised the immense contribution of former President Kufuor to the political dispensation in Ghana, hence the decision to visit to seek his wise counsel and partnership.

Mrs Mensa reiterated that the Commission was poised to run an open-door policy and would offer a level playing field to all political parties to ensure credible, transparent, free and fair elections.

She briefed the President and his advisors about the commencement of processes to build a strong administrative governance structure to correct lapses at the EC.

Among the team were her two deputies – Samuel Tettey, in charge of operations, and Dr Bossman Eric Asare, in charge of corporate services as well as Adwoa Asuama Abrefa, a commissioner.

The visit formed part of the EC’s efforts to explain its operations and bring the Commission closer to stakeholders as well as afford the Commission an opportunity to learn at first hand about any concerns regarding its operations.