Powerful Christian groups do not believe the Electoral Commission (EC) has been able to engender enough confidence among the political stakeholders to be able to organize credible general election in November. According to the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the EC has a long way to go to convince Ghanaians, especially the political parties, that it is fully ready for the polls.
“The Electoral Commission bears the primary responsibility to conduct free, fair, transparent and credible elections in Ghana. Therefore, we expect the Commission to engender confidence among all players and continue to remain neutral, fair, honest and transparent in all its actions and decisions,” the two groups stated at the end of their Annual Joint Meeting, held at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Kaneshie, Accra, last week.
A statement jointly signed by Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, President, Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Most Rev. Titus K. Awotwi Pratt, Vice Chairman, Christian Council of Ghana, also appealed passionately to the political parties to call their followers to order in view of the already charged political atmosphere.
Circumspection & Decorum
“We note with worry and anxiety the current political atmosphere leading up to elections later this year and wish to call on all politicians and their supporters to be circumspect and decorous in their utterances and actions.
“We are distressed and worried by the current display of political impunity and complacency evident in intimidation, accusations, counter-accusations, hate speeches, intra-party and inter-party violence, threats of kidnapping and murder, among others, the group underscored.
The Christian leaders indicated, “The problems associated with the recent limited registration exercise have convinced us that some politicians and political parties will do anything and everything to win political power at all cost.”
They said that the EC should continue to explain its actions to the stakeholders, adding, “Pertinent issues such as the problems associated with the limited voter registration exercise, the cleaning of the voter register as ruled by the Supreme Court, biometric verification, among others, need to be addressed now.
“Related critical issues, including what the EC intends to do with the proposed Steering Committee as well as the needed reforms to the electoral system as submitted by the Reforms Committee and the way forward for the recommendations of the 5-member Prof. VCRAC Crabbe Committee must be made known now.
“The proposed November 2016 elections may seem to be far but they are not. Thus, we appeal to the EC to act expeditiously and come up with a clear roadmap for the impending elections. We pledge our support and prayers for the process.”
The group also touched on the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill 2015 – popularly called Spy Bill – saying, “We think that the proposed Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill 2015 is unnecessary and called for its withdrawal.”
They further discussed the controversial 3-year and 4-year duration at the Senior High School (SHS) level and asked the government to reassess the situation. “We recommend the adoption of a two-tier approach as contained in the Prof. Anamuah-Mensah Committee report,” the religious leaders posited.
They also condemned examination malpractices and leakages in the education sector and asked for stringent measure to prevent future occurrences.
They were deeply worried about the erratic power supply (dumsor), noting that it has collapsed many businesses and shut down industries.