Take findings of EU Mission seriously — Prof. Ayee

BY: Lydia Essel-Mensah
 Prof. Joseph Atsu Ayee
Prof. Joseph Atsu Ayee

A Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Joseph Atsu Ayee, has called on all political parties to take the findings of the European Union (EU) Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) on Ghana’s Election 2020 seriously, devoid of partisanship.

Such an approach, he said, would enable all stakeholders to come up with some electoral reforms to deepen the country’s democracy.

Prof. Ayee, who was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the EU EOM report, said the well-documented report had reinforced the previous findings on election shortcomings, the good and bad, and the positive and negative issues which kept recurring in elections in the country.

‘‘We have conducted eight elections in the country in this Fourth Republic which we should have seen some progress in terms of electoral violence, but our politicians seemed to be interested in power and not prepared to correct previous mistakes, that is why anytime Ghanaians are about to go to the polls it looks as if we are sitting on a time bomb as a nation,’’ Prof. Ayee stated.

National dialogue

The professor said it was high time all political actors and stakeholders came together to decide on how to improve the quality of elections in Ghana.

He said there had been several findings from both local and international observers after every general election, yet there had not been any holistic approach in dealing with such reports which in effect could have helped improve the three stages of our elections – the pre-election which dealt with campaigning, the election day which focused on the voting, counting and coalition, and the post-election issues.

‘‘Signing of a peace pact few days to elections did not guarantee a peaceful election, especially in our situation where our environment is highly polarised. It will be difficult to rely solely on peace pacts during and after general elections.

‘‘We should nail election violence, I mean that phobia should go, and we can only do that when we sit at a table and talk as a nation. Even people who go to war still find time to sit at a table to smoke the peace pipe,’’ he emphasised.

International observers

With regard to the presence of foreign observers during general elections, Prof. Ayee said their involvement usually helped improve the quality of elections and reduced contestations of election results.

‘‘They have more information than we do, so their presence should be welcomed rather than seeing them as a group interfering in our elections,’’ Prof. Ayee explained.

Priority recommendations

Touching on some of the priority recommendations of the EU EOM, Prof. Ayee said the affirmative action law that would introduce a quota of at least 30 per cent of women in governance should be enacted to give women the opportunity to demonstrate their competence.

He said it would be prudent that women were given the opportunity since 51 per cent of the population, was made up of women; ‘‘and not just by virtue of their number in population but I’m convinced that there are competent, formidable and experienced women in Ghana who can occupy positions in government if given the opportunity’’.