Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Dec. 03, GNA – The Electoral Commission (EC) on Tuesday inaugurated a 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee to enhance engagement and interactions between the Commission and the Ghanaian Society, as the nation prepares towards the 2020 General Election.
The Committee, which is made up of distinguished eminent Ghanaians, is under the Chairmanship of Mr Justice Emile Francis Short, former Chairman, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.
Members of the Committee include Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante; Chairman, National Peace Council; Sheik Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, National Chief Imam; Mr Sam Okudzeto, Member, Council of State; Nana Ato Dadzie, a former Chief of Staff; and Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer, Action Chapel International.
Others are Dr Yaw Baah, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress; Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Roman Catholic Church’s Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Mr Affail Monney, President, Ghana Journalists Association; Mrs Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie, former President, GJA; Rev. Prof Emmanuel Martey, former Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Ghana; Mr Tony Forson, President, Ghana Bar Association, and Dr Eric Oduro Osae, a Local Government Expert.
Mrs Jean Mensa, the EC Chairperson, said with the benefit of lessons learnt in the past, it was now the avowed goal of the current administration of the Commission to strengthen Ghanaians’ experience of the EC as an institution to whom they might speak, be heard and responded to.
She said the Committee of Eminent Persons was one of the mechanisms through which they intended to pursue this goal.
She recounted that earlier this year, as part of efforts to demystify the Commission’s operations and bring its activities to the doorstep of the citizenry, they engaged with a cross-section of stakeholders, briefed them on their activities and received feedback.
“Our motive was to create a platform and channel for regular dialogue and engagement in the lead up to the 2020 Election. We held extensive meetings with a variety of personalities and groups including our former presidents, religious leaders, traditional authorities, the Council of State and the Media,” she said.
Mrs Mensa noted that it became evident, during the engagements, that the initiative was a healthy exercise, which must be institutionalised.
“We recognised that in the processes leading up to national elections, it would be important for us, as a Commission, to have a standing body who we could brief regularly on our activities and decisions, and who most importantly, could offer us advice, council and feedback, based upon the concerns and aspirations of members of the Ghanaian society.”
“We recognised, further, through our stakeholder engagement, that a body of this nature could support us, as a nation, to preserve unity, peace and stability amidst the creeping polarisation of our nation along political lines.”
Mrs Mensa said they were mindful of the devastating effects that polarisation of any form could have on peace and stability in a society or nation, adding; “I believe that none of us would wish instability or insecurity upon our dear nation”.
“Our reasoning therefore was that having a body of persons that can be trusted by the society to rise above partisan political sentiments to bridge communication between the Commission and the society would help to preserve peace and stability each time we have national elections.”
She said members of the Committee were positioned to serve as a voice of reason, calm and patriotism, along with other key institutions that also sought to preserve peace and stability in the nation.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings, who was at the programme, said putting together the Committee of Eminent Persons was probably one of the wisest thing to happen to Ghana.
He lauded Rev. Prof Asante for his role in ensuring peace and stability in the country during the 2016 general election.
Mr Short, on behalf of his colleagues, expressed gratitude to the Commission for the confidence reposed in them, saying they shall conduct proceedings in excellence to a successful conclusion.