The National Security secretariat says mistrust in the Electoral Commission (EC) is arming political parties’ vigilante groups for violence that threatens the state’s security.
The secretariat’s strategic security policy demands the EC to investigate the source of the public mistrust and urgently address them.
The opposition National Democratic Congress has not hidden its dislike for and mistrust in the current leadership of the Jean Mensah led Electoral Commission.
Indeed the outcome of the 2020 general elections and the Supreme Court judgment on the 2020 election petition entrenched the party’s strong opposition to the EC.
Former President John Mahama amplifies this mistrust at a news conference after the Supreme Court dismissed his election petition, saying the leadership of the EC has no business staying in office.
The National Security recognises the threat such a posture poses to the security of the state.
It says the National Risk Assessment indicates that mistrust in the electoral process itself is a major driver of this threat and risk of party-political violence.
According to National Security, in spite of previous examples of opposition parties winning elections in the country, the suspicion of collusion between the governing party and the EC to rig elections for the incumbent continues to drive the situation towards dispute and potential violence.
It says, “the emergence of political vigilante groups in the country is, in this regard, a major threat to our national security interests and could substantially disrupt national, social cohesion to the prejudice of the stability of the country.”
It warns that considering the continued evolving nature of these vigilante groups and the impunity with which they tend to carry out their unlawful acts, the menace is likely to escalate if robust measures are not implemented to address the phenomenon.
Response, as determined by the national security, includes the need for Parliament to examine what legislative response measures are required to enhance transparency in our election processes and truncate the formation and running of political party vigilante groups in the country.
It calls on the Electoral Commission to identify the sources of public mistrust in its electioneering systems and processes and take necessary action or make recommendations for addressing them.
The sentiments of the national security secretariat are shared by the Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Ibn Chambas.
At a Center for Democratic Development (Ghana) election review seminar, he called on the election body to take steps to build trust and remove doubt surrounding its activities
But deputy chairman of the electoral commission, Dr Bossman Asare says the EC has been and will remain neutral. He said the nature of its work and the law establishing the commission makes it impossible to be biased in the discharge of its duties.
According to him, some workshops organised to review the 2020 elections and others coming up are all steps taken to ensure credibility in the process.