During last week Wednesday’s parliamentary sitting, the Majority and the Minority in Parliament both agreed that this year’s general election must take place in spite of COVID-19.
The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the constitution was silent as to what should happen in the event an election was not held, and therefore measures must be put in place to provide space for the holding of the 2020 elections.
On the other hand, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said with or without the COVID-19 pandemic, the EC was expected to carry out the general election. “In this country, COVID-19 or no COVID-19, we are a democracy and our democracy will evolve and they will be expected to conduct presidential and parliamentary elections, and we need to know what their road map is,” he said.
It is good news that in spite of their differences on the compilation of a new voters register, the two sides agree that the elections must take place. This gives the country the indication that the two biggest political parties which are major stakeholders in the elections are at least on the same page.
Although the National Democratic Congress (NDC) did not attend yesterday’s Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting (See front page lead story), we think that going forward, all stakeholders must put aside their differences to participate in such fora. Even if our arguments or proposals may not carry the day, we will be better informed on the direction of what is to be done.
We believe that this will always help reduce or eliminate the suspicions that always characterise our political discourse in helping to push the country’s democratic frontiers higher.
Lately, there have also been different views on whether or not the elections should be held. Some have cited the health implications in the face of the pandemic while others have argued that the elections should be shelved for another time when the pandemic has subsided or gone away. The question we must ask ourselves is: What are the alternatives if the election does not take place?
Though many constitutional law experts have argued that the constitution can be modified to deal with such a situation, we believe that the possibility of a constitutional crisis and constitutional uncertainty as a result of failure not to organise the elections will not augur well for this country and our enviable record as a democratic country worth emulating in Africa.
We, therefore, call on all stakeholders to support the EC to organise the elections in a manner that will not put our health at risk. The EC will need all the support and cooperation it deserves to be able to organise a free, fair and transparent general election that would not jeopardise efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Daily Graphic believes that this is the time to galvanise ourselves and put on our nationalistic hats to ensure that the elections take place. We must understand that apart from disrupting our lives, COVID-19 has also put our democracy at stake. We must, therefore, come together to fight it, not just on the health front but also on the political front to save our democracy.
This is the time for all political actors to fully cooperate with the election managers to guarantee for the country secure, safe, free and fair elections whose outcome will be acceptable to all.
Source: Daily Graphic
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