The Electoral Commission (EC) has faced significant criticism on social media following the release of its press statement in response to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its Communications Director, Sammy Gyamfi.
Dated June 6, 2023, the statement aimed to dismiss Sammy Gyamfi’s repeated claims that the EC was undermining the Constitution through recent processes leading up to crucial by-elections in the Assin North Constituency.
However, the tone and content of the statement were perceived as overly petty and partisan by many Twitter users, resulting in a wave of backlash against the electoral management body.
In various sections of the statement, the EC accused Sammy Gyamfi and the NDC of persistently attempting to tarnish its integrity, citing the 2020 presidential election petition as an example.
“Over the years, Sammy Gyamfi and his party have disseminated false claims with the aim of maligning the integrity of the EC. This was evident in their petition to the Supreme Court after the 2020 Elections, alleging that they had won the Elections. It is well known that they could not provide evidence in Court to support their allegations. This current allegation is no different. It is baseless and unfounded and a figment of the imagination of the National Communication Officer. We call on all well-meaning Ghanaians to ignore it,” the statement read.
The statement titled “RE: ELIGIBILITY OF QUALIFIED NPP PARLIAMENTARY ASPIRANT IN THE ASSIN NORTH BY-ELECTION” aimed to address recent allegations that the EC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were colluding to provide an advantage to an NPP aspirant in the upcoming by-election in Assin North.
However, the EC’s response received widespread criticism on social media, with many commenters on Twitter deeming it partisan and unprofessional. Users expressed disappointment in the tone of the statement and called for greater neutrality and impartiality from the electoral management body.
As the backlash continued, the EC urged Ghanaians to disregard what they labeled as “baseless and unfounded” allegations from Sammy Gyamfi, urging him to provide concrete evidence to support his claims.
The EC also emphasized the need for maturity, decorum, and truth in discussions regarding the EC’s operations, urging Gyamfi to focus on campaigning rather than attacking the EC.
The response from Twitter users underscores the growing demand for transparency and impartiality in Ghana’s electoral processes, as citizens express their concerns and expectations for fair and credible elections.
Read the EC’s full statement below;
RE: ELIGIBILITY OF QUALIFIED NPP PARLIAMENTARY ASPIRANT IN THE ASSIN NORTH BY-ELECTION
The attention of the Electoral Commission has been drawn to another misleading statement by the National Communication Officer of the NDC.
The Commission in its previous response to the National Communication Officer, stated that per Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution, a person qualifies to contest as a candidate for a Parliamentary Election so long as he is a registered voter, at least 21 years of age, hails from or, is a resident, or has resided in the constituency for a total of five (5) years in the last ten (10) years preceding the election he/she seeks to contest. This is the position of the 1992 Constitution which is the fundamental law of Ghana.
The National Communication Officer of the NDC in his response makes the claim that the EC only relied on the 1992 Constitution to make the case that a person need not be a registered voter in the Constituency he/she intends to stand for election. He asserts that the EC should have also relied on the CI 127 and in particular the Nomination Form contained in CI 127 before arriving at the conclusion that a person need not be a registered voter in the same Constituency he/she intends to contest.
To buttress his point, he states that the phrase ‘of the same Constituency’, on the Parliamentary Nomination Form, implies that a candidate for parliamentary election must be a registered voter in the same Constituency he/she intends to contest and that the phrase ‘of the same Constituency’ on the Nomination Form should override the Constitution. This argument is flawed.
For the benefit of the public, the Nomination Form states as follows:
“We the undersigned registered voters in ………………… Constituency do hereby nominate…………. ‘of the same Constituency’ to stand for election as a Member of Parliament, and we hereby certify that to the best of our knowledge he/she is qualified to be elected as such.”
Clearly, as stated above, the Nomination Form only requires those nominating a candidate for a parliamentary election in a Constituency to be registered voters in the same Constituency, and not the candidate who is being nominated to contest. The candidate is only required to hail from or reside in the Constituency to qualify to contest in that Constituency. If one should interpret what is stated on the Parliamentary Nomination Form to imply that the candidate must also be a registered voter in the same Constituency, that would be absurd, unreasonable, illogical, and unconstitutional to borrow some of the words of Sammy Gyamfi.
Was Sammy Gyamfi not aware of this phrase, ‘of the same Constituency’ on the Nomination Form before allowing their candidate for the Kumawu By-Election who is NOT a registered voter in Kumawu to contest for the recent By- Election?
For the information of the general public, the NDC Candidate for the recent By-Election Mr. Kwasi Amankwaa is not a registered voter in the Kumawu Constituency. He is a registered voter in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, yet he contested in the Kumawu By-Election because he hails from there. Why didn’t the NDC raise this issue ahead of the Kumawu Constituency By-Election?
The fact still remains that the allegation by Sammy Gyamfi to the effect that the EC is working with the NPP to sneak an unregistered voter into the Assin North register is FALSE. It is untrue and we call on Sammy Gyamfi to prove this.
Over the years Sammy Gyamfi and his party have put out false claims aimed at maligning the integrity of the EC. This was evident in their petition to the Supreme Court after the 2020 Elections alleging that they had won the Elections. It is well known that they could not provide evidence in Court to support their allegations. This current allegation is no different. It is baseless and unfounded and a figment of the imagination of the National Communication Officer. We call on all well meaning Ghanaians to ignore it.
Ghana’s democracy has come of age and we call on Sammy Gyamfi to exercise maturity, decorum and truth in his discussions on the EC. We urge him to go out and campaign and leave the EC alone.
As a Commission we remain committed to conducting transparent, peaceful and credible elections. We will devote our time to fulfilling our constitutional mandate, having provided the public with the truth on this matter.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT