On Tuesday 9th June 2020 the Chairman/Special Envoy of the International Human Rights Commission to Ghana, Ambassador Professor Michael Kwateng paid a courtesy call on the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa along with some IHRC Executives in Ghana at the headquarters of the EC, Accra Ridge.
The Chairperson of the EC welcomed the team and noted her commitment to partner IHRC Ghana to render transparent and all-inclusive electoral processes. She urged the IHRC Ghana to always seek clarification before making publications on the Commission.
Professor Kwateng on his part thanked the EC Chairperson and her Commission for her warm reception. He revealed that the International Human Rights Commission is backed by legal status as required by the law and has signed a Charter with the United Nations (in 2003) in Geneva.
The organization serves as the eye of the world on issues of Human Rights abuses and makes appropriate recommendations to the office of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights. The meeting was therefore sanctioned by the International Secretary through the chairman of the African Region, H.E. Dr. Ahure Innocent Trivlumun.
He expressed IHRC’s interest in taking part in the EC activities toward peaceful and transparent elections. He assured the EC of his commitment to dialogue with the Commission for current and future electoral processes.
Professor Kwateng said IHRC Ghana had made some observations concerning the 2020 electoral processes; he presented a document containing recommendations for the EC to consider in ensuring peaceful and transparent elections in 2020.
Among the recommendations are:
The Commission recommends that EC provides potential voters with the necessary information to make informed choices during voting. This involves increase in sensitization of the general public on when, where and how to register and to vote. The EC should put in every effort to ensure that such information reach voters nationwide, especially those in remote areas. We advise that the EC starts early sensitization and vigorous education in order to minimize the number of disqualified ballots.
Transparency is an integral part of the electoral process of democratic governance. The organization, therefore, recommends that the EC grants all stakeholders equal opportunity regarding every aspect of the process. It is very essential that the EC involves key actors, including various political parties, religious and traditional leaders to create a climate of the democratic process and a framework for dialogue.
Avoid External Pressure and Ensure Voter Confidence in the Electoral Process
The IHRC also recommends that the EC’s actions should be devoid of external influence. The EC should not be under pressure from any external actor to alter the electoral process. Voters are often trusting of elections but distrustful of government hence the need for the EC to maintain voter confidence by remaining unbiased.
The Use of the Voter ID Card for Registration
The commission believes that since the issue of the voter identification card is in the Supreme Court of Ghana the commission will not make any recommendation but advice EC to consider and ensure that Ghanaians living in the rural communities who do not have one of the valid ID Cards needed for the new voter registration are not denied of their democratic rights in order to experience peaceful elections in 2020.
The IHRC expressed its optimism that the Electoral Commission would take into consideration the recommendations and advice given by the UN-affiliate body in order to guarantee a continuous democratic atmosphere in the country through free and fair elections.
The IHRC also called on all significant actors including civil society organisations, political parties, and the general public to respect the dignity of humankind and help foster human rights initiatives.