Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Peter Otokunor says the actions of Jean Mensa show the Electoral Commission (EC) does not care about the lives lost during the 2020 general elections.
Speaking to Joy FM on Tuesday, Mr Otokunor explained that the EC had, in so many instances after the just ended elections, interacted with the public but never made comments on the death toll until now.
“This is a half-hearted rhetoric. We know Jean Mensa doesn’t care about those who lost their lives in the violence that occurred because since December 7, in fact, December 9, when the incidents occurred, the Electoral Commission has had several engagements with the public. They have never made any comments on it. We have demanded of investigations,” he stated.
His comments briefly follow statements by EC Chairperson Jean Mensa, who, speaking at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) workshop indicated that state security agencies should be held responsible for violence and related deaths that characterised the 2020 election.
“I use this occasion to clarify that the Electoral Commission is not responsible for election security. The entire electoral process and its success rest on our shoulders, but our mandate as enshrined in the Constitution does not include security.
“……we need to define clearly without a shadow of a doubt whose responsibility it is to guarantee security on Election day and to place that responsibility on their shoulders,” she said.
But in response, the NDC Deputy General Secretary stressed that the Commission cannot distance itself from the death of eight Ghanaians who allegedly died at the hands of the security personnel.
According to Peter Otokunor, this is because the Electoral Commission formed part of the Electoral Security Taskforce mandated to ensure the safety of electorates who came out to vote on December 7, 2020.
“We know the Electoral Commission is not responsible for security in elections, but we know very well that the Electoral Commission can engage the security agencies to make necessary investigative works available to the public and arrest those who culprits.
“…the Electoral Commission was on the election security task force so in that case, they cannot recuse themselves from the security arrangements that we made for the election and for that matter the outcomes the security lapses we saw during the elections,” he noted.
He further recounted that calls to have political parties represented on the Electoral Security Taskforce were denied.
“I recall that before the elections, we demanded that political parties get representations on the election security task force…. Some of us made a lot of noise about the exclusion of political parties from the Electoral Security Task force.
“In every election, the key stakeholders are the political parties because political parties are either affected positively or negatively depending on the security arrangements. You can’t leave the security arrangements to only the government institutions who appoint those leaders of the security agencies who are also interested parties in the elections. So that arrangement alone, is defective and we made that point very strongly,” he said.
For Mr Otokunor, if political parties were furnished with the list of security personnel deployed, the perpetrators of the 2020 election violence would have already been apprehended.
Meanwhile, the NDC Deputy General Secretary has called on the Electoral Commission to consider the involvement of political parties in the Electoral Security Taskforce in subsequent elections.
“So what Jean Mensa should be telling us is how we are moving forward on reforms to make sure political parties are involved. We understand the security arrangements, we know how the security officers who are deployed to the various polling stations and the centers are going to work,” he stated.
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