The presidential candidate of New Patriotic Party (NPP) Ghana’s main opposition (now the ruling) political party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, stressed in Berlin today (25th October 2011) that Ghana has a satisfactory electoral structure to conduct credible elections.
Speaking at a one-day conference themed: Stability or Crisis – Has Africa A Choice? Organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Nana Akufo-Addo said he was “reasonably satisfied with the quality of the people running the electoral commission,” stressing that “it can be trusted to conduct future elections”.
“I may have to re-visit the question as to the quality of the people running the commission, when, God willing, I win the election”, he told the conference.
Nana Akufo-Addo said that, one of the next steps of consolidating the electoral process in Ghana was for all stake holders to address the issue of extending the vote to Ghanaians abroad.
“The Ghanaian Diaspora has been active in the political and social process in the country. It is their desire to continue to participate in the system,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo observed that the use of State-owned media by government in the electoral processes continues to be an issue in Ghana.
“We still have state-owned media, state broadcaster but the significance of their role within the body politic has gone down considerably.
“The first duty of those running these media organisations is to serve the people and not those who are temporarily in power,” he adds.
Addressing the question of the importance of independent international election observers, Nana Akufo-Addo said the idea was to ensure that elections in Africa were normal incidence without any hysteria.
In getting to that, the presence of the international observers has been useful, adding that Africans have to get to the same stage like the established democratic systems in the world.
The NPP presidential hopeful said a phenomenon was emerging on the African continent that people are insisting that they want elections to be conducted properly adding that those seeking to cling to power at all costs were being marginalized.
He observed that there was a movement on the continent that is calling for genuine process for fair elections.
On whether Africa was fit for democratic elections, Nana Akufo-Addo stressed once again that there was the need for elections to be conducted without “hysteria”.
He said he look to the day when the Ghanaian people will be satisfied with the election and the results.
There has to be some general mobilization of the population to the principles of transparency and education in the democratic process, Nana Akufo-Addo told the audience at the conference, adding “the end result we should expect are that the elections are conducted without hysteria.”
Turning to the role of women in Ghanaian politics, the NPP presidential aspirant observed that they have been very active in politics, playing their part in the struggle for independence and after. “But they have not been actively involved in seeking office”.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the disparity between their involvement was very disproportionate “giving the fact they are 52 percent of the population,” stressing: “some form of affirmative action has to be taken” to get as many women in politics as possible.
Nana Akufo Addo was accompanied by the NPP National Chairman, J.O. (Jake) Obetsebi-Lamptey, the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Owusu Afriyie, popularly known in Ghana as “Sir John”, Mr Herbert Krapa, Press Aide to Nana and Charles Owuradu, Director of Overseas branches of the NPP..
Mellisa Sheridan, ANA Political Editor