Ghana student groups unite behind Electoral Commission, urging political parties to give it room to do its work Featured

By Kwasi Frimpong January 30, 2020 1358 27 comments

Leaders of national student unions and associations in the country have called on all political parties and other interest groups to respect the independence of Ghana’s Electoral Commission.

They have also called on all stakeholders to desist from acts of intimidation, coercion or inducement directed at obstructing the EC from its constitutional mandate of conducting a credible, free and fair election, or stampeding it to take any decision that will mar arrangements for Election 2020.

The students’ unions and associations argued that Article 46 of Ghana’s constitution defines the EC as an independent institution whose functions shall not in any way be subject to the directions or control of any person, group or authority, except that those actions are inconsistent with the same constitution from which the Commission derives its power of autonomy.

They are also urging “that all debates must cease, egos must be put aside and cool heads must be allowed to prevail for the EC to execute its mandate judiciously to the good people of Ghana”.

Unity conference

The students’ unions and associations made this call at a press conference addressed by the president of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Isaac Jay Hyde.

The NUGS leader met the press together with the leaders of other students’ unions and associations. They included the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG), University Students’ Association of Ghana (USAG), Private Universities Students’ Association of Ghana (PUSAG) and Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS).

Also present were the Teacher Trainees’ Association of Ghana (TTAG), National Health Students’ Association of Ghana (NAHSAG) and Greater Accra Regional Students Representative Council (GASRC), representing senior high school students.

According to the student unions, their stance on the matter is triggered by their acceptance, belief and trust in the laws governing Ghana.

“Having critically examined Article 45 (a)(e) of the 1992 constitution, NUGS, on behalf of students of Ghana, appreciates the independent authority and functions of the EC, without undermining the input of the various election stakeholders like the political parties, civil society and citizenry at large.

“Whichever way the debate may fall, one question stands tall amongst all the arguments: what does the constitution say concerning electoral matters? The reference answer remains Articles 45 and 46,” the students said.

Engagement

However, the student leaders have called on all political parties and interest groups to continue to use the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings to engage the EC and seek to address their concerns.

They also called on the EC to engage all opposing parties and stakeholders in a manner which shows respect and appreciation of their views in a democratic space.

“It is not for nothing that IPAC and the Eminent Advisory Committee (EAC) were formed to provide the intermediate advisory roles to the EC regardless of its constitutional independence.

“Law includes logic and, as a matter of fact, NUGS encourages the EC to give room for some amount of logic to operate without undermining their independent powers and authority,” the students said.

The NUGS president (behind microphones) flanked by leaders of other national unions and associations

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