A former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Miss Marrietta Brew, has expressed concerns over the current decline in public trust in the Electoral Commission (EC), emphasizing that the trends are worrying.
She explained that the Afrobarometer Round 9 Survey in 2022, conducted by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), showed that the credibility of the EC and the trust reposed in them by the people of Ghana had diminished.
Miss Brew said this when he delivered a lecture at a Constitution Day Public Lecture event hosted by the UPSA Law School in conjunction with One Ghana Movement, a Civic Society Organisation.
The former AG spoke on the topic: “Reflections on our democracy: the Constitution, Elections and the Judiciary.”
According to the survey, only 9.8 per cent of the population said they trusted the EC a lot (compared to 20.8 in 2019), while 22.7 per cent said they somewhat trusted the EC (compared to 32.1 per cent in 2019).
Meanwhile, 27.3 per cent said they trusted the EC just a little (compared to 22.2 in 2019) with 0.5 per cent saying they do not know whether they trust the EC (compared to 7.7 per cent in the 2019 report) and 39.7 per cent indicating they do not trust the EC at all (compared to 18.9 per cent in 2019).
“As an ordinary citizen relying on this data, I can safely conclude that there is an increase in public mistrust of the Commission,” Miss Brew added.
She said the decline in public trust was not surprising, as the Commission Chairperson, for the first time in the history of Ghana’s elections, publicly declared in 2020 that, she inadvertently announced wrong numbers that led to the declaration of Presidential Results and corrected them without involving the political parties or providing them with a clear explanation as to how this egregious mistake occurred.
She said in a country, where elections were fiercely contested and often determined by a tiny margin, the admission of any error was bound to affect the credibility of the EC.
“The happenings did not require a soothsayer to predict this decline in trust in the aftermath of the 2020 elections,” the former AG said.
Admittedly, Miss Brew said it was a fact that the 1992 Constitution created an independent EC that was not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority except as provided in the Constitution.
“It is, however, crucial to understand that this independence has fetters as the same Constitution makes the EC subject to the principles of accountability and other checks and balances enshrined,” she said.
She said the electoral crisis of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi, popularly called SALL and some aspects of the 2020 Election Petition were the reasons why trust in the EC had waned.
Miss Brew, however, maintained that the country’s reputation as a thriving democracy despite the challenges, cannot be questioned.
Other key speakers at the event were Joe Ghartey, a former Attorney General and Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan a former EC Chair.