TOWARDS ACHIEVING PEACEFUL ELECTIONS WITH CREDIBLE OUTCOME
Over the years, Ghana has been applauded globally for her track record of conducting peaceful elections with credible outcomes. The Fourth Republic, which began in 1992 and is marked with the return of constitutional rule, has seen the conduction of seven successive presidential and parliamentary elections, without any major hiccup. Ghana, on 7th December 2020, undertook its 8th successive presidential and parliamentary elections under its fourth constitutional republic, with the goal of electing a new crop of leaders for the next tenure of governance and administration (i.e. 2021 – 2024).
However, the electoral processes were characterized by several allegations and accusations from the political parties especially the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Consistently, the major opposition party, NDC has alleged the connivance of the Electoral Commission (EC) with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) with the aim of rigging the elections in the favor of the NPP, a claim which both the EC and the NPP have denied vehemently. The pre-election period was marked with a series of protests, demonstrations, court actions, press conference mostly by the opposition NDC on the electoral processes. It must be put on record, however that previous elections have all seen their fair share of allegations of bias by the EC in favor of the ruling party.
Nonetheless, it should not be taken for granted that holding peaceful elections with credible outcomes that satisfy all parties involved is a very critical democratic principle. This feat can only be achieved when elections held are free, fair, transparent, void of any form of violence with credible results that augurs well with all parties involved. This brings to the fore the need to hold the various election stakeholders accountable for all electoral events. This is particularly important when these stakeholders make pledges and allegiance that give clear indications of their readiness to play their part very effectively and efficiently, in ensuring that the processes are smooth, peaceful, and a true reflection of the will of the people of the country.
Typically, the EC, Ghana Police Service and several other parties including presidential candidates of the various participating parties, pledged their unflinching support to a peaceful electoral process, prior to elections. It is in this vane that this paper seeks to examine the 2020 general elections against the litmus test of free, fair, transparent, peaceful, and credible elections.