I’ll start by emphasising that the process/nature of an election is just as essential as the outcome. Citizens, it appears to us that we have consistently dismissed all of our election results and electoral commissions throughout the years.
These autonomous and independent bodies have been called into doubt time and again. When the results are in their favour, political parties and people tend to hold the commissions in high regard, whereas the opposite is true for the losing parties/individuals.
The legal squabbles between the political parties continue. We lose sight of the fact that an election is inextricably linked to the constitution. We cannot just approach the results with ‘truth’ and ‘distortion’. On the contrary, we must regard the outcomes as a means of accounting for the process, design, and performance.
Today, the fingers are pointed at the Nigeria Election Commission and the parties; soon (2024), Ghana will be in a similar predicament, with the commission being repeatedly chastised. ‘The referee cannot always be blamed for the outcome of a game’. For me, the most important questions are:
1. Where are we going wrong in the conduct of our elections as part of our democratic process?
2. When will our elections be deemed fair? Is it when it is in our favour or when it is not?
3. When can the electoral commission be trusted? Is it when we win?
4. Can we keep reforming and trust our electoral process? If yes, as I reckon, let us invest in it.
Politicians and electoral commissioners may have to swear by the gods or God someday for their premeditated efforts to undermine citizens’ rights and aspirations.
I rest my case.
By Albert Nyaaba