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A Fraudulent Referendum Doesn’t Augur Well For 2020

The long knives are out, angling for the flesh of Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa, the Electoral Commissioner, whose organization presided over last week’s irregularities-drenched Referendum.
Her critics, ranging from opportunistic politicians to a plethora of goody-two shoes non-governmental groups, expressed misgivings about free-wheeling election officials who engaged in egregious behavior — looked the other way as ballot boxes were stuffed and in some cases actively encouraged the participation of non-voting age citizens. Most of these outrageous acts were caught on video by enterprising Ghanaian “observers.”
Mrs. Mensa, obviously, did not in her wildest dreams, see it coming; a post referendum chorus of voices clamoring for her ouster. In response, she quickly pledged to order investigations into the charges of fraud, voter intimidation and plain cheating.
While I don’t agree with calls for Mrs. Mensa’s dismissal — premature I think— and her critics should not delude themselves into thinking that Mr. Addo would do their bid given his penchant for standing by his appointees no matter what — I share their frustrations.
Their anger is not misplaced by any measure, particularly so if you consider the fact that electoral fraud of any kind is an affront to the principles of participatory democracy; not only does fraud betray public trust, it also erodes confidence in the electoral system and leaves citizens bewildered. And, Mr. Addo did not exactly help matters with his nonchalant remarks: “The Referendum was free, fair and very transparent.”
Hence, the Referendum will be portrayed by its detractors — those who weren’t enamored with it in the first place — as a carefully calibrated political maneuver by the ruling NPP to shore up support in areas where it has been floundering, a claim that is hotly disputed.
Here is hoping that the investigations promised by Ms. Mensa will be genuine, thorough and well resourced. The nation deserves it. 

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