The leadership of National Student Unions and Associations in the country has called on all political parties and other stakeholders to respect the independence of the Electoral Commission (EC).
They have also called on all stakeholders to desist from acts of intimidation, coercion and 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 the beauty of election 2020.
The students’ unions and associations contend 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 same constitution from which the commission derives its power of autonomy from.
They have also asked “that all debates must cease, egos must be put aside and cool heads must be allowed to be prevailed for the EC to execute its mandate judiciously to the good people of Ghana.”
Unity press conference
The students’ unions and associations made the call at a press conference addressed by the president of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Isaac Jay Hyde.
The press conference was held with the leadership of other students’ unions and associations present. They included the Graduate Students’ Association Ghana (GRASAG), University Students’ Association of Ghana (USAG), Private Universities Students’ Association of Ghana (PUSAG) and Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS).
Others were Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG), National Health Students’ Association of Ghana (NAHSAG) and Greater Accra Regional Students Representative Council (GASRC), representing students in the senior high schools.
According to the student unions, their stance on the matter is triggered by their acceptance, belief and trust in the laws that govern the nation.
“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 inputs 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 Article 45 and 46,” they said.
They have, however, called on all political parties and stakeholders to continue to use the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings to engage the EC on their concerns.
They have also called on the EC to engage all opposing parties and stakeholders in a manner that shows respect and appreciation of their views in a democratic space.
“It is not for nothing that the 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,” they said.