Public confidence in the electoral process is vital to democracy. Such confidence can easily be eroded by the failure to openly and fully investigate alleged “anomalies”. This is necessary not only for the purpose of learning lessons, but also to make institutions and individuals accountable.t a more fundamental level, the failure to have a public process of accountability can only increase the prospect of a repeat of the challenges in the 2019 elections. In turn, this can easily translate into apathy among potential voters. Citizens may not appreciate the value of participating in a process that they fear may be unfair or corrupted.
If a person, who is alleged to have altered numbers on a results record sheet is not investigated and, where sufficient evidence exists, held to account in a public process, what message does it send to the community? If a supervisor or commissioner who is perceived to have failed to exercise oversight is not held accountable to the public, what does it do to the public’s confidence in the electoral process?
In some ways, this is an early test of the new government’s commitment to good governance, including accountability and the fight against corruption. To signal the government’s political will to treat this matter of governance with the seriousness that it deserves; such investigation must be driven by the highest levels of government. A Presidential Commission of Inquiry would be a good starting point.
There are those who might think that such an investigation would somehow raise questions about whether the President, MPs and Councillors were duly elected. That would be no more than an academic question at this stage.
Once MEC announced results and declared winners; and the winners took their various oaths, the President, MPs and Councillors are deemed to have been duly elected to their respective offices. In the eyes of the law, this is the current reality with which all stakeholders should come to terms.
This legal reality, however, does not mean that citizens should be denied the right to know what really happened and who did what to contribute to that which happened.