Electoral Commission Dodges Electoral Reforms Workshop
Electoral Commission (EC) was visibly absent at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)’s recently organized workshop on electoral reforms, raising doubts about the EC’s commitment to electoral reforms.
The Commission’s absence drew exasperation from representatives of the political parties at the workshop held at the Volta Hotel in Akosombo over the weekend.
Abraham Amaliba, a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s Legal Team questioned the organizers about the absence of the major stakeholder in elections.
“I am of the view that the EC should be present in all discussions which leads to electoral reforms, don’t forget that the Supreme Court made this point very clear that we need these reforms and if this meeting is one of the platforms that is looking at electoral reforms, the EC has no excuse,” a clearly unhappy Mr. Amaliba told DAILY GUIDE on the sidelines of the event.
“I believe that the EC should have been here…the EC must be seen to be interested in these matters and for me, it is sad that the EC was not here at all.”
John Boadu, a member of the Communication Team of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), said “they (the EC) on their own have gone ahead and invited professionals who understand election reforms, especially in Africa, and they’ve written to several political parties to have audience with them…For me, this would have been an icebreaker if they were here, especially to offer some of the reasons why they got certain things wrong….”
Dr. John k. Kwakye, a Senior Fellow at the IEA, told the political party representatives and other experts present at the workshop that they indeed sent an invitation letter to the EC, but it declined to attend the meeting apparently because the election regulator reasoned that its presence at the meeting may exert some influence on the trend of the discussions.
“We invited them, but they decided they did not want to be part of the process to exert any influence on the debate,” he told the peeved political party reps.
“If that was the explanation, I think it is not a good enough explanation because the EC is the major stakeholder when it comes to our elections, for the EC to absence and give that excuse, I think it begs that explanation. You can attend a meeting and when you look at the demeanor of the people, you would know how serious the people are because we are all stakeholders,” Abraham Amaliba retorted.
John Boadu dismissed the reason of the Commission.
Majority of the over 30 political party representatives at the workshop themed: “Towards Transparent and Acceptable Elections-A Review of Ghana’s Election System,” were peeved about the absence of the EC.
Representatives from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), the Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP), the former deputy Electoral Commissioner, David Kanga, legal and communication experts were in attendance.
The group came to consensus on processes that needed to be reviewed for the 2016 elections, including a change of the structure of the Statement of Poll and Declaration of Result (Pink Sheet) and the need for a cap on the number of constituencies the EC can create, particularly during election years.
The EC’s conduct of the 2012 election has been heavily criticized.
After the eight-month long election petition filed by the 2012 presidential candidate of the NPP and others, majority of the nine-member panel of justices who sat on the case, made varied recommendations for electoral reforms.
The EC apparently took the cue and immediately called on political parties to make proposals on reforms, but the overture was rejected by the NPP which questioned the genuineness of the EC’s invitation.