EC might lose focus over numerous court cases – Dr Gyampo
A political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Ransford Gyampo has expressed concern over Ghana’s Electoral Commission’s (EC) ability to focus on the upcoming elections due to the numerous court cases it has been saddled with ahead of the 2016 elections.
With barely 48 days to Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary election in December, the EC has been dragged before court to respond to a number of challenges by some individuals and political parties over the disqualification of some presidential candidates and other issues.
Some of the court actions have forced the EC to alter its electoral processes, raising fears it may not be able to successfully hold the polls. Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday [October 26], Prof Gyampo said he was worried the cases may completely derail the EC’s focus in holding the elections without fail.
He said although the plaintiffs have the right to seek redress in court, their actions have the potential of affecting the electoral process.
He said, “I am a bit worried but at the same time, it is democracy and we beleive in rule of law so there is the need to follow due processes. It is worrying because the EC may lose focus on what it is supposed to be doing.. It is only natural that if you are saddled with a lot of court cases that you have to put representation and defend yourself and all that, naturally, you may lose focus a little.”
“I would prefer that some of these things are resolved behind the scenes. They use [ADR] Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolved them,” he added. He noted that despite the assurance from the Chief Justice that action will be expedited on all election-related cases to ensure the elections are held on December 7, the entire process will be negatively affected when the court cases become tedious.
“We are in a time where we are supposed to be discussing the various policies positions of the political parties so people can vote on issues and based on that demand accountability and ensure that what people tell us that they would do, they really get themselves committed to them. It is not the time to be discussing litigation and all that but unfortunately, this is what has happened,” Prof Gyampo said.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has said it is optimistic Ghana’s judiciary can expedite action on the various election-related lawsuits to ensure the country holds its general elections in December as expected.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday, the Executive Director of IDEG, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey said the judiciary is up to the task and able to deliver on their mandate with the various measures it has adopted to fast-track the court processes.
Mr Akwetey noted that while the court processes are important, the December 7 election date must not be tampered with.
Some of the election-related cases being heard include those seeking the reinstatement of some disqualified aspirants in the upcoming presidential elections and those seeking an order to compel the EC to announce results of special voting on the same day it is held.