The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to publish well-defined programmes with timelines to ensure certainty in the implementation of its activities.The call by the IEA forms part of its project for electoral reforms, under the Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP), which comprise political parties with representation in Parliament, as well as those with no representation.
Dr Ransford Gyampo, Senior Research Fellow at IEA and Coordinator of GPPP, said in the lead up to the 2012 elections the EC engaged in a number of very crucial activities of considerable constitutional and electoral significance.
This, included the Biometric Voter Registration, Exhibition of Voters’ Register, Review and Creation of additional 45 constituencies and seats in Parliament.
“Needless to say, these activities undoubtedly overstretched the capacity of the Electoral Commission to successfully undertake and accomplish all its pre-election programmes and still organised the 2012 General Election successfully.
“But why should all these activities be undertaken at the time when key actors in our electoral process, particularly the political parties were very busy touring all parts of the country campaigning, why should we sit down and wait till the eleventh hour knowing that things done in a rush are susceptible to costly mistakes?” He asked.
Dr Gyampo such crash activities are a recipe for distrust, tension and the raising of unnecessary alarms over issues that could ideally pass without many qualms from the key stakeholders.
“The Electoral Commission must therefore avoid crash time table in the conduct of future elections in Ghana as this does not promote the cause of both the EC and the Political Parties.”
Dr Gyampo proposed that, time lines should be written by the EC indicating important issues such as opening of voters’ register and registration of voters who may have turned 18 or who have not registered already.
It should also include , exhibition of voters’ register, when political parties are expected to receive copies of the register, as well as other pre-election activities that the EC intends to implement.
“This recommendation is very crucial in ensuring clarity and certainty in the minds of both the EC and Political Parties regarding all that must be done before General Election are held.
The Political Parties knowing these well-defined activities and timelines for their implementation would be better prepared to align their campaign activities to accommodate the EC’s pre-election programmes.
The trust to be built through this process could help ensure proper collaboration between the political parties and the EC towards the conduct of credible and largely uneventful elections,” he said.