Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ghana: Electoral Commission acts on reforms

Ghana's Electoral Commission has set up a 10-member working group to scrutinise raft of proposals submitted to it for electoral reforms aimed at amending existing laws, administrative procedures and arrangements ahead of the 2016 general elections.

Following the 2012 presidential election dispute culminating in a petition to the country's Supreme Court, there was a clamour for electoral reforms from political parties, civil society organisations, individuals and technical staff of the commission.

This public outcry, coupled with the Supreme Court's recommendations, forced the West African country's elections body to initiate a roadmap for the process.

The committee, made up of representatives of the commission's members, political parties and civil society organisations is, therefore, tasked to examine those proposals for the reform.

Electoral commission chairman, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan charged committee members to have an eye for changes that would bolster the integrity and independence of Ghana's electoral system.

"Electoral systems are not finished products, they evolve over time, so from time to time every electoral system needs one kind or other of reform," he said.
But, "to over-regulate the electoral system," he said "leaves no room for innovation or administrative solutions to unforeseen problems or even to take advantage of new electoral products".
"We urge the committee to critically and dispassionately examine the principle of no verification no vote, as it currently operates under the election law," he added.

The committee is also required to come up with the most cost effective ways of managing Ghana's elections, promoting transparency, accountability and stimulating collaboration with stakeholders to ease tensions.

Ghana recorded a historic case brought before the Supreme Court by the New Patriotic Party over alleged widespread irregularities in some polling centres during the 2012 elections.

Although the final verdict by the court affirmed John Dramani Mahama as the elected president, it said the petition had exposed the need for electoral reforms.

The inauguration of the committee last Friday is seen as a step in the right direction to forestall any future election dispute, particularly with local elections due in March and presidential and parliamentary elections tabled for December 2016.

Already the commission has retrained its staff, established a training school and at is embarking on a nationwide training for journalists on elections covering to better inform the electorate, understand its laws and operations in order to minimise hostilities or controversies.

-The Africa Report

No comments:

Post a Comment