Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ghana: Political parties demand 2016 elections roadmap from EC

General Secretaries of political parties in Ghana have asked the Electoral Commission (EC) release a timetable for elections in 2016.

The General Secretaries of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC) met under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) to deliberate on election and other matters ahead of next year’s polls.

The party General Secretaries meet every month under the IEA Ghana Political Parties Programme (IEA-GPPP) to find solutions to, and deliberate on pertinent national issues.
At the last meeting of the Platform of General Secretaries held on November 4, 2015, participants noted that a key issue of concern to them is  the purported management of the EC database by STL Company.

“Members called on the EC to publicly clarify the nature of its relationship with STL, and clearly spell out the role STL will play in Ghana’s 2016 elections,” said a communiqué released after the meeting.

Below is the full communiqué released after the last IEA-GPPP meeting.

As part of their commitment to deepening democracy in Ghana, leaders of political parties under the IEA Ghana Political Parties Programme (IEA-GPPP) meet on a monthly basis to deliberate on pertinent national issues in a non-partisan way to reach consensus and find solutions. The last meeting of the Platform of General Secretaries was held on 4th November 2015 at The IEA. It was attended by representatives of the four political parties with representation in Parliament, namely NDC, NPP, CPP and PNC.

As part of their deliberations, members discussed Ghana’s Preparations ahead of the 2016 General Elections. They made key recommendations for safeguarding the interest of the nation before, during and after the elections.


Electoral Commission
•  The Platform called on the EC to be proactive and act with urgency in view of the closeness of the 2016 elections. It called on the EC to publish a clear timetable of activities leading up to the elections. This should include plans for implementation of the recommendations submitted by the Electoral Reform Committee.

• The Platform noted that a key issue of concern regarding the work of the EC was the purported management of its database by STL Company. Members called on the EC to publicly clarify the nature of its relationship with STL, and clearly spell out the role STL will play in Ghana’s 2016 elections.

• Members of the Platform noted that there was wide consensus that Ghana’s Voters Register contains illegal entries. The Platform therefore urged political parties and all other stakeholders to work closely with the EC to ensure that Ghana has an acceptable Register ahead of the 2016 elections.

• The Platform called on politicians to eschew pronouncements which tend to undermine the peace and cohesion of the country. In particular, they cautioned against reckless threats to Ghana’s peace and security as a way of getting the EC to meet their demands regarding the Voters Register.
Security Agencies

•The Platform expressed concern about the over politicization of Ghana’s security agencies. It called on all security agencies to act with professionalism and neutrality in the discharge of their duties, particularly in dealing with electoral issues.

•Members of the Platform recommended that the educational and professional training curricula of the military, police and other security agencies be enhanced with modules on managing election-related security issues. This is necessary in order to bring the professional conduct of Ghana’s security agencies at par with international best practice standards.

•The Platform strongly condemned election-related criminal offences, and called for prosecution of all such offences. These include offences such as multiple registrations, impersonation, etc. Additionally, past allegations of unlawful conduct of presiding officers to undermine the integrity of the poll must be investigated and prosecuted accordingly.

•Members condemned the practice of clash politics, where the media pitch one political commentator against another in a way so as to incite harsh exchanges and engender ill feeling among politicians.

•The Platform further called on all politicians to put Ghana’s interest above all else, and resist being used as agents of clash politics by the media.

•Going into Election 2016, the media must act with circumspection and be guided by principles of truth and a consideration of the broader national interest.

Issued this 4th November, 2015 by the Platform of General Secretaries under the IEA Ghana Political Parties Programme represented by:

Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, General Secretary, National Democratic Congress (NDC)

Mr. Kwabena Agyepong, General Secretary, New Patriotic Party (NPP)

Nii Armah Akomfrah, General Secretary, Convention Peoples Party (CPP)

Mr. Bernard Mornah, General Secretary, Peoples National Convention (PNC)

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