Cash-strapped EC may call off Assembly Elections

From Samuel Agbewode, Sokode-Lokoe

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman, Electoral Commission (left), Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh - Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (right)

The district assembly elections, scheduled to take place all over the country on Tuesday, December 28, is threatening to become a non-event. According to Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission, it had not received funding for the exercise, barely three weeks to the event.

In spite of the financial constraints, the commission, he assured the Ghanaian electorate, was preparing for the elections, so that if funds are released from the central government fund, his outfit would not be found wanting.

The EC Chairman said this when he took key personnel from the Information Services Department, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), and staff of the EC – all drawn from the Volta Region – through the rudiments of elections, and how participants could assist in public education on the impending elections, at a workshop organised at Ho yesterday.

Dr. Afari Gyan told the participants that his outfit had shown great commitment towards the elections, but the non-availability of funds would leave them with no option than to suspend it.

He warned that the late release of funds could also affect the quality of the ballot papers they intend to print, and warned that pictures against names of candidates could mix up.
He said the amendment of the Legislative Instrument (LI) for each of the electoral areas contributed to the delay in the holding of the elections.

The EC boss said in every election, there should be adequate public education on the exercise, to create public interest for more people to participate in the exercise. Unfortunately, there have been little funds to engage in such education campaigns this time round.

He regretted that some of the media houses do not consider the exercise a civil one, with the insistence of payment for advertisements before passing on any information from the Electoral Commission to the public.

“You see, sections of the media are not helping us in carrying out public education activities, but I must admit that others are very helpful, and as a Commission, we know them. How can we, as a Commission, pay these media houses that demand money before we make announcements, when we don’t have the money?”

Dr. Afari Gyan cautioned politicians to stay away from supporting candidates, because it was unacceptable for them to even mount the platforms of any candidate.

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