High level of mistrust in EC can impede elections 2020 -EC
The Electoral Commission (EC) has intimated that the high level of mistrust in it by some political parties and institutions can impede the 2020 elections.
According to the electoral body, some institutions and political parties don’t trust the credibility of the EC in the execution of its job, and this could go a long way to affect the upcoming elections.
Mr Alexander Poku Akubia, Acting Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the EC, said this at a conference held in Accra last week Friday.
The programme was organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, and was hinged on the theme “Independent Governance Institution and the 2020: Some Reflections.”
It brought four Independent Governance Institutions (IGIs), namely the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Electoral Commission (EC), National Media Commission (NMC) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to deliberate on the issue.
The purpose of the programme was to examine the various factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral processes, and to ascertain whether the processes are being prosecuted according to democratic and international standards. It was also to interrogate steps being taken by the IGI’s to instill confidence that the electoral procedures would be open, fair, transparent, inclusive and accountable.
With the NCCE, the ministry sought to examine the institutional capacity of the body for the conduct of voter education, while it interrogated the NMC on its regulatory framework to guide the conduct of media practitioners in the coming elections.
CHRAJ, on the other hand, was to review the human rights dimensions of democratic elections in Ghana and their implications for the conduct of the 2020 elections, and to deepen the collaboration between the Ministry and the IGIs to support the consolidation of Ghana’s democracy.
Aside the IGIs, other important dignitaries who shared their experiences and intellect at the table were the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader of Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mr Joseph Osei-Wusu, and Minority Leader in Parliament Mr Haruna Iddrisu.
The EC representative also observed that unprofessional and inaccurate media reportage, as well as political vigilantism, could also hinder the smooth conduct of the 2020 elections.
In addition, the recruitment of inappropriate personnel and technical problems, intimidation of voters and late declaration of results, were other threats the EC fears might hinder Election 2020.
“However, we have put in measures to ensure that efficient, effective and smooth conduct of the elections,” the EC representative said.
He indicated that the EC had recruited people with high academic qualifications, and extended its training programmes for the purposes of the elections. He said this was to ensure quality and effective work at the registration and polling centers.
“We have also collaborated with the NCCE to educate the citizenry on the electoral processes,” said Mr Akubia.
Mr Akubia said the EC had put measures in place to protect the citizenry from the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
On her part, the NCCE Chairperson, Madam Josephine Nkrumah, indicated that though it is usually faced with inadequate funding, her outfit would intensify its mandate on educating the public.
Madam Nkrumah said that the education would be to ensure peace before, during and after the elections, reduce voter apathy, respect voting procedure on election day, education on hotspot constituencies, and respect public health safety measures.
She said her outfit would also organise the interparty dialogue committee at the district and constituency levels for the purposes of the elections.
She said the NCCE would also conduct parliamentary candidate debates in all 275 constituencies for the constituents to engage the candidates and make informed choices. In addition, three presidential candidate debates would also be organised in three zones, namely the Northern, Middle and Southern belts.
The Commissioner for CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, on his part, said it will be issuing advisory opinions in regards to corruption and other rights issues. He, therefore, charged that Ghanaians should report issues of abuse of rights to the commission.
Mr Kwesi Gyan-Appenteng, Chairman of the National Media Commission, also said his outfit was working with the Information Ministry to develop a framework that would guarantee the media’s security and safety, and guidelines on hate speech during elections.
He said the commission had, together with the Peace Council, established media advisory boards in the various regions to adjudicate issues that may arise during the elections.