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Mon, Aug

Time for dialogue on electoral issues

It is not uncommon for any individual or political party to sue the Electoral Commission (EC) because it is a body established by law.

Consequently, anyone challenging the decisions of the EC in the line of its work is encouraged by the law that established the EC [the Electoral Commission Act (Act 451) of 1993] to seek redress or interpretation of those decisions at the court if he or she so desires.

Indeed, the immediate past EC Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, was quoted on many occasions as saying to people who challenged its decisions: “If you have any problem, go to court.”

In the run-up to the December 7, 2016 elections, some suits have already been brought against the EC, notably a suit filed by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) challenging the filing fee for presidential aspirants which it viewed as too high.

Although the court quashed the application to place an injunction on the EC, the PPP, along with other parties which believe that the EC erred in disqualifying their presidential aspirants, is in the news again. The other disqualified aspirants are also contemplating taking the EC to court over the same matter. 

Some people have expressed worry that the suits being filed against the EC, when the elections are just around the corner, may result in a constitutional crisis, especially if the courts are not able to expedite action on the suits before Election Day.

But that is not our worry, as we believe that we will not experience a constitutional crisis as is feared.

However, while we believe that it is every Ghanaian’s inalienable right to go to court over any decision taken by the EC that does not sit well with him or her, it is our opinion that another option worth exploring is alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

The Daily Graphic is of the view that instead of resorting to the courts all the time, the aggrieved parties, individuals and the EC should agree to dialogue on some of the issues that have the propensity to make the coming elections murky.

If all parties agree to meet and dispassionately and without animosity talk about issues such as the ones that resulted in the disqualification of the 12 presidential aspirants, we believe that there will be an amicable settlement and all the parties will be satisfied with the outcome of such a meeting.

We, therefore, call for the reactivation of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to deal with all the issues raised against the EC as the election draws near.

That way, we believe that we will all, with enthusiasm, look forward to and be able to enter the elections as one people, without anyone feeling slighted or deliberately pushed out, to ensure we have fair and peaceful elections that we all yearn for.

The decisions of the IPAC are not binding on the EC, but since its meetings are attended by officials of the EC, that platform will help ease the tension between the EC and the key stakeholders.

We know the IPAC had, in the past, resolved some thorny issues. Surely it can help clear the doubt in the mind of the electorate that the processes towards Election 2016 are in danger.