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Mon, Sep

We can prevent constitutional crisis with dialogue

Electoral Commissioner Charlotte Osei, Albert Arhin of CODEO

In our editorial yesterday, we recommended the resort to dialogue among the various stakeholders in the upcoming elections as an alternative to the suits being filed against the Electoral Commission (EC).

Our suggestion was informed by the numerous suits being filed against the EC by political parties which have had their presidential aspirants disqualified from taking part in the presidential election as a result of discrepancies detected on their forms submitted to the EC.

The Daily Graphic finds it expedient to re-echo its suggestion in view of new developments on the political landscape with reference to the December 7 elections.

We find that although public institutions such as the EC would do themselves more good than harm when they adequately make bare to stakeholders the real facts on issues on the burner, there seems to be delays in releasing much needed information and some secrecy around such issues, thereby allowing people to make unhealthy conjectures.

There are some pending issues such as the determination of the fate of one of the presidential aspirants, Mr Akwasi Addai Odike of the United Progressive Party (UPP), whose forms were not approved because some party executives had filed a suit against him to restrain him from holding himself as the flag bearer of the party.

Although at the press conference at which the EC Chair, Mrs Charlotte Osei, had announced the disqualification of the 12 aspirants, she said Mr Odike had been given up to Friday, October 14, 2016, when his case would be heard, to determine his fate, Ghanaians are still in the dark as to the EC’s position now, in spite of the fact that the date has elapsed.

But while we urge the EC to speed up the release of important information on the elections to stakeholders, we also believe that the concerns expressed by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) that the EC’s plan to hold the general election in December might be disrupted should be critically looked at. 

CODEO believes that the election process might delay because of the legal suits by the disqualified presidential aspirants of some of the parties, especially if the courts are not able to expedite action on the suits and they are stretched through adjournments.

Given that the EC also needs time to determine the placement of qualified presidential candidates on the ballot paper through balloting, the suits against the EC must be seen as a real threat to the commission working within its prepared time frame to meet the December 7 polls.

As of now, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has filed a suit against the EC, while the presidential aspirants of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Mr Henry Herbert Lartey, and the National Democratic Party (NDP), Mrs Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, are yet to make good their intention to sue the EC.

This is why, with only 50 days to go for the elections, we urge the EC and all the other stakeholders to hasten the process to commence dialogue on issues of concern to all parties to ensure that we have a smooth electoral process towards Election Day.