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Begging for answers from Electoral Commission

BY: Kobby Asmah
Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa - EC Chairperson
Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa - EC Chairperson

Would I be asking for too much if I asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to furnish all Ghanaians with the options available to them in terms of the political parties that are duly registered and qualified to contest the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections?

What about those parties that are not in good standing but have come chest out disturbing the process?

Political Parties

Per the Political Parties Act 2000 (Act 574), all political parties must have offices in the districts and constituencies across the country and no party will be registered unless it has, on its National Executive Committee, one member from each region where the party has branches and is, in addition, organised in not less than two-thirds of the districts in each region.

Have all the 26 or so registered political parties been able to meet these requirements and others?”

In my previous article a fortnight ago, I did ask: “Are Ghana’s political parties playing to the rules?” I further asked: “Do the political parties only exist in and for election years?”

In this article, I would further like to ask about independent candidates. When do we recognise individuals as independent candidates? Is it enough for such individuals to be recognised as independent just because they once or twice contested elections, for which reason, as a matter of law, they must be registered and accepted by the election management body?

All these and many more questions are begging for answers from the EC to sanitise the electoral process.

Status

Ghana has a multi-party system, however, there are two dominant political parties (NDC and NPP), with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party.

The time has, therefore, come for the EC to regularly disseminate timely information on the status of all political parties to the populace to prep everyone up.

Under the Fourth Republican journey, we definitely need to improve institutions of governance and the EC must take the lead role.

The onus lies on the EC to crack the whip and also rope in all stakeholders, including the National Commission for Civic Education and the media, to help the citizenry understand better the processes leading to the crucial elections scheduled for December 7, this year.

In so doing, all primary and secondary stakeholders must be fully engaged by the EC on its plans, the uniqueness of the 2020 elections, new approaches and decisions et al so that we will be on the same page as we march towards the December 7, polls.

Ghana is considered the beacon of democracy in Africa with peaceful turnovers of power and no experience of widespread electoral violence.

We must however bear in mind that some people will be voting for the first time, and four years since the last election in 2016, is a long enough period so there is the need to refresh people’s minds about the electoral processes.

We should not assume that all Ghanaians must know how to conduct themselves pre, during and after elections.

I urge a change in the status quo where we always wait till the last quarter of the year before we hurry to send messages across on how to comport ourselves during the election and how to fold the ballot paper among others.

Will it be too difficult to ask if we can’t start with those very important announcements right away before December 7?

ROPAA

Even those of us in the media wonder what the current status of the Representation of the People Amendment Act (ROPAA) 2006 (Act 699) is, after the EC’s request for extension which expires in January 2020, was granted.

While I am aware that the EC has had some engagements with Ghanaians living abroad on the ROPAA after the court granted the extension, it is not clear what inroads the EC’s implementation committee, headed by a Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Dr Bossman Asare, has been able to achieve so far.

I believe that the ordinary Ghanaian is entitled to information on this and many more and pray the EC to bring everyone into the elections picture.

As the country prepared to move toward constitutional rule, the major concern of Ghanaians was how to ensure a relatively smooth and peaceful democratic transition.

We, therefore, need to improve institutions of governance so we do not end up with missing links.

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