The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Mensa, has said the commission was committed to working with the law in order to meet the expectations of Ghanaians, emphasising that it will not relent in its efforts to meet and even exceed those expectations.
She said in doing so, the commission would rely on the credible brands of the Graphic Communications Group (GCGL) Ltd to propagate relevant content towards the success of its programmes from now and beyond the 2020 general election.
Mrs Mensa said the integrity and professionalism associated with the brand ‘Graphic’ provided the EC with an avenue to transmit its programmes and activities to the totality of Ghanaians and expressed the confidence that its messages would be delivered accurately.
“The Daily Graphic is the leading credible daily brand, together with its sister brands, including graphiconline, and we value this partnership to help put the commission in a positive light,” she said.
The EC Chairperson said this during an interaction with the Managing Director of the GCGL, Mr Ato Afful, and some managers, when she paid a visit to the Head Office of the GCGL in Accra yesterday.
The visit was to seek the support and partnership of the management of the GCGL as the EC fulfilled its constitutional mandate to conduct free, fair and transparent elections.
Accompanying Mrs Mensa were two deputies of the EC, Dr Eric Bossman Asare and Mr Samuel Tettey; a member of the commission, Ms Adwoa Asuama Abrefa, and some members of staff.
The other members of the GCGL team at the meeting were the Director of News, Mrs Mavis Kitcher; the acting Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kingsley K. Inkoom; the Political Editor, Mr Kobby Asmah; the Director of Marketing, Mr Franklin Sowa, and the Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Emmanuel Agyei Arthur.
Limited registration exercise
Shedding light on the upcoming limited voter registration exercise, the Deputy Commissioner of the EC in charge of Operations, Mr Tettey, said the exercise would make use of the voter management system which had already been installed in all the district offices of the EC.
He explained, however, that in the other selected electoral areas that had been added because of their difficult terrain and the riverine nature of some of them, the EC would deploy biometric devices to be used in capturing the data of applicants and they would later be transferred to the main database of the commission.
Mr Tettey urged the public to disregard the notion that “online registration” meant one could go on the Internet and register, using the EC’s portal, explaining that “you must be physically present at the designated centres to be registered”.
The Deputy Commissioner in charge of Corporate Services, Mr Asare, said the EC, in all its dealings, had committed itself to ensuring value for money.
“We are using taxpayers’ money and we must ensure that we use resources with care and due diligence,” he said.
The MD of the GCGL, Mr Afful, said as part of its national mandate, the GCGL stood for truth, accuracy and fair presentation of facts to meaningfully communicate with, educate and inform the populace.
In addition to their mandate, he said, the media were critical partners in national development and a major driver of peace.
“As we seek partnership, we extend a warm hand of support and we will continue to avail the Graphic Group and all its brands to the EC as we prepare for the 2020 elections.
“We commit unreservedly to support and partner the EC as we develop a strong and respected commission that will enable all of us attain credible, free and fair elections for this country, so that we will continue to enjoy the harmony we have enjoyed over the past 60 years,” Mr Afful added.
Mrs Kitcher, for her part, said as a state-owned media outlet, the GCGL desired to partner all state institutions to inform the public about national issues to help achieve national cohesion.
“When people have the right information, they do the right things, but when there is lack of information and half-truths are bandied everywhere, there is confusion,” she said.
She appealed to the EC to open up to reporters of the company whenever they needed election-related information.
Mr Inkoom pledged that the leading newspaper in the country would provide leverage for the EC to propagate its work.
While acknowledging the already good working relationship between the company and the EC over the years, he expressed optimism that the relationship would be sustained, especially as the country prepared for the district assembly elections and the general election in 2020.
Mr Asmah said since an ill-informed media could not inform society accurately, it was extremely important that those who had information shared it with the media.
“If we fail to do that, the repercussion will be that we will broadcast and publish stories that will not do society any good. Therefore, I want to reiterate the need for us to be given information when we come knocking on the doors of the EC,” he stressed.
He said as a news medium, the Daily Graphic, for instance, continuously received information which “we need to cross-check and verify”, stressing: “We are not the social media but the GCGL and our mantra is truth and accuracy.
We would not want to publish any news item that is inaccurate.”