‘Give us timetable for 2016 elections’

BY: Victor Kwawukume
Electoral Commissioner, Mrs Charlotte Osei

The general secretaries of the various political parties have called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to publish a clear timetable of activities leading to the 2016 general election.

According to them, the EC ought to be proactive and act with urgency in view of the closeness of next year’s elections.

That, they said, should include plans for the implementation of the recommendations submitted by the Electoral Reforms Committee.

This was contained in a communique issued by the Platform of General Secretaries under the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP) after its last meeting held on November 4, 2015.

It was attended by representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC), the four political parties with representation in Parliament.

STL

The communique said a key issue of concern regarding the work of the EC was the purported management of its database by STL Company.

It, therefore, called on the EC to publicly clarify the nature of its relationship with STL and clearly spell out the role the company would play in the 2016 elections.

Concern

It also expressed concern about the over-politicisation of Ghana’s security agencies and called on all security agencies to act with professionalism and neutrality in the discharge of their duties, particularly in dealing with electoral issues.

It recommended that the educational and professional training curricula of the military, the police and the other security agencies be enhanced with modules on managing election-related security issues.

The communique noted that there was wide consensus on the fact that the voters register contained illegal entries and urged the political parties and all other stakeholders to work closely with the EC to ensure that Ghana had an acceptable register ahead of the 2016 elections.

Hate speech

It called on politicians to eschew pronouncements which tended to undermine the peace and cohesion of the country.

It further cautioned against reckless threats to Ghana’s peace and security by politicians as a way of getting the EC to meet their demands regarding the voters register.

The communique strongly condemned election-related criminal offences and called for the prosecution of all such offences.

‘Clash politics’  in media

It also condemned the practice of ‘clash politics’, where the media pitted one political commentator against another in a way to incite harsh exchanges and engender ill-feeling among politicians.

It further called on all politicians to put Ghana’s interest above all else and resist being used as agents of ‘clash politics’ by the media.

With regard to Election 2016, the communique urged the media to act with circumspection and be guided by the principles of truth and a consideration of the broader national interest.