Executive Director of CEDI-Africa: Elections Should Be Shifted From December To October

The Executive Director of the Centre for Development Integrity, CEDI-Africa, Bernard Ohene Baah says elections in Ghana should be held earlier in order to give the parties’ ample time to resolve any inconsistencies they perceive during and after the general elections.

Bernard Ohene Baah proposed that Ghana’s elections period should be shifted from December to October because to him, the month of October would be an appropriate period for the elections to be held so as to avoid any possibilities of election fraud.

Speaking in an interview with Radio Gold on Tuesday, he said when the elections are held earlier in October, the parties will get enough time to check the irregularities that occur during the polls, and so, the country’s productivity will not be affected.

He was speaking in relation to the ongoing election case before the Supreme Court.

According to him, the long hours devoted to televise the election dispute and the protracted nature of the petition affect productivity and therefore decelerate the progress of the economy.

He griped about the repercussions that the live telecast of the elections have on the economy, therefore stating that “we should balance it with the need for the country to work and produce.”

He explained that due to the live broadcast, a large chunk of the workers in both the public and private sectors are frequently glued to their television sets and invariably devote several hours to watch the proceedings at the expense of work.

This he stated slows down progress and adversely affects Ghana’s yield.

He was of the view that “elections should be run a bit earlier than the 7th December that we have presently. Now, moving forward, we are sure that challenges will not have to do with which vote is a legal vote and which vote should be annulled. No, it will be down to the numbers…Not a case of anybody trying to say that this vote, we don’t think it’s legal; this one is a legal one.

“That gives us two clear months before a President is sworn-in. Now, with the two months, you are able to resolve all lingering issues. So, by the time, somebody is sworn-in; he has his peace of mind. He has the focus to deliver on his mandate.”

He wondered how the nation can balance the live broadcast of the elections “with the situation where all day, from 10am to 4pm, majority of the citizens are watching TV; watching election petition? It’s a challenge that must be dealt with. We’ve had our researchers going round doing observational studies in government, Ministries, agencies and departments, private sector organizations. And I tell you, everywhere they go, people are watching TV at the time they are supposed to be working.”

He therefore called for a delayed broadcast of the election conflict between the three leaders of the opposition New Patriotic Party and the Electoral Commission, challenging the validity of votes cast for President John Dramani Mahama in the 7th December, 2012 polls.