Abolish the ‘strong room’, IEA tells EC

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) says the all famous election strong room must be abolished due to its negative pejorations.

The Electoral Commission’s ‘Strong Room’ has for many years served as a strategic location for collation of election results.

The Room has only the EC chair and a few representatives of political parties who peruse results that come in from different constituencies across the country before collating them.

Many stories are told about how heated and sometimes chaotic the Strong Room is and about how political party representatives had to be vigilant in the strong room in order to jealously protect their election victories.

The IEA is convinced the Strong Room has outlived its usefulness and must be abolished.

In a report issued in Accra as part of The IEA Electoral Reform Project, Dr. Ransford Gyampo, Research Fellow of the Governance Unit of the IEA noted that the “idea of a ‘Strong Room’ with very huge security presence conjures negative and derogatory images that undermine transparency and electoral peace.”

According to him, the “Strong Room” is perceived as a place where election results from the regions are cooked or manipulated in favour of a political party.  

“In the view of the IEA, this derogatory perception undermines the credibility of the Election Management Body.”

In place of the “strong room” the IEA is calling for the setting up of a more transparent National collation centre that will be opened and accessible to as many political party representatives, the media, election observers and other civil society organisations.

The IEA’s call for a replacement of the “strong room” with the National Collation Centre will not in any way compromise the autonomy and independence of the Electoral Commission. It would rather boost the image of the EC as a more credible and transparent body as well as reduce the high perception of, and sometimes, incidence of electoral fraud that have characterize elections in Ghana”, Dr Gyampo noted.

“Let the EC begin discussions on all proposals for electoral reform now,” he charged.

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