General News of Saturday, 24 January 2015
The Electoral Commission (EC) has inaugurated a 10-member committee made up of commission members, political parties and civil society organisations to examine proposals for electoral reforms in the country.
The committee, which is chaired by Ms Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, Deputy Chairperson of EC responsible for Finance and Administration, has other members as Mrs Rebecca Kabukie Adjalo, Member of the EC and Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, Director of Public Affairs of the commission.
Members from the political parties are Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia of the National Democratic Congress, Mr Peter Mac Manu of the New Patriotic Party, Mr James Kwabena Bomfeh (Junior) of the Convention People’s Party and Mr Anin-Kofi Addo of the Yes People’s Party.
Membership of the civil society organisations (CSOs) includes Dr Kwesi Jonah of Institute for Democratic Governance, Dr Ransford Gyampoh, Institute of Economic Affairs and Dr Franklin Oduro of Centre for Democratic Development.
Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman, charged members to have an eye for changes that would bolster the integrity of Ghana’s electoral system as well as its independence.
He said the committee should work to come up with the most cost effective ways of managing elections, promoting transparency and accountability as well as stimulating collaboration with stakeholders to ease tensions.
“Electoral systems are not finished products, they evolve over time, so from time to time every electoral system needs one kind or other of reform,” he said.
Dr Afari-Gyan advised committee members to be cautious not to over-regulate the electoral system, which he described as “leaves no room for innovation or administrative solutions to unforeseen problems or even to take advantage of new electoral products”.
“We urge the committee to critically and dispassionately examine the principle of no verification no vote as it currently operates under the election law,” he added.
Following the 2012 presidential election petition, there was a clamour for electoral reforms from the political parties, CSOs, individuals and technical staff of the EC forcing the commission to initiate road map for the process.
The EC compiled the proposals together with recommendations made from the Supreme Court ruling into a publication and submitted to the political parties for scrutiny.
The committee’s terms of reference include examining the proposal for electoral reforms submitted to the EC, make changes to existing laws, rules and regulations as well as alter administrative procedures and arrangements.
They are also to determine which proposals are worthy of adoption and indicate the form in which each change to be adopted is to be incorporated into the electoral system.
The committee is expected to submit a report to the EC on its findings within three months.