A Senior Lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Dr. Ransford Gyampoh is questioning the rationale behind the Electoral Commission’s formation of an Election Steering Committee without broad consultations.
According to him, the distrust that political parties and some Ghanaians have for the Electoral Commission will only be deepened by such actions and decisions which are not based on consensus from key political actors in the country.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Dr. Gyampo said the Electoral Commission must be seen to be actively implementing the reforms that were agreed upon in the aftermath of the 2012 elections rather than creating bodies such as the Steering Committee.
“My own issue is that, why do we need that committee? In my view, the EC may mean well in putting in place that committee, but given the feeling of distrust that many Ghanaians and political parties have in the EC and the current legitimacy deficit that the EC faces in view of the post 2012 election, it seems that everything good or initiative that the EC will put in place to an extent, brings some distrust among its key stakeholders and it is not the best. There can be no meaningful discussion of building a strong institution without public confidence in such institutions.”
He noted that, “one way to restore public confidence in the EC is for it to be proactively and publicly be seen to be implementing proposals for electoral reforms which have been submitted to it. This is the only way out, otherwise anything they do maybe seeing as the EC majoring on minor issues.”
Dr. Ransford Gyampo is also advising the Electoral Commission not to succumb to all the demands of political parties but to strike a balance in dealing with them.
“The EC is an independent organisation and it must not necessarily pander to the whims and caprices of political parties. Bu the point must also be made that over the years, if IPAC wasn’t useful then it should have been disbanded by now. Over the years the EC has executed its mandate well because it has worked with the IPAC; so it has been a good relationship between the two without the EC necessarily lording its independence over the IPAC. So there has to be a balance,” he said.
Mandate of the steering committee
The National Election Steering Committee is to ensure a smooth and peaceful 2016 elections. Apart from the 10 members, the seven Commissioners of the EC are also members with Mrs Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, being the Chairperson of the Committee, while the Director of Elections will serve as a Secretary to the Committee.
The Committee is to share ideas and harmonize activities of the Commission to ensure that there is adequate security before, during and after the 2016 election.
“…Of the 18 members, eight are from the commission and the remaining ten come from institutions that the commission decided should have representation on the committee”, Mr Owusu Parry, Public Affairs Director of the EC, recently told Citi News. –
By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana