It has emerged that the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) under the leadership of the current chair of the Electoral Commission Jean Mensah advised the then head of the electoral body Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan against compiling new voters register during election years.
The advice came on the back of the chaos that followed the 2012 elections which ended up in court. The advice which was part of the IEA’s proposed electoral reforms submitted to the electoral commission among other things blamed the 8-month-long election petition on the mistrust that heralded the election as a result of the new voters’ register.
The report sighted by Starrfm.com.gh mentioned activities including “Biometric Voter Registration, Exhibition of Voters’ Register, Review and Creation of an additional forty-five constituencies and seats in Parliament, etc, etc. Needless to say, these activities undoubtedly overstretched the capacity of the Electoral Commission to successfully undertake and accomplish all its pre-election programs and still organize the 2012 General Elections successfully. But why should all these activities be undertaken at the time when key actors in our electoral process, particularly the Political Parties were very busy touring all parts of the country campaigning? Why should we sit down and wait till the eleventh hour?.
“Things done in a rush are susceptible to costly mistakes. Indeed such crash activities are a recipe for distrust, tension and the raising of unnecessary alarms over issues that could ideally pass without any qualms from the key stakeholders”.
The IEA, therefore, reminded the EC, to as a matter of urgency, publish with timelines its programmes and execute it expeditiously without delay.
The proposed reforms were put together after the IEA met the political parties in two separate meetings sponsored by the IEA.
The Electoral Commission now headed by Mrs. Jean Mensah has maintained it will compile a new register for the December polls despite concerns from some major political parties and civil society groups.
The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) for instance has described as unnecessary the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to compile new voters register ahead of this year’s election.
“I am not really convinced [with the reasons given so far, ]. So far as the recent election is concerned, it [current register] has not deteriorated so much. It has been quite consistent. This is not a big issue. It is not something that we cannot manage if we really want to have a clean register,” Team Lead for Elections at CDD Ghana, Rhoda Osei Afful told Accra-based Citi FM.