EIU Lauds Creation Of National Enforcement Body
5/4/2012 10:08:38 AM -
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has described the setting up of a National Enforcement Body to monitor adherence to the Code of Conduct for political parties as a positive development for Ghana’s already enviable democratic credentials.
The EIU is, therefore, hopeful that with the creation of the body, which has representatives from all sides to monitor and investigate abuses, it could go some way to ensure that the code was followed.
In its April report, the EIU said it also gave the body the opportunity to prove that it was a serious institution, stressing that if it, however, “fails to act decisively against blatant breaches of the code, its creation could actually backfire and contribute to the undermining of the election’s legitimacy in the event of widespread scepticism and distrust.”
On the government’s decision to boycott the Multi Media Group, the EIU said the decision did the government no favours with the electorate but rather provided an easy target for the opposition groups to claim that the government was acting in contravention of the country’s rights and laws regarding free speech.
“That the government backtracked so quickly indicates that the move was probably not fully thought through and the level of criticism it prompted was most likely not expected. Such missteps in an election year serve as a reminder that the ruling party will be vulnerable come December 2012,” it said.
It also said that the New Patriotic Party’s accusations of plans by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to rig the December 2012 elections through the manipulating of the biometric register, is setting the “ground for post-electoral attacks by the NPP should it lose the election.”
“If this type of rhetoric continues over the coming months, the legitimacy of the election results will be at risk, regardless of whether the polls were free and fair, as so many doubts are being sown within the electorate beforehand,” it said.
In its April 2012 Monthly Political Scene Review Report on Ghana, the EIU, a UK-based publishing think-tank, noted that in spite of calls for political parties to avoid inflammatory remarks and unfounded accusations, “the opposition, NPP, has been busily accusing the ruling NDC of attempting to rig the December elections through manipulating the biometric voter registration exercise that began in late March”.
It said while the Convention People’s Party has expressed its confidence in the registration exercise, “the NPP has accused the NDC of planning to register minors to boost its numbers, as well as ordering its supporters to intimidate NPP members who attempt to register.”
According to the EIU, “this type of attack on the registration process before it has even got up to full speed is worryingly symptomatic of the tenor of politics in the country at the moment.”
It stated that “Such accusations without proof threaten to undermine public confidence in the election results and lay the ground for post-electoral attacks by the NPP should it lose the election.”