CADA suggests EC- Civil Society collaboration in public education
5/11/2012 4:30:17 PM -
Accra, May 11, GNA - The Centre for African Democratic Affairs (CADA) has recommended that any new system being introduced in the country's electoral process be tested well ahead of time so that potential challenges would be identified and rectified early enough before full implementation.
It has also suggested that the Electoral Commission (EC) should consider outsourcing part of its public education duties to one of the local civil society organizations that has a wider representation across the country for a more effective coverage.
The Centre made these recommendations in a report compiled on the just-ended biometric voter registration exercise and issued to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
It said given the accessibility challenges in most parts of the country, especially in the rural areas, the deployment of qualified technicians to handle faulty equipment used for such exercises should not be limited to the district and regional offices of the EC alone but should be extended to the constituency levels for easy access and maximum effect.
Operators of such equipment should also be given basic training in troubleshooting to enable them to deal with minor faults on the ground, it added.
The report cited the case of a registration centre in Tema where the Data Entry Clerk had a problem printing out the forms and had to call a technician at the District Office of the EC on mobile phone to come and help fix the problem. It observed that the registration process at that centre would have been brought to a halt if the problem had occurred in a remote part of the country where there was no mobile phone service.
Another pertinent observation the organisation made in the report was the non-inspection of finger prints on the part of registration officials to check the presence or otherwise of indelible ink marks, and noted that in most cases registration officials went ahead to process applicants when the relevant identification documents were provided.
"This practice could contribute greatly to the high number of multiple registration detected at the end of Phase Three (about 4000)", it stated, and advised that rather than assume that the biometric voter registration system was capable of detecting multiple registration all by itself, registration officials needed to pay more attention to such details.
It indicated that the EC had over the years demonstrated its capability to handle its own operations, and therefore government official including Ministers of State, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, as well as political party executives at all levels, should refrain from entering registration/polling centres without proper authorization from the EC.
CADA also urged the other registered political parties to actively participate in the electoral process in order to minimize what it called 'the direct competition between the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress' which was creating tension in the country.