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01.12.2020 Press Statement

Swift Institute For Public Policy Options on attacks on the EC and current electoral processes

Swift Institute For Public Policy Options on attacks on the EC and current electoral processes
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The Swift Institute for Public Policy Options has noted with some concern the current and orchestrated attacks on Ghana’s Electoral Commission.

The impression that has been sponsored and deliberately fostered in the minds of the public, in Ghana and on the international arena, is that the Electoral Commission is out on an agenda to rig the upcoming general election in favour of one party as against others, and we believe that this is unfortunate, in the absence of any clear evidence to that effect.

  1. The Swift Institute for Public Policy Options believes that all actors in our political space have a duty to speak out when it is clear and the evidence is preponderant to demonstrate that things are not as they should be. If there is evidence of rigging or favouritism, it should be made clear.
  2. However, in the absence of such evidence, we do not think that it is healthy for our democracy for an atmosphere of suspicion to be deliberately fostered and engendered to create fear and disaffection for the Electoral Commission.
  3. The Swift Institute for Public Policy Options notes that strangely, it is the attempts by the Electoral Commission to create a greater degree of transparency in its operations, that is leading to the attacks on the EC.
  4. These innovations from the Electoral Commission include but are not limited to the decision to publish an online version of the Voters Register, and the decision to ensure that the results of the 2020 general elections are published as soon as possible.
  5. These decisions have brought the EC under a veritable barrage of attacks, which we believe is counter-productive of all aspirations of the generality of Ghanaians as to how the EC should conduct its affairs.
  6. We recall that in times past, the Electoral Commission had conducted its affairs under very opaque circumstances, and had totally refused to acknowledge that it is responsible to Ghanaians for its conduct.
  7. We recall that in the 1990s and the 2000s, when the EC operated under Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan and later Madam Charlotte Osei, the EC operated under a cloak of great opacity, such that hardly anybody had access to how the EC conducted its affairs.
  8. Not only did Ghanaians not know what took place behind the walls of the EC, we also were not even privileged to be given responses to general concerns, and even when the EC deigned to respond, it was contemptuous in its approach, insisting that it had constitutional independence and immunity.
  9. We recall, for instance, that in the 2004 general elections, the EC released the national voters’ register to political parties just two days before the general elections, and that this register was on CD Roms. Compare that situation, to the situation today when the register is available for scrutiny online, weeks before the general election.
  10. We recall the lists of horrors that became manifest during the conduct of the 2013 election petition hearing before the Supreme Court of Ghana.
  11. We would not soon forget the reasons that made it necessary for groups like Let My Vote Count to be formed in this country.
  12. We believe that the current Electoral Commission, which is very responsive and timeous in its responses to public concerns, should be commended.
  13. The creation of an active website of the EC, on which all press releases and communications are placed and updated, as well as ability to check on the register, as well as modern means of reaching the Electoral Commission by several communication avenues, are all innovations that should be encouraged.
  14. Swift Institute for Public Policy Options believes that the bastardization of the EC for political reasons must come to an end, and players must begin to actively engage with the EC to improve the process of service delivery to Ghanaians.

CURRENT AREAS OF DISPUTE

  • Currently, the leadership of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has taken umbrage with the EC for two initiatives from the EC.
  • These are;
  • The decision to publish the Voters’ Register online, and
  • The determination to ensure that results are published within 24 hours.
  • With regard to the first initiative, Swift Institute for Public Policy Options believes that all political parties operating with sincere motivations should jump or should have jumped at this initiative. To begin with, it means that the parties would have access to lists of names of voters at each polling centre which can be used to track these voters. It is a valuable campaigning as well as research tool f and for foot soldiers visiting houses to campaign for votes. It is an initiative that political parties should encourage and support, or should have encouraged and supported.
  • On the determination to ensure that results are out within 24 hours, we believe that once again this is a good initiative that should be encouraged, if the EC and political parties have the demonstrable capacity.
  • Given the current schematics and timelines, it should be possible to have results declared within 24 hours. If this were to happen, the days of anxiety and distress that all players are forced to go through would be avoided.
  • We call on the players to encourage these initiatives and support them.
  • Finally, we believe that the atmosphere of unnecessary suspicion and aggravation deliberately cultured and promoted by certain interests in this country, must stop.
  • For political parties, what is necessary is to put in place the requisite degree of transparency to ensure that they achieve their aims.
  • Signed

    Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie

    Founder.

    Emails; [email protected]

    ABOUT US:

    The Swift Institute for Public Policy Options was founded in early 2019 by author and publisher Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie to discover sustainable alternative public policy options and initiatives to combat some of Ghana’s enduring social, economic and political problems. It is located at Afua Owusua House, behind Old Peace FM, Kumbaya Hotel Down.

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