Daily Dispatch feels vindicated over EC hardship

By Daily Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch newspaper says it feels vindicated by the admission of the Electoral Commission that it is unable to proceed with its intended reopening of the voters register from May 8 to 17, 2008.

While the EC cites “unanticipated difficulties in the procurement of Data Capture equipment” as cause for the postponement, the Dispatch believes the situation cannot be far from its January 21, 2008, publication headed, 'ELECTORAL COMMISSION FORCED TO REDUCE BUDGET FOR 2008', but which was chided.

The January 24, 2008 edition of the Daily Graphic had a counter front¬ page story, with the heading, 'No Financial Impediments Towards December General Election - EC assures.'

In the Daily Graphic story, a Deputy Chairman of the EC (Finance and Administration), Mr. David Kangah, said "the Commission had not encountered any problems in accessing funds for the conduct of the 2008 elections.

The Dispatch said only last week, the EC, at a meeting with political parties under Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) framework, disclosed that it was unable to undertake a wider voter registration exercise because of the unavailability of funds.

A press statement from the EC announcing the postponement of the revision of the voters register stated: "The Electoral Commission wishes to announce for the information of the general public that the intended reopening of the voters register from May 8 to 17, 2008, has been postponed indefinitely.

“The postponement has become necessary due to unanticipated difficulties in the procurement of Data Capture equipment.

“A new date for the revision exercise will be announced in due course.

“The Commission wishes to apologize for any inconvenience the postponement may cause.”

Below is the Daily Dispatch story published in the January 21st, 2008 issue, with the headline 'ELECTORAL COMMISSION FORCED TO REDUCE BUDGET FOR 2008':

Ghana's Electoral Commission (EC) has made its mark in the area of election management not only on the African continent but worldwide. As a human run institution, it has its faults but given the financial constraints the EC, like other government institutions face, is struggling to meet expectations of the Ghanaian public.

Mr. Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Ghana's Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, has to juggle competing demands from the same pot of revenue.

However, all is not well with the EC. Credible sources close to the Ministry of Finance has confirmed that the EC has been forced to reduce its original 2008 budget of GH¢51,200,000 (¢512 billion) by GH¢9,400,000 (¢94 billion) to GH¢41,800,000 (¢418 billion). The percentage reduction is about 18.3%.

The EC's Senior Staff Association and Workers Union have been meeting, regularly over delayed negotiations regarding conditions of service.

President John Kufuor, please open, your eyes wider towards the EC.”

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