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15.08.2012 Editorial

EDITORIAL: Let's Have Sanity In Electoral Landscape

By Daily Graphic
EDITORIAL: Let's Have Sanity In Electoral Landscape
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The cloud of uncertainty that hangs over the time-table for the 2012 elections does not give any good signal of the future of the country’s democratic governance.

Our decision to introduce some novelty into the democratic practice this year came against many challenges, especially the debate about the merits and demerits of the biometric registration exercise.

All manner of controversies rocked the idea for the introduction of the Biometric Voters Register (BVR), and when eventually it was started, there emerged the claim that the biometric machine could cause cancer. The use of biometric verification also brought about another debate.

Finally, all was set for the BVR and our readers recall the nightmarish experiences some potential voters went through to get their names captured on the electoral roll.

During the latter days of the exercise, however, we all realised that the mad rush at the voters registration centres was much ado about nothing.

When the dust on the issue was about settling, the Electoral Commission (EC) had to face the challenge of demarcating new constituencies following additional districts created by the government.

There were some of our contemporaries who disagreed with the decision to create more districts and constituencies and argued that the government and the EC should not be given the free range to increase districts and constituencies at their whims and caprices. Certain people even filed suits at the courts challenging the legalities of those actions.

Notwithstanding these challenges, the government inaugurated the new districts while the EC placed the Constitutional Instrument (CI) 173 before Parliament to create more constituencies.

All the same, the controversies will not go away and they continue to bedevil the plans of the EC.

Last Monday, the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament recommended to the House to reject the CI because it contained many errors.

When the matter came up Tuesday, Parliament was divided as the Majority side felt the CI could still be carried after the correction of the errors while the Minority felt it should be withdrawn.

After a crucial meeting Tuesday, the leadership of the House agreed that it should be withdrawn to be replaced with a new CI to be laid Wednesday.

Whatever consensus that had been arrived at by Parliament, there is still some level of uncertainty about the smoothness of the processes that will be put in place for the elections.

The Daily Graphic has time and again drawn attention to the dangers posed by a disputed electoral roll, especially in an election year.

First of all, we can only build confidence in our electoral process if the fundamental document for elections, that is, the electoral roll is acceptable to all the contestants in the polls.

The confusion that has caused harm in some of our neighbouring countries are as a result of disputed elections.

Having been extolled as the bastion of democracy on the African continent, we should do well to address these challenges as soon as possible.

In normal circumstances, the 2012 elections should not cause us any headaches, especially after holding five successful elections.

Elections in Ghana now should be a matter of course that must be seen as a process to choose a leader and our representatives in Parliament as we have done before.

But this is not the case in Ghana now and so the Daily Graphic appeals to all stakeholders, especially the EC, the government, the political parties, the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and, indeed, the electorate to play by the rules.

And if that is done, the process towards election 2012 will be orderly and the elections will be free and fair.

Regrettably, we seem to have a tendency to always find shortcuts to the way of doing things instead of insisting on respect for rules and regulations.

The only way out of this surmountable challenges is our resolve to uphold the rule of law as anything to the contrary can only create chaos in our society.

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