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17.01.2020 Editorial

CSOs’ Insincerity, Closed Minds

By Daily Guide
CSOs’ Insincerity, Closed Minds
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Yesterday, some civil society organisations (CSOs) met with top officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) at Alisa Hotel in Accra.

Two important ingredients for the success of such engagements were however missing: sincerity and open-mindedness.

Entering into the engagement hall with a closed mind ‒ which was what happened yesterday ‒ did not help matters.

We could not have expected anything otherwise considering the entrenched position of the said CSOs and their colours.

Perhaps the meeting should not have even taken place at all because the guests of the EC were not prepared to consider under any circumstances the positions put forth by the Commission for a new voters register.

CSOs are supposed to assist in the streamlining of the democratic process but when as it is palpable that such bodies have entrenched positions because of their origins, then any engagement with a view to arriving at conclusions useful for the country becomes useless and unproductive.

Information available to us indicates without doubt that the CSOs only turned up for the meeting for the cameras; their positions as it were unchangeable.

The simplicity with which the statement they read soon after leaving the venue of the engagement is as puzzling as it is amazing, considering the stature of those behind the action.

Under no circumstances should the source code of elections management be outside the reach of the EC as the reality of the situation suggests. This has been the case over the years. And the CSOs want the status quo unaltered? Let us be serious.

The CSOs, it would appear, deliberately glossed over the importance of sovereignty in such matters. Why would a critical state institution such as the EC be at the mercy of a foreign entity when arrangements are available to reverse this anomaly?

Even the opaque ballot box syndrome ‒ as it were ‒ was not easily changed but eventually it gave way to the transparent.

The CSOs should not belittle the intelligence of the IT experts at the disposal of the EC whose input have impacted the arguments of the elections management body in this unnecessary hullabaloo.

It is not for CSOs to put forth their arguments with a concentrated dose of hubris. This is the picture their statement conveys and palpably so.

We need a new voters' register and the earlier that is the better. The absence of a backup against the possibility of a crash is something which we ignore at our peril.

The decision to gang up against innovations from the EC appears to have been hatched ever since the order changed at the elections management body and with a willing gang of CSOs available to raise the decibel of noise the cacophony is unsurprising.

The presidential debate novelty and the dashed hope of being tapped for the headship of the EC are remote causes of the seeming opprobrium for anything emanating from the Commission.

The EC management have been mandated to take decisions that best serve our democracy. Ganging up to disrupt a good cause is inappropriate and smacks mischief.

Go EC, go EC.