Let’s use 2015 to implement all electoral reforms – CCG

VoteballotThe Christian Council of Ghana has urged the Electoral Commission and the entire country to use 2015 to implement all the necessary electoral reforms ahead of the 2016 elections.

The Supreme Court of Ghana proposed a lot of reforms after the election petition filed by the 2012 Flagbearer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo together with his running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the party’s Chairman at the time, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

Several civil society organisations such as the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), IMANI-Ghana, and various political parties have also made a tall list of proposals, which they believe, when implemented, will sanitise Ghana’s electoral system and remove suspicions as well as promote transparency.

The IEA, for example, last year, in collaboration with political parties with representation in Parliament presented an 18-point proposal for electoral reforms to the Electoral Commission (EC).

The proposals include provisions that the EC work with defined programmes and published timelines to ensure certainty in the implementation of the programmes.

They also recommended that there must be a fixed number of constituencies to be reviewed periodically in accordance with the law and in line with population movement.

According to the IEA and the political parties, there should be no review of constituency boundaries in an election year.

A researcher at the IEA, Dr Ransford Gyampo, who briefed the press on the proposals in Accra at the time said as part of the IEA’s commitment to deepening democracy in Ghana, the IEA/Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP) had held two workshops to discuss the electoral system with a view to proposing reforms in the wake of the problems that emerged after the 2012 general election.

He said the proposals were, therefore, drawn based on the discussions with the political parties, civil society organisations and the media.

The proposals also mentioned that there should be transparency in the recruitment process of temporary electoral officials with minimum educational qualification.

Again, there should be a joint training programme for electoral officials, party agents and security personnel to ensure cooperation and collaboration on voting day.

The proposals also recommended that the EC should go to court to delete the names of unqualified persons on the voters register, as well as sanction election officials whose negligence, acts of omission or commission undermined the electoral process and the integrity of the commission.

The proposals also captured the fact that presidential elections should be held in November every year, so that if there was the need for a run-off or a challenge, it might be disposed of before the President was sworn in.

On e-voting, Dr Gyampo said the proposals concluded that although e-voting had some merits, it required some extensive study and preparatory work before its implementation and urged the EC to undertake a detailed study of e-voting for future implementation.

General Secretary of the Christian Council, Rev Dr Opuni Frempong told Osei Owusu Amankwaah in an interview Sunday December 28, 2014 that implementing the reforms will ensure that the yearly recycled electoral tension will be done away with ahead of the 2016 elections.

“We are hoping and praying and want to work towards a situation where we as a nation will use 2015 to do all the electoral reforms…to make 2016 elections very peaceful, very relaxed, devoid of tension and all that.”