Politics of Thursday, 28 June 2012
The Electoral Commission (EC) in collaboration with KAB Governance Consult (KGC), on Thursday organised a capacity building workshop for representatives of political parties to deepen their understanding of Ghana’s electoral process, in Accra.
The UKAid Department for International Development supported the workshop, which was to create mutual appreciation of relationship between the EC and political parties as well as to demystify the Commission’s operations room (popularly referred to as Strong Room) and the Information Technology Department.
It was poorly patronised by the representatives of the political parties.
Mr. Sarfo Katanka, Deputy Chairman of the Commission in-Charge of Operations, said the Commission was expecting 40 participants from 10 political parties, adding that the invitation solicited for the political parties to nominate four representatives to participate in the workshop but 17 representatives attended.
In a rebuttal, Madam Joyce Zempare, Greater Accra Regional Women’s Organiser for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the official invitation the party received requested for only three representatives.
This was affirmed by the representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the People’s National Convention (PNC).
Mr. Katanka said the attendance at the event demonstrated those who were serious-minded and added that “It shows those who are serious and those who are not serious. We would have wished that everyone we invited was here.”
Though the invitation to the media pegged the time for commencement of the programme at 0900 hours, the programme started at 1011 hours, even so, 17 representatives of the political parties were present as at 1140 hours when the opening session of the workshop was over.
The representatives included Convention People’s Party (five representatives), NDC (three representatives), NPP (three representatives), PNC (three representatives) and the United Renaissance Party (three representatives).
The conspicuous empty seats at the hall were the topic for discussion, as many journalists wanted to know why the representatives had boycotted or rather failed to be punctual to such an important national platform.
An official of the EC, told journalists that some party representatives earlier made telephone calls to plead to be absent.
However, he was not sure whether the weather had caused some other expected participants to be absent.
When some journalists asked Mr. Kwasi Afriyie-Badu, Chief Executive Officer of KGC about his impression, he cautioned that the poor patronage of the event could not be the best determiner to audit the level of commitment of political parties in the electoral process.
He expressed dissatisfaction that the EC was lenient with most of the 15 registered political parties that had no offices across the country.
Mr. Afriyie-Badu said that he was surprised the Commission had not proscribed them from violating Section 15 (3c) of the Political Parties Law (Act 574).
He said that Act 574 empowered the EC to cancel the registration certificate of any political party on the grounds that it had refused, neglected or failed to establish or maintain national, regional and district offices.
Mr. Afriyie-Badu called on journalists to carry out their constitutionally mandated duty.
He expressed concern that inactive political parties as well as absence of their offices across the country had raised concerns in the public domain.
It is to be recalled that the Ghana News Agency reported on January 12, that a survey it had conducted revealed that Greater Accra Regional Offices of many political parties, including the NDC, PNC and CPP were inactive, less than 24 months into Election 2012.
During the survey, a visit to the regional offices of some major political parties revealed that the parties had either neglected or failed to maintain their offices contrary to the law.
A visit to the NDC Regional Office at Kawokudi in Accra showed a dormant office without most of the regional officers, while the CPP Regional Office at the CPP Headquarters at Asylum Down was not functioning, it had a television set, two old tables and some old party posters.
Perhaps the only party with an active regional office was NPP whose regional office shared facilities with the Youth and Women’s Wings of the party at its former national headquarters at Kokomlemle.
Other political parties, which had failed to maintain regional offices included the defunct Democratic Freedom Party (DFP); Democratic People's Party (DPP); Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere (EGLE Party); Ghana Democratic Republican Party (GDRP) and Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).
The rest were Ghana National Party (GNP), National Reform Party (NRP), New Vision Party (NVP), Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD), United Ghana Movement (UGM), United Love Party (ULP) and United Renaissance Party (URP).**