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General News of Friday, 7 April 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

CODEO wants NPP, NDC to disband vigilante groups

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has called on the leadership of the two major political parties in the country, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to work together with the police to disband their politically affiliated vigilantic groups in the country.

It said the existence of political vigilante groups was illegal and that the Ghana Police Service (GPS) should ban and disband the groups immediately as a matter of national security.

At a press conference organised by CODEO to present a communique issued by participants in a stakeholders review workshop on Ghana’s 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, the group said the leadership of the two political parties were largely responsible for the emergence of the groups.

Recommendations

In the medium to long term, the group also proposed that there should be a concerted effort among key election stakeholders to make the Inspector General of Police (IGP) independent by insulating him or her from political interference by securing his or her tenure across regimes and ensuring such appointments were transparent and consultative.

Giving their recommendations on the 2016 general election, the co-chair of the election learning session, Justice VCRAC Crabbe, called for the compilation of a more credible and reliable voters register, saying the Electoral Commission (EC) should maintain the current 2016 register while it continued to clean and audit the register.

He also called on the EC to implement continuous registration in collaboration with stakeholders, including political parties, the National Identification Authority (NIA), the Births and Deaths Registry, among others.

In the short term, he called on the EC to consider an appropriate scientific and internationally acceptable methodology for auditing the current voters register to ascertain particular areas of challenge for redressing.

On enforcing the electoral laws, Justice Crabbe called for the amendment of PNDC Law 284 to set a six-month period for campaigning during each year of the presidential and parliamentary elections, as part of efforts to minimise cost, check incumbency abuse and help regulate campaign financing.



Civic and voter education

The co-chair of the CODEO post- election working session, Professor Miranda Greenstreet, as part of the recommendations, called for civic and voter education to be well coordinated and continuous in between elections, saying it must not only focus on voting and peace promotion but also cover all other areas of civic and political rights as well as democratic citizenship.

She said the EC should also invest in a robust and transparent ICT system that would secure the transmission of the results from the polling stations to the constituency collation centres and the national collation centre concurrently to aid in the timely release of election results.

She added that as part of their recommendations, the EC should rather adopt the release of results intermittently as and when they received it instead of waiting to get results from all constituencies,

On financing elections and campaign, Prof. Greenstreet said as part of CODEO’s recommendations. “It should be Ghana’s responsibility to totally fund its own elections within its own budget, including election security. Election security expenditure should be factored into EC’s overall budget”.

She said the EC must plan and stagger its budget request for the four-year period in between local government and general elections and not wait to implement all activities in the year of conducting presidential and parliamentary elections.

She said to sustain financing of elections and other key democratic governance activities, “the Nana Akufo-Addo government should fully implement the recommendation of the Constitutional Review Commission on the establishment and operation of a Democracy Fund for Independent Constitutional Bodies”.