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xxxxxxxxxxx of Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Source: SONETCO Institute

Ghana’s Electoral Commission has never failed us – SONETCO Institute

With six successful elections, which have been described by the international community as credible, the European Union (EU) believes the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana will follow a similar fashion.

Electoral commission as mandated by the constitution of the fourth republic under Act (Act 451) of 1993 is mandated to organize and run elections for the country. It is given the independence to be a fair and credible institution to officiate electoral exercises for the nation.

Ghana’s Electoral Commission has gone into the annals of world history as one of the most credible institutions in the world, when it comes to elections.

The Electoral Commission has seen Ghana sail through the elections of 1992, 1996 which saw President Jerry John Rawlings winning. In the year 2000 there was so much fear around the world of possible chaos but yet again, the EC did a credible job and indeed the opposition won and governance was transited to a new government.

To deepen the integrity and credentials of the Electoral Commission which has become an example for many budding democracies in Africa and the rest of the world, it conducted the 2008 election which saw the then opposition NDC win, and the party in government hand over leadership.

The activities of the EC are closely involved with Inter Party Advisory Committee-IPAC made up of all political parties to equally make sure the integrity to the electoral process is not breached.

The EU has been part of the international observer mission that has monitored Ghana’s election since 1992.

During the 2012 general election, the Union deployed 24 EU member states to all the 10 regions of Ghana to assess the electoral process against international and regional standards.

In 2012 when the main opposition party took the Electoral Commission to court, the Supreme Court did not doubt the integrity of the Electoral Commission, they however recommended some reforms in Ghana’s electoral processes for implementation by the Commission.

For many domestic and international observers who praised the elections as free, fair, and peaceful; the peaceful resolution of the legal challenge, underscored the consolidation of democracy and respect for rule of law.

GLOBAL RANKING ABOVE WORLD AVERAGE

The report dubbed the NORRIS Year in Elections 2013: The Electoral Integrity Project, made public by Havard Education, Ghana outshines the world average when it comes to the following areas: Enforcement of electoral Laws, Voting District boundaries, Party and Candidate Registration, Media coverage of election and vote counting.

Over all, the report globally ranks Ghana 2nd among all African countries that have gone through the electoral process and 33rd among the world, with regards to the Perception of Election Intergrity.

CHECKS AND BALANCES

Means of organizing credible elections started growing from just black and white voters ID to coloured from 1992 to now, from opaque ballot boxes to transparent ones, then from ordinary voter ID and register to biometric voter verification.

It is must be noted that Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan goes into history as the EC chair who supervised all the elections that saw change in government in a peaceful manner and this in itself is a record of credibility.

One example of worthy to note is that, in 2004, four out of the 7 members (Mrs. Paulina Adobea Dadzawa, Nana Amba Eyiiba I, Eunice Akweley Roberts and Ebenezer Aggrey Fynn) of the EC got appointed by the then government but were equally at work to have officiated the 2008 election that saw the incumbent government hand over power.

Ahead of the 2012 elections, The Head of the European Union (EU), Ambassador Claude Maerten praised Ghana for its democratic credentials, saying the country has been recognized worldwide as the beacon of democracy in Africa.

During the 2012 general election, the Union deployed 24 EU member states to all the 10 regions of Ghana to assess the electoral process against international and regional standards.

This time around, the EU mission will focus their observation not only on the Election Day but on the entire electoral process, including the results, transmission and the resolution of any election-related dispute after voting has finished.

A host of local observers are also involved and allowed into the polling stations to observe that the electoral voting process is credible and uncompromised.

As part of its preparatory activities towards contributing to a generally peaceful and credible election in the upcoming December 7 polls, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) undertook training workshops for its Constituency Supervisors from October 25 to November 8, 2016. The training workshops, took place in all regional capitals and marked the second phase of CODEO’s preparations to recruit, train and deploy over 7,000 of its members who will volunteer their services as observers on Election Day.

After the 2012 election, the Deputy Head of the 250-strong ECOWAS observer Mission, Dr. Christiana Thorpe, Chairperson of Sierra Leone’s Electoral Commission, congratulated the electorate of Ghana for their courage, patience, determination and commitment in the face of challenges and appealed to them to maintain the same spirit till the end of the process,” The Mission also congratulated the country’s security agencies for “their commendable role in ensuring election security

She said this while lauding the Electoral Commission for exhibiting financial and operational autonomy as well as credibility in the preparations for the 7th December 2012 polls. The Mission also described as commendable the Commission’s decision to introduce the biometric registration and verification system for the first time in electoral administration in Ghana.

ACCOLADES AND PRAISE

The success story of Ghana’s Electoral Commission got the attention of many international organizations namely; National Democratic Institute, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and UNDP. These led to the organizing of a conference in Accra on the theme; “Colloquium on African Elections: Best Practices and Cross-Sectoral Collaboration.

Indeed the Electoral Commission received its due respect, for successfully implementing Ghana’s first election using biometric verification. This eliminated the human element of verifying voters and contributed to credible results.

It is important for Ghanaians to be reminded that many have looked up to Ghana for direction, and particularly, the country’s electoral system that has been singled out for praise.

Ghanaians should maintain the faith in the Electoral process that has never failed them.

THE WRITERS

SONETCO Institute is a socialist ideological development-oriented think tank that engages in requisite accurate information dissemination and need-based mass education on critical issues to impact the livelihood of the ordinary citizenry and shape the cause of national development.