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General News of Thursday, 20 May 2021


NDC shoots down all EC’s proposed reforms

Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has punched holes into all the proposed electoral reforms by the Electoral Commission, Ghana (EC), calling them a “sham”.

At a press conference addressed by the party’s Director of Elections, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah on Thursday, May 20, 2021, the party subjected all the four reforms to scrutiny and called for wider consultations.

The Commission on Tuesday, May 18 after a two-day workshop of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) announced reforms agreed upon by stakeholders.

The first is to close polls at 3:00pm instead of the usual 5:00pm.

The Commission, secondly, wants an all-round system where citizens who turn 18, or persons who have not previously registered, may visit any district office with their Ghana Card or passport and register as voters instead of the system of periodic nationwide registration.

“This will help us do away with nationwide registration exercises and go a long way to reducing cost of elections,” the Chair of the Commission, Jean Mensa, added at the press conference.

The Commission also wants an all-year round exhibition exercise through smart phones and other mobile devices by texting to a short code.

Lastly, the EC wants collation done only at the constituency level and transmitted to the regional and national level.

“By adopting this system, the problem of minor inaccuracies with the collation process and unnecessary delays will be reduced significantly,” Mrs Mensa said.

But Mr Afriyie Ankrah said any move to implement reforms ahead of the 2024 elections must begin with the Commission itself.

He said the Commissioners must first of all purge themselves of all the wrong doing which characterised the 2020 elections.

On the first proposal about the poll closing time, for instance, the NDC said it is needless and only going to create chaos.

On the last proposal, Mr Afriyie Ankrah said: “The proposal to have the entry point of data done only at Constituency Collation Centres will introduce another set of opportunities for rigging and manipulation of the election through hacking and other means."

“The way to build further efficiencies into the collation process and eliminate minor inaccuracies is to hire and train competent EC staff to ensure accurate data entry and collation and not to throw away the time-tested practice of collation at the national level.”

He concluded that the EC can never undertake reforms without considering views of the NDC so all that has been put in the public domain is a “sham”.

“What is going on in this country is frightening. The EC is the institution that is supposed to ensure that the laws governing political parties are obeyed. So for purposes of achieving whatever agenda, entities that they know will ordinarily not qualify to be political parties, they recruit, mobilise and bring them and they all say ‘We agree, We agree’ and they sign. And the NDC which is the biggest opposition party, we are wiped. Is this for real?”