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General News of Saturday, 27 August 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Our success depends on serving interest of voters - EC

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, has said the success of any elections depends on the effective engagement of stakeholders and voters, as well as building knowledge and confidence in the electoral system.

She has, therefore, underscored the importance for the commission to constantly engage its internal and external stakeholders to get its messages across and in turn create a two-way feedback mechanism.

“Our success in improving outcomes and the quality of electoral services is significantly dependent on our ability to look outward and serve the interests of the voting public,’’ she indicated.

Mrs Osei stated this when she launched the communication strategy of the commission at a press conference in Accra yesterday.

She said the strategy supported the delivery of the EC’s five-year strategic plan, as it captured the blueprint of how it intended to effectively communicate with its internal and external stakeholders in order to meet the core electoral mandate.

Mrs Osei said the strategy detailed how the commission would disseminate information to stakeholders on its programmes and activities to attain the objectives of its corporate strategic plan.

She paid tribute to the USAID for its support in launching the communication strategy.

She said already the USAID had supported the EC to train 600 journalists on the electoral process and 600 physically challenged persons to enable them to patronise the election effectively as a civic responsibility.

Communication strategy

The launch of the strategy, she said, had come at a time when the commission was committed to redefining its relationship with its key stakeholders and reposition it as a transparent and responsive institution.

Mrs Osei said the interactive nature of the strategy would help convince the voting public that the commission was alive to its responsibilities of delivering credible world-class elections.

She noted that the commission’s aim was to be the benchmark in Africa for the delivery of independent , trusted and world-class elections and, therefore, effective communication was imperative to building understanding and trust among its stakeholders.

Robust communications

She noted that the launch would meet requirements and calls for a comprehensive and robust communications strategy, the implementation of which would be influenced by the goal of improving public confidence and trust in the EC.

Hitherto, the EC’s communication, the chairperson said, had been handled in an ad hoc manner, with no strategic plan to guide its activities .

She noted that because of that the commission had difficulties managing major communication issues , particularly in dealing with negative media attention.

Impartiality of the EC

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P Jackson, stated that the commission had an important role to play during the weeks ahead of the 2016 election.

He said communicating with the electorate was one of the most formidable and consequential challenges the commission faced.

The ambassador noted that without effective communication, voters might misconstrue noble intentions and become disillusioned with the democratic process.