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General News of Thursday, 7 April 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

We’re implementing Supreme Court’s recommendations – EC

The Electoral Commission has renewed its pledge to conduct a credible election in November, with an assurance that it has started implementing some recommended reforms to enhance the transparency of the country’s electoral process.

The EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, gave the assurance hours after a massive demonstration dubbed the ‘Baamu Yadda’ was staged in Kumasi by pro-opposition groups to demand a credible voters’ register for the November general elections.

Ghana recorded a landmark case brought before the Supreme Court by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over what the party said were widespread irregularities during the 2012 Presidential elections.

Although the verdict by the court went in favour of President Mahama, the Supreme Court made some recommendations to help improve the electoral system in the country.

Speaking at a ceremony to announce a UK-funded programme to support Ghana’s democracy for the next five years dubbed ‘Deepening Democratic Governance’ Madam Charlotte Osei said “we are ensuring that the election this year is credible, transparent and peaceful.”

“In doing that, we’ve started the process of implementing several reforms. Some of those are as a result of the recommendations made by the Supreme Court during the election petition. Other reforms are those that have been agreed by a wide range of stakeholders including political parties and civil society organizations. And all these reforms are towards strengthening the electoral process and ensuring that the institutions are stronger and independent and that the rules are acceptable to all the key players across the political divide,” she added.

5-year strategic plan

She also noted that the Commission has adopted a five-year strategic plan to enable them position themselves to be more credible and transparent.

“…Within the EC, we’ve been doing a lot of work internally, on strengthening our own structures, improving our processes and platforms with which we engage the public. We would be shortly launching a five-year strategic plan and the pillars of the plan make it clear that at the end of five years, we would have a stronger, better resourced and certainly a more independent commission. These are steps we are taking towards the 2016 election and beyond. Our electoral landscape is stronger and that the successes that we have gained in the last 23 years, we will build upon it and we will build a better commission.”

4 million pounds for Ghana’s election

On his part, the UK Minister of State for International Development, Desmond Swayne, said the 4 million pounds grant would hopefully be the last the UK would give to Ghana in support of its democratic processes.

“The UK is interested in helping to enhance Ghana’s strong effort, recognising that each election cycle presents new challenges, which mandated institutions are required to respond to. The UK has been steadfast in its commitment to Ghana’s democratic transformation, most recently disbursing over £6 million to support election in 2012.”

The Deepening Democratic Governance programme is a 4-million pound UK-funded programme which will provide support to Ghana’s state institutions such as the Electoral Commission, the Police Service, the Judiciary and Civil Society groups led by STAR Ghana.