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General News of Monday, 28 January 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

We will be better prepared for District Assembly elections - EC Chair

The Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa has given an indication of her outfit's commitment to improve on their output with the upcoming District Assembly elections and referendum.

Jean Mensa assured that lessons from the just ended referendum on the creation of 6 new regions have been learnt; the Commission is working tirelessly not to repeat the mishaps.

The EC Commissioner confessed that lack of proper planning due to insufficient time hindered their ability to have a broader overview of processes and reduce cost.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the 17th International Electoral Affairs Symposium on Monday in Accra, Jean Mensa asserted, "we have learnt lessons from the referendum and I think one of the key lessons is to start planning early. I think when you plan early, you are able to have a broad overview of processes, a broad overview of cost. What happens is that if you plan late you have no options but if you plan early you have all the options on your table, you are able to negotiate and really take your time through your processes."

The next task for the Electoral Commission is the organisation of the polls to elect new District Chief Executives.

The exercise is expected to take place in the last quarter of 2019 and it will be done together with a referendum to decide whether to vote for the MMDCE's as well.

The result of this referendum is expected to take effect in 2021.

Many observers raised question marks about some processes and the general conduct of the referendum held in December to decide on the creation of new regions, however, allaying those fears the EC Commissioner assured "planning early is one of the things that we will be doing for the District level elections and the upcoming elections in the latter part of this year and in 2020 as well."

She gave insights into some activities that the EC have engaged in and disclosed that the Commission is taking certain measures to make the electoral process more transparent and fair.

Beyond the usual security features, the EC Commissioner detailed that cybersecurity is also an aspect that her outfit seeks to strengthen to forestall any mischievous agenda.

She explained, "we should be looking at cybersecurity so that you are protecting the integrity of the process because anybody at all out of mischieve could send any information that elections are being compromised here or send fake news and that could really bring this whole country down and the process down."

The symposium is the first of its kind being organised in West Africa and Ghana is the first country within the subregion to host the body.

It is a gathering of relevant people who matter within the electoral management space on the continent and beyond.

EC collaborating with Police to investigate referendum malpractice allegations

Jean Mensa also provided an update on the investigations that are being carried out on the issues of alleged electoral malpractices during the recently organised referendum.

She mentioned to the media that the internal investigations has been conducted however, the Commission is now collaborating with the security agencies mandated to conduct investigations.

As and when the security agencies deem it fit to provide details to the public, the EC will oblige to put out information.

"As you know the EC is not an investigative body. We have done our own internal investigations but we are collaborating with the police and we are hoping to get their report," she maintained.



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