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Opinions of Sunday, 6 November 2016

Columnist: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie

Anxiety over election timetable: Akoto Ampaw writes to EC

Private Legal practitioner, Akoto Ampaw, has written a letter to the Electoral Commission, demanding answers to seven questions following his fears that the election timetable on December 7, may be compromised.

The letter was written in his capacity as a private citizen backed by Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

His fear, which has been expressed by some Ghanaians, is due to the Commission’s current legal tussle with political parties whose presidential aspirants were disqualified from participating in the elections, with barely a month to the election.

In Mr. Ampaw’s view, the Commission’s assurance that it is on top of issues and that it would meet the election timetable, is not enough.

Mr. Ampaw requests the Commission to respond to his questions by Wednesday November 9, 2016. Below is the letter dated November 3, 2016.

3rd November 2016.

The Electoral Commission,

Head Office, Accra.

Attn: Mrs. Charlotte Osei,

Chairperson.

Dear Madam

RE: ELECTION TIMETABLE AND 7TH DECEMBER 2016 GENERAL ELECITONS

I write to you as a citizen of the republic because of my anxiety that the general elections scheduled for 7th December 2016 might not come off.

My anxiety, which unfortunately is shared by many well-meaning citizens, stems from the continuing legal battles between the Commission and several presidential aspirants, who have been disqualified by the Commission.

This is against the backdrop of the incontestable proposition that the deadline permitted by the Constitution, under article 63 (2) (a) thereof, for the conduct of presidential elections is 7th December 2016.

At the same time, I have observed that the Commission has been quick to assure the nation that it is on top of the issues, that there is no reason for citizens to be agitated that the elections might not come on as scheduled, and that the Commission will definitely not only supervise a successful conduct of general elections on 7th December 2016, but will deliver the most successful and efficient, free, fair and credible elections Ghana has ever experienced.

At the same time, I have observed that the Commission has been quick to assure the nation that it is on top of the issues, that there is no reason for citizens to be agitated that the elections might not come on as scheduled, and that the Commission will definitely not only supervise a successful conduct of general elections on 7th December 2016, but will deliver the most successful and efficient, free, fair and credible elections Ghana has ever experienced.

While I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the assurances of the Commission, you will agree with me that the anxieties of many Ghanaians, including myself, would largely be laid to rest if you could provide direct answers to the following specific questions that I ask below.

Let me, for the avoidance of doubt, state clearly that I ask the questions set out below in exercise of my fundamental human right under Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution of the Republic which guarantees “every person” “the right to information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society”.

Fortunately, I am unaware of any qualifications or laws that would permit the Commission to deny me this right in the instant case. I accordingly proceed to ask of the Commission the following questions:

1.In the Commission’s considered judgment, and all things being equal, when does the Commission project that the current spate of law suits involving it and those presidential aspirants, whom the Commission has disqualified for stated reasons, will end to enable the Commission carry out the ballot for positions of the presidential candidates on the ballot paper?

2.When in the Commission’s considered judgment will the ballot papers for the presidential candidates for the 2016 elections be printed and ready for the December 2016 elections?

3.Are the other election materials, such as the Statement of Poll for the Office of Member of Parliament and Statement of Poll for the Office of President (popularly referred to as “pink sheets”); the Certificate to be Endorsed on Writ (Form EL1 B for parliamentary elections) and the Certificate to be Endorsed on Writ (Form EL 1 B for presidential elections); and the Parliamentary Elections – Results Collation Form (Form EL 23A) and the Presidential Elections-Result Collation Form (Form EL 23B) already printed out and ready for use for the December 2016 elections?

4.If they are already printed out, when were they so printed?

5.If these materials have not already been printed out, when, in the judgment of the Commission, will they be printed out and be in the custody of the Commission to ensure the conduct of general elections on 7th December 2016?

6. Will these election materials be printed in Ghana or abroad?

7.Finally, when, in the judgment of the Commission, would be the last date that it should have concluded the current law suits it is involved in as a party and should have printed all relevant elections materials, as set out above, to ensure that it is able to conduct and supervise the December 2016 presidential elections?

Madam Chairperson, it would, with respect, be very much appreciated if you could furnish me with the Commission’s written answers to each of these questions within the shortest possible time, and certainly, by Wednesday, 9th November 2016.

Yours faithfully,

Akoto Ampaw