You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2011 04 19Article 207170

Opinions of Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Columnist: Statesman

EC needs to ensure credible elections in 2012

IN Ghana’s volatile and charged partisan political environment, it is extremely important that we have a trusted election process, where elections will be regarded as fair, even by the losing side.

Though, it is still early days yet, the world is hailing Nigeria for breaking its jinx of discredited elections with last Saturday’s hugely relatively successful presidential polls. Nigeria’s success can be down to three main actors.

First, the stated commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan to support the Independent National Electoral Commission to get it right. Second, the efforts that Prof Jega and his team of electoral officers put in to get it right. The third is, in our view, the decision of INEC to introduce a biometric voter register, which cleaned up the voter register.

Here in Ghana, with the well-founded concerns about the reliability of our electoral register in 2008, combined with attempts by certain forces to cast doubts about the fairness of the polls before they had even closed, Ghana’s election was not quite the golden example it has been hailed as (or that we wish it had been).

Moving on, we have been given enough cause to worry about the future. December 2010 Unit Committee and District Assembly elections and the numerous problems associated with its conduct did not also endear the Electoral Commission and Mills-Mahama NDC government to the hearts of Ghanaians.

The problems associated with the elections ranged from low voter education, inadequate means of transporting election materials to government not releasing funds for the EC on time.

Having conducted parliamentary and presidential elections five times, and the district assembly elections even before the Fourth Republic, one would have thought that the difficulties that confronted the EC on December 28 would not have happened.

According to the electoral commission, government did not release money in time for the smooth conduct of the elections. Government on the other hand accused the Electoral Commission for not submitting its budget in time for the early release of funds. All this would have been averted with electronic voting which would not have required the printing of ballot papers for the various elections nationwide.

The EC says e-voting is not on the cards, but our fear is that what is said to be on the cards may actually end up being given a bad deck. Procrastination and lack of funds may be the enemy.

We applaud the decision by the Electoral Commission to employ the use of a Biometric Voters register and we hope government would release funds in time for the smooth implementation of this. Voter registration is the gatekeeping process that seeks to ensure that only those eligible to vote are indeed allowed to vote when they arrive at the polls to cast their votes.

Ghanaians and, indeed, the entire world expect nothing less than the conduct of free, fair, peaceful and credible elections from the Electoral Commission. Ghanaians will not forgive the Electoral Commission if a repeat of what happened in 2008, that brought Ghana perilously close to the brink of violence, is repeated in 2012

The problems that undermine people's ability to take part freely in the election such as limited civic and voter education and inadequate funds need to start being addressed now not tomorrow.

Send your news stories to and features to . Chat with us via WhatsApp on +233 55 2699 625.

Join our Newsletter