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Re-EC Will Not Extend Registration Exercise
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The arrogant posture taken by the Electoral Commission over the recent fiasco of a voters’ register exhibition exercise gives credence to a question I posed in my recent article “Is the Electoral Commission serving our democratic needs of the times?”

The Principal Public Relations Officer of the Electoral Commission (EC) has stated the Commission is not contemplating on extending the just ended voters’ registration exercise.

Mrs. Sylvia Annor said the period given was well enough for any applicant to register to enable him or her vote in future national elections.

This position has been hotly contested by the main political parties, who are the biggest stake holders when it comes to the EC’s role in our party political democracy. It was alleged in a Joyfm report that “some persons who had turned 18 and many older ones were allegedly denied their registration rights during the 10-day exercise, which ended Wednesday” but despite the these complains, the PRO maintained the exercise was successful and had no intention of extending or indeed reopening it in the near foreseeable future.

Mrs. Annor’s arrogant posture becomes evident as I stated in my earlier article that we are constantly bombarded with constitutional quotes about how untouchable the EC is because of constitutional insulation. This arrogance rides rough shod over public concerns when she says “legally, we’re supposed to have registration before an election and that is precisely what we have done.” By this assertion, the exercise is just a box ticking exercise and has nothing to do with success or otherwise. That simple pedestrian attitude that we are supposed to do it and we have done speaks volumes about the EC’s attitude to our democracy.

According to media reports most of the centres had very low turnout and most people questioned said the publicity was poor and the time frame was short. Political parties are saying the exercise was not consultative enough and there should have been an IPAD meeting before the exercise or there is the need to call one sooner or later to realign parties’ interests to ECs agenda.

As things stand now the EC appears to be unresponsive to any public calls or concerns. Calendars or time tables are not advertised well ahead in time and they are adamant to the calls to audit the credulous voters’ database they are using. It appears the EC is afraid to expose their own cover up, and the biggest fraud the 4th Republic-the voters’ register.

It became evidently clear from the recent exercise that the identity cards issued to some applicants had data inconsistencies while others presented passports with pictures, which did not match their faces. Yet the incorrigible Mrs Annor insists it is too early to analyse the data and that no official complaints have been filed.

With the recent pyrrhic victory won the EC and the government in the 2013 Supreme Court Petition, the duos have been comfortable lying in a bed with ear plugs on. It is as if they have been given the carte blanche to do as they please and somehow they can pass the time till 2016 and carry on regardless.

The posture of the Electoral Commission sometimes scares me as to the longevity and the credibility of our democracy. When the referee becomes unresponsive and the chaser is being chased, chaos is the only plausible outcome. We are breeding a wild institution which is no longer responsive to our needs. The spirit of neutrality and responsibility to public needs have completely gone out of the books of the Electoral Commission. The opposition parties have become too weak in the face of the absolute powers of the Commission and the government is playing happy families with them.

There is no doubt that the EC is currently facing a credibility crisis in the public eyes as the recent public turnoff shows and this will likely have a negative impact on the 2016 elections if steps are not taken to redress the imbalance in public minds. The almost yearlong Supreme Court Petition must lead to some political legacy for our democracy. We need to change the way we hold elections in Ghana and it must start with EC self-introspection before we have a national implosion. We have a great opportunity to put our badly run democracy back on track and it must start with the way our elections are conducted. Surely the arrogant posture taken by the spokesperson for EC does not help the matter in any way and if anything heightens the political tension in our country.
Source: The Chronicle

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