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Abuse Of Incumbency During Elections Real – Report   
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The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Ghana has recommended the establishment of an effective sanctioning mechanism against the misuse of state resources, during national elections.

According to the mission, district administration employee’s vehicles, buildings, security apparatus and other assets were used for the 2016 election campaign by the incumbent government, while there were reports of the President using official inauguration of state projects for campaigning.

In its report on Ghana’s 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, the mission observed that elections, the mission observed that abuse of state resources and incumbency was a recurring problem in Ghanaian elections and this created an unleveled playing field.

The report released by Chief Observe, Tamas Meszeries at a press conference in Accra yesterday stated that the mechanism should among other things, limit the role of the incumbent government during the election period strictly to caretaker functions.

The 40-page document, coming three months after the election, said during the campaign period the country was not regulated by any specific law and no measures to regulate use of state resources had been introduced.

He said many regional ministers and district chief executives were participating in the camping of the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) with some contesting the parliamentary elections contributing to the widespread abuse of incumbency.

On campaign finance, the report stated that in order to ensure utmost transparency and accountability, the EC’s capacity to enforce the provisions of the laws on political campaign finance should be enhance or responsibility could be given to another body, if deemed appropriate.

There was also a recommendation for the reduction in nomination deposits, particularly for parliamentary candidates, including a possible special dispensation for female candidates and the passage of the Affirmative Action bill to help promote women’s participation in political life.

Citing the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation for bias, the mission said a transparent mechanism should be set up to ensure the accountability of state owned media and a clear regulatory mechanism introduced to guarantee impartiality and balance in the state media.

According to the report, the country's electoral process does not offer administrative disputes resolution and that a citizen with an electoral complaint had to go to court to seek redress, which could be a very expensive and lengthy process.

As a recommendation, the report said an administrative disputes resolution mechanism for first instance grievances against decisions and actions of the elections administration in order to reduce over-reliance on the court process and lessen the pressures on the election calendar.

It also recommended for the establishment for a reasonable time-frame for the resolution of presidential and parliamentary elections election petitions, to increase stakeholder access to an effective remedy and also increase public and political confidence.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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