The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) is set to hold a symposium to explore moves that would ensure the conduct of district level elections comply with constitutional provisions.
The coalition observed that delayed assembly elections in its current form, created constitutional and administrative vacuum and largely affected management of the district assemblies, a challenge that ought to be tackled for the Assemblies to effectively execute their mandate.
“Comparing the organization of the general elections and District Level Elections (DLEs), and considering legal provisions that set out the guidelines for the organization of elections, it is evident that the organisation of the DLEs has not been consistent,” Mr. Albert Kofi Arhin, co-chair of CODEO said at a seminar.
The symposium, organized with support from the United States Agency for International Development, was on the theme: “Legal and political implications of the delayed 2014/202015 district level elections.”
Various speakers made presentations on topics such as “Abating challenges and enhancing the management of DLEs; The delayed DLEs - constitutional and legal matters arising as well as The delayed DLE – implications for district assemblies’ performance.”
Mr Arhin noted that the organisation of the DLE under the Fourth Republic had been fraught with many challenges, prominent among them included inconsistent election dates and lack of support from stakeholders, particularly donors, media and civil society organizations.
There is also pronounced citizens’ apathy affecting voter turnout, low representation of marginalised groups such as persons with disability, youth and women coupled with poor public education marking the process.
The DLEs, he said, were faced with rampant court and legal tussles, as well as organizational challenges during poll days culminating in extension of voting days.
The Electoral Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Christian Owusu Parry, said with the delayed elections it implied that core functions of the assemblies could not be performed since March.
He said the large size of the candidates in DLEs with volume of ballot papers involved in addition to other responsibilities placed huge challenge on the commission to deal with.
He also raised untimely release of funds for the conduct of the district assemblies’ election as a problem that needed urgent attention and called on stakeholders to relook at the law with respect to the DLEs for its smooth conduct.
Meanwhile, analysts have raised questions about possible breach of the assemblies in performing their core functions as the delayed elections would not allow proper planning, budging, contracting and procurement as well as vetting of the assembles finances, a development they say if violated could lead to a another prolong legal war.
In the light of the issues raised, the CODEO would organize a symposium to discuss the legal and political implications of the delayed elections to explore measures to ensure that the constitutional provisions were followed.
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