The Electoral Commission (EC) is undergoing massive restructuring exercise, the Deputy Chairperson of the election management body in charge of Corporate Services – Dr. Eric Bossman Asare – has hinted.
He said the exercise would entail transfer of staff and realignment of departments and units.
Also in the pipeline, DAILY GUIDE has learnt, is the overhauling of key departments such as IT, which falls short of best practices.
In an interview with Citi FM, Dr. Bossmansaid the Communications Department, for instance, would in the next few months witness an overhaul.
“The commission has undertaken several review activities, and I can say even on authority that within the shortest possible time, at most within three months, we should have a well-functioning communications unit. Even when you go to IT, procurement, legal departments, there are several places we are looking at and when we conclude, they will be made public for you to have the full information,” he disclosed.
As the EC embarks on its ‘restructuring’ project, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears not to be perturbed in its planned mission of throwing spanners into the work of the commission.
The Ofosu-Ampofo leaked audio clearly did not hide the National Chairman’s disdain for the chairperson of the EC.
In the past week, they have been busy making negative headlines in that direction in a manner which is prompting observers to recall the contents of the leaked audio.
Fresh Register War
The NDC, which waged a campaign against the planned replacement of the voters’ register during the tenure of sacked EC Chairperson Charlotte Osei and won have started another one: they are kicking hard against the election management body’s plan to limit the upcoming registration exercise to the district level, describing it as distasteful.
In spite of their entrenched disapproval of the plan not to widen the process, the EC however plans to go ahead by restricting the exercise to the districts.
The actions of the NDC against the EC in the past fortnight or so suggest the commencement of a spate of attrition against Jean Mensa, chairperson of the election management body.
The NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, claimed the EC boss’ posture did not inure to the interest of democracy.
He is literally whining over fears that the Jean Mensa-led EC is harbouring some ‘prejudice’ against their party because of their unsupportive posture when she was appointed to become the EC boss after the sacking of their beloved Charlotte Osei.
“Somehow, I believe that because we expressed our opinion about her suitability or otherwise for the position when the appointment was made, she appears to be carrying that prejudice and she thinks that is a sufficient reason for denying us our rights. So we think that the problem is about her attitude and not about the NDC,” he said on radio.
“Every issue that we the NDC have raised has been legitimately based on our rights as provided by law and in most in cases, they have come to apologize. If you ask us what we are doing against the EC, it will be like victim blaming because we are the victim,” he said.
According to the NDC, a lot of Ghanaians would be disenfranchised if the limited registration exercise is held at the district level.
While tackling the issue of restricting the registration to the district levels, the NDC General Secretary said “the argument we have made is that it will be a tool to disenfranchise the ordinary citizens who have an inalienable right under the laws of the country to exercise their franchise as citizens of this country.”
“When you look at the trials they did last year with the referendum, they did the registration in 47 districts; they estimated 100,000 eligible voters but only 47,000 were recorded. That tells you clearly that a lot more of the people who could have registered did not register,” he said.
However, the EC has dismissed the NDC’s claims, saying the plan is in consonance with outlined measures to upgrade its Information Technology infrastructure.
Dr. Bossman Asare parried fears of the opposition party, adding that there is no cause for alarm, as sufficient measures have been put in place to address possible challenges and the EC cannot disenfranchise any eligible voter.
“This not so much of a problem; when we met last month at our IPAC meeting, we made it clear that the EC was working to review its IT infrastructure. So in order to maximize our resources, we agreed to do an online registration. We are not saying people should not go and register. We even made it clear that if the EC can go the extra mile for people who are living very far and it becomes necessary that the EC must create a certain enabling environment so that they can go to the headquarters of the Electoral Commission in that district to go and register, we are ready to do that,” he stated.
“These are things the commission can easily work with the parties, civil society organization to be able to ensure that all these people are able to register,” he added.
Responding to the NDC’s charge that the EC is undermining democracy, Dr. Bossman Asare said that it’s rather the opposition party’s conduct, which is threatening the country’s democracy and becoming a cause of worry for the peace and stability of the country.
He also accused the NDC of engaging in schemes which have dire consequences on local democracy.
“I think if there is anyone who is becoming a threat or a potential threat to the democracy we are practising in our country, then I will rather say that it is the posture of the NDC. Since this new commission took over, we have noticed some of the things that have transpired. Before the Ayawaso West by-election, allegations were rife that the register was bloated and we also noticed pictures of ballot papers,” he remarked.
Continuing, he said “so we as a commission we have seen a particular pattern of the NDC. So I don’t see why the NDC will turn round and accuse the chairperson that her actions were a threat to democracy.”
“This is the only commission that is committed to Ghana’s democracy because we are operating within the law,” he added.
There are now new regional directors and deputy regional directors of the Electoral Commission following the transfers.
According to the list, the new regional directors include Angelina Tahoe for Western Region; Godwin Okley, Western North; Philomena Edusei, Central; Kwame Amoah, Greater Accra; Selomey Adulpo, Volta; Nuhu Mahama, Oti; Faith Amedzakey, Eastern.
The remaining regional directors are Benjamin Bano-Bio, Ashanti, Frank Nunoo, Bono, Gabriel Dei, Bono East, John Appiah Baffoe, Ahafo; Lucas Yiryel, Northern; Johnson Akafia, Savannah; Eric Mensah-Bonsu, North East; Azu Bosco Anyigire, Upper East; and S. Ali Osman,
In the Western Region, Asare Baffour Gyan, is to serve as deputy director, while Francis Osei Nsiah, is to deputize in the Western North.
Other regional deputy directors are Manu Gabriel, Central; Gladys Pinkra and Busby Asante, Greater Accra; Kofi Dzapasu, EC’s Communications Director, Volta; Kwaku Owusu Addo, Oti; Ashirifi Young and Michael Acheampong, Eastern; Adarkwa and Dinah Osei Asibey, Ashanti.
The rest are Kwabena Asante, Ahafo; Frank Okraku, Bono; Kwame Nyame, Bono East; Alex Manu Sakyi, Savanna; Emmanuel Danso Abeam, Northern; Yaw Opoku, North East; Worlanyo Tega, Upper East, and Emmanuel Kyei, Upper West.
Source: Daily Guide
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