The Electoral Commission (EC) has reiterated its commitment to ensure that it becomes the most credible elections regulatory body in Africa.
According to the Commission, it was keen to ensure that its mandate, as stipulated by law, was fulfilled to the letter.
Speaking at an event in Accra last Tuesday to unveil the EC’s five-year strategic plan, its Chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei, said the objectives of the plan were to ensure that the EC became legally and functionally independent, and also maintain a relationship of trust and credibility with citizens, parties, state institutions and all stakeholders.
The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, dubbed: “Gearing for Greatness”, replaces the 10-year plan which expired in 2009.
Mrs Osei said in order to facilitate the smooth implementation of its mandate, the EC had set for itself a number of objectives.
They included ensuring that elections were delivered and managed transparently and ethically.
She said the Commission, in pursuance of the set objectives, would develop and maintain a relationship of trust and credibility with the citizens, political parties, all state institutions and all stakeholders, as well as ensure that the EC was operated efficiently and effectively to world-class standards.
“In doing this, we set five strategic pillars we will be working around — develop all stakeholder relationships, focus on our electoral mandate, engage our internal stakeholders, organise processes better for delivery and leverage on our resources,” she said.
Superlock Technology Limited
On the contractual relationship between the EC and Superlock Technology Limited (STL), Mrs Osei said the EC had a contract with the technology company to provide biometric registration equipment, verification kits and Wide Area Network (WAN), as well as manage the EC database.
She explained that any decision to allow the EC to own the database would depend on all the seven commissioners of the EC and the ability and skills of the staff at the Commission’s ICT Department.
Limited voters’ registration
Concerning the upcoming limited voters registration exercise scheduled from April 28 to May 8, 2016, Mrs Osei said the EC expected to register 1.2 million new voters.
“This exercise is not for voters who have misplaced their voter ID cards but for people who have just turned 18 and those who could not register in the last registration exercise,” she said.
She cautioned that registering again due to a misplaced voter ID card amounted to multiple registration, which is a criminal offence and which would result in the offender’s name being taken out of the register.
However, she explained that measures had been put in place to allow those who had misplaced their voter ID cards to exercise their franchise after going through biometric verification.
She said those who had misplaced their voter ID cards could also apply to the EC for replacement at a cost GHc5.
Mrs Osei hinted that the EC was pursuing pragmatic measures to ensure continuing registration, explaining that any eligible voter could walk to any office of the Commission nationwide to be registered.
Cleaning the register
On the vexed question of the cleaning of the voters register, Mrs Osei said the EC would take steps to clean the register.
She said the Commission would implement the five-member panel’s recommendations to the letter.
She explained that the EC would follow its laid-down programmes towards the 2016 elections, which, in a few days, would culminate in the limited registration exercise to update the register.
She said it was reasonable to expect the EC to conduct an exhibition of the voters register after the limited registration exercise.
She said the exhibition process of both the new and existing register would enable voters to go out to the registration centres to check if their details were correct.
According to her, during the process, the EC would make biometric verification devices (BVD) available to enable voters to verify their details to be sure they could vote on Election Day.
Mrs Osei explained that the new EC logo which had generated a lot of stakeholder outcry was adopted to demonstrate the independence of the institution.
According to her, the old logo, which had the national coat of arms, portrayed the EC as an institution under the control of the government, a situation which affected its operations.
She said the new logo gave the EC a new identity which represented a unified common purpose and vision as an independent institution.
She said the design and selection of the new logo was not an artistic competition meant to impress.
According to her, the design of the logo was not opened up for invitations but the result of an internal consultation.
“We did not open up invitations for people to send logos in because the logo has to represent where we are going as a brand and an institution. So it’s not just about putting colours together… We also worked very closely with other ECs, we looked at their strategic plans, we exchanged information….it’s a process, a logo is not just an artistic competition,” she added.
Source: Daily Graphic
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