Peace Council Must Engage EC: Over Legal Battles, Says JUSAG

The Pesident of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) has described the demeanour of the Electoral Commission (EC) as one that “lacks interest-based approach” following the dispute that has arisen out of the disqualification of 12 political parties from the December 7 presidential race.

Mr. Alex Nartey, who doubles as the head of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Department of the Judicial Service said the ongoing dispute between the EC and the political parties is unfortunate and wondered why the Peace Council is sitting unconcerned.

Speaking to the DAILY HERITAGE in an interview in Accra yesterday, Mr Nartey said the “EC is lacking what in conflict resolution circles is referred to as interest based approach and you don’t talk law at the peril of the masses.

“Workers of the judiciary are concerned. We are in a position to host all the disputes that are coming out and the courts have really shown that we are ready in the case of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and EC and the others and so as far as we are concerned, yes we have capacity to deal with the issues and we are psychologically and physically ready to deal with the issues.”

I’m sad

According to the JUSAG president, “I’m not so much happy about the demeanor of the EC. The EC is supposed to be a referee. It doesn’t have to do anything that warrants disputes from the stakeholders with whom it must engage in a more collaborative manner.

“I think that this is the time institutions such as the Peace Council must come in. The role of the Peace Council is to engage players in our electoral process and statutory bodies to work in a manner that will give Ghana the environment we need for development.

“Why must the EC disqualify political parties when it had not given them the opportunity to do the necessary corrections? I think that one thing the EC must do is to get a unit that will even assist political parties to do the right thing,” he suggested.

Don’t be litigious

Mr. Nartey said, “in order to have a smooth running of registration and go through the entire processes, issues must be made clear to the EC on the proper management of the concerns rather than being litigious.

“I think that the EC does not have the full understanding of interest based approach to issues management and we must appeal to the EC to get it clear that it is not there to be litigious, it is there to collaborate with stakeholders.

“Handling political parties goes beyond talking law. You must cater for the aspirations of the people. The EC must learn to engage the political parties properly, let them understand the direction in which we are all going. Take their input and make sure that you factor every input and concerns into decisions you take.”

Peace Council must wake up

He said the Peace Council must be proactive and not sit down for the EC to plunge the country into crisis before they act.

“I think the Peace Council must not sit down for the EC to plunge us into crisis before they act. They must be proactive. The Peace Council must have a system to let the people know which of the institutions are cooperating with them.

“We need to see them physically engaging all the stakeholders. I believe that when Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom threatened a court action, the Peace Council ought to have come in to engage the EC and the PPP because the issue was a media table issue,” he noted.