4 December 2012

Ghana: Electoral Commission Must Inspire Confidence in the Vote

Photo: Ghana Decides
Voter registration.


With three days to the Presidential and Legislative elections, copies of the voters' register are now being distributed to party executives and their agents. The Electoral Commission is now registering potential voters in six polling stations in the Kasina Nankana Constituency in the Northern Region.

It would take a miracle for the potential voters to be captured in the voters register for the national exercise on Friday.

In spite of all the roof-top advertisements of conducting a peaceful poll, the prognoses are not very good. The Electoral Commission, with good old Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan conducting the orchestra, has kept the cards close to its chest for far too long.

As it is, nobody could vouch that the vote on Friday would be transparent, free and fair. The referee in the middle has not given any indication of any problem. But, in all probability, all is not that well with the Commission.

It is very difficult to visualise how the Commission would get the people in the six polling booths in the Kasana Nankana constituency captured in the voters register, to enable them take part in the polls without any hitches.

The Chronicle has its own apprehension about how Friday's vote would pass off peacefully and without any incident. For the first time in the history of the Fourth Republic, we are going to mechanise the vote. The use of the verification machine to identify voters means that electricity would be a major factor in Friday's vote.

With the erratic power supply, it would be a miracle for all parts of the country to have power throughout the duration of the voting period. At the first Presidential Debate, President John Dramani Mahama promised that the power outages, otherwise known in local parlance as 'Dumso Dumso', would be over by the middle of November. We are in the fourth day of December, and the situation has not improved.

As it turned out, President Mahama's pledge in Tamale has not been fulfilled, just as the One Time Payment Premium Insurance policy promised by the National Democratic Congress in 2008, or the forty percentage government jobs for women, which remain standing in the unfulfilled column of the NDC manual of pledges.

In any society, President Mahama's reliability rating would have tumbled by now, for failing to live by his word. As it is, the President's word appears to count for nothing, which is why some of us are apprehensive as Friday draws near, in spite of the assurances from the President and his officials that there would be peace before, during and after the vote.

Let us be honest, the Electoral Commission does not ooze that confidence any more. The Chronicle was not happy when Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan failed to turn up at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, the other day, to pledge the Commission's commitment to peace, as part of the Kumasi Peace Declaration.

We are not very comfortable with the way serious issues about the elections have been handled by the Electoral Commission so far. The Chronicle hopes that Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan does not re-enact the anarchy that surrounded the District Assembly elections in 2010. We hope that we would not come to that, but the prognoses are not good.

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