Afari-Gyan Blames Political Parties for electoral mayhem
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has disclosed that problems such as minors' registration, multiple voting and many other unlawful practices by some electorates which normally becomes a challenge for the EC are most of the time brought about by the political parties and their politicians.
Speaking at the 5th Kronti ne Akwamu lecture organized by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), dubbed "The Challenges To Conducting Free and Fair Elections in Emerging African Democracies: The Case of Ghana", the EC Chairman continued that no electorate goes to bed thinking about multiple registration or causing mayhem, unless a political party or politician instigates the person to do so.
Touching on the issue of multiple registrations, he emphasized that an effective collaboration with the National Identification Authority will assist in the process of deleting foreigners and illegal voters from the voters' register.
On some of the challenges that confronted the EC in their work last year, Dr. Afari-Gyan mentioned legal framework, making and maintaining a good voter register, funding and technical among others.
He, therefore, underscored the need for the country to have free and fair elections, adding that there is the need for all political parties to organize campaigns in an orderly manner which is free from violence as well as respect for one another, thereby assisting in the quest to achieve credible elections.
Afari-Gyan pointed out that the Commission possesses an independent mind in the discharge of its mandate without interference from any external source, adding that his outfit is doing all it can to build a system of integrity to ensure that workers of the Commission are not in anyway influenced by political parties to perform some function which swing in their favour.
He stated that even though the Commission employs temporary workers to supplement the limited permanent workers during elections, there is the likelihood of temporary workers to exhibit non neutrality, which sometimes becomes difficult to detect, especially if it is done deliberately.
He entreated the citizenry to desist from the practice of casting multiple votes to avoid heated confrontations at polling stations.
Dr. Afari-Gyan commended the media for performing well in the 2008 general elections, especially with report from some of the remote areas in the country, as well as drawing the attention of the Commission to areas where there was shortage of election materials declaring that "however some reports were incompetent."
He also called on the media to create an equitable access to all political parties and their candidates so as to help the citizens to make a right decision.
He urged the security agencies to protect ballot boxes during election periods and not take part in the administration of the elections.
Dr. Afari-Gyan called for equal playing field for all political parties, thereby safeguarding transparency for the political parties.
He called for equal access to financial resources to ensure that all political parties have equal chance of winning elections.
The Chairman stressed that without financial support, regardless of the quality of the presidential candidate, together with the message, there is no way such a candidate could win an election. In this regard, he called on the government to ensure that the public funding for political parties policy materializes.
The Kronti Ne Akwamu lecture is an annual lecture on democracy and good governance instituted by the Centre for Democratic Development.
The lecture features distinguished scholars and practitioners around the world whose work focuses on democracy building and fostering good governance.
Source: The Ghanaian Observer