STATEMENT ON PREPARATIONS TOWARDS THE 2010 DISTRICT ASSEMBLIES ELECTIONS
The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) wishes to share its growing concerns with the levels of preparation and readiness so far made towards the District Assemblies (DAs) election scheduled for December 28, 2010.
We appreciate the chain of avoidable and unavoidable circumstances leading to the unfortunate delays in getting the nation adequately prepared for the 2010 edition of the district level elections. Particularly delays associated with in the approval of the two Legislative Instruments (LI 1967 & LI 1983, 2010) necessary to back local level electoral reforms, including reduction of the Unit Committee membership and re-demarcation of the Electoral Areas.
We do recognize the harm being done to decentralized local government in Ghana with the District Assemblies operating without district legislators and the need to address this vacuum. But the Center is also deeply disturbed by the implications of going into an election with so little visible preparation. Key among the Center’s specific concerns includes the following:
• The compact nature of the election time-table and ability of the Electoral Commission (EC) and other stakeholders to credibly undertake all the seventeen activities necessary for the conduct of successful district elections on 28th December 2010.
• The extremely limited time allowed for the EC to resolve disputes arising from the re-demarcation of the Electoral Areas; the very limited time the EC has allowed for conducting interactions with stakeholder on the reforms introduced so closely to the date for December 2010 district polls; the extremely limited time within which the EC has had to process nominations, prepare poll notices, and train temporary staff for the very large number of candidates contesting in the local elections.
• The low level of official and media publicity about the December 2010 district polls so far, even though we are only about one week away from the poll date.
• The weakness of voter education, particularly on the new changes introduced in the district elections. And
• The seeming lack of information on the new reforms and electoral boundaries among some of the civil society organizations lending assistance to the process.
The entire local government election process appears to have received very little attention from key election stakeholders such as the media and the public at large. This is most likely to be worsened by the Christmas festivities, which are only a few days away and so close to the date scheduled for the elections.
Given the above observations, the Center questions the prudence and usefulness of going forward with district elections for which both official election authorities and the electorate appear to be so ill prepared. We appeal to the EC and other stakeholders in Ghanaian democracy and good governance in general and decentralized and effective local government in particular to undertake a clear-eyed review of the state of preparations and readiness for holding the polls on the scheduled December 2010 28 date. We recommend that the EC and stakeholders consider the possibility of postponing the polls till January 2011 f there are any doubts about the adequacy of the preparations made for holding successful district polls in 2010.