The Electoral Commission (EC) member responsible for the Brong Ahafo Region, Nana Amba Eyiaba I, has called for a closer collaboration between the EC and all stakeholders, especially political parties, to help transform the country’s electoral processes and procedures to enable the system to be respected and accepted by all.
She has, therefore, advised political parties to channel all their concerns to the EC as a way of helping to improve on the electoral system rather than to go on the airwaves to discredit the system which was collectively owned by all stakeholders.
She also pledged that the EC would be proactive in addressing issues raised by the various political parties and also embarked on a vigorous educational campaign to enhance the system and ensure that most of the hitches encountered in the 2008 polls were reduced or eliminated before the 2012 general election.
Nana Eyiaba , who is also the Krontihemaa of the Oguaa Traditional Area in the Central Region and a former Board Member of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), made the call at a day’s expanded Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee (RIPAC) meeting held at Fiapre in the Sunyani West District to review the December 2008 Elections with regard to activities carried out under the “Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot Project”.
It was organised by the EC in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and KAB Governance Consult.
Nana Eyiaba, who was responding to concerns raised by five out of the seven political parties that contested the 2008 polls namely, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the meeting also called on political parties not to politicise the recruitment of temporally staff by the EC for the conduct of elections since it was done in a transparent manner.
Conspicuously missing at the meeting were representatives from the Democratic Freedom Party (DPP) and Reformed Patriotic Democrat (RPD) which also participated in the last elections.
Among some of the concerns raised by the parties at the meeting were that the EC should not wait when there were tensions before it came out with procedures to enhance the electoral system, the need for vigorous public education on the voting system to reduce or eliminate spoilt and rejected ballots in future elections, measures to prevent double registration and electoral malpractices as well as how to help the smaller parties to grow.
Nana Eyiaba stated that to further improve the electoral system to ensure that elections held were transparent, free and fair, political parties should abide by the rules and regulations that governed the conduct of elections.
She bemoaned the last minute withdrawal of selected political party’s agents who were trained by the EC with scarce resources and donor funds which were experienced in 2008 election.
The electoral commission member therefore called on the executive of the various political parties to consult with their candidates to select their agents who they can trust in order to forestall a future occurrence of such ‘last minute’ replacement of trained party agents with untrained one’s which does not help the system.
Nana Eyiaba also announced that plans were underway to adopt the Bio-data electronic system for the registration exercise of the EC to eliminate the issue of double registration and other hitches before the 2012 elections.
She disclosed further that a committee had been set up by the EC to help plan for that.
She further advised all political parties to let their activities be felt in all the 230 constituencies in the country and pledged that the EC would also do its part to ensure a level playing field for all parties to grow.
Nana Eyiaba called on Returning Officers to catalogue all the electoral malpractices and offences they recorded in their various districts during the 2008 elections to ensure that the perpetrators were dealt with according to the laws to serve as a deterrent to others as well as to ensure sanity in the system.
Mr James Arthur-Yeboah, the Brong Ahafo Regional Deputy Director of the EC, commended the various security agencies for the manner they handled the security situation during the December 7 general election and the December 28 presidential run-off in 2008, and the Tain Constituency decider on January 3, 2009 in the region.