We commend EC over use of professionals for polls but... - LMVCA
The Chair of the Electoral Commission, Ghana (EC), Charlotte Osei, on Tuesday, August 23 told a gathering of news editors that the Commission will employ the services of members of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) at the Constituency Collation Centers in the December 7 polls.
“When we are tallying in the collation process to remove errors, we think it may be beneficial to have another layer of checks so the lawyers will make sure that the forms are properly filled and the accountants will check and make sure that the numbers have been added up properly,” Charlotte Osei said.
The ruling National Democratic Congress has since expressed misgivings about the decision.
Director of Elections of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo has said he will be taking the matter to the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) for further discussion.
But the pro-opposition group, LMVCA believes the EC has taken the right step ahead of the elections.
It, however, asked the EC to ensure that the recruitment process is more stringent, and non-partisan.
“We know there are several professionals, including teachers, health workers, civil servants and bank workers, who will be happy to sacrifice one day of the next four years for their country.We will therefore encourage the EC to make extra effort to make it easier for professionals to sign up for work as EC officials at the polling stations.
“This will significantly improve the manner in which elections are conducted, results recorded and collated, thereby, increasing the degree of accuracy to enhance the credibility of the entire electoral process,” a statement signed by Convener of the group, David Asante said.
Below is the full statement from the group:
29 August, 2016
The decision by the Electoral Commission to engage professionals, notably accountants and lawyers, as collation officers and returning officers at the constituency level for the December 7 general elections is commendable.
The Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) will not only praise the EC for doing this but encourage the Commission to establish a system of greater transparency for the recruitment of people of basic integrity to be election officers at all 29,000 polling stations nationwide.
The principles which inform the engagement of professionals for collation purposes are equally vital to be applied at the polling station level, where voters are verified, ballot papers issued, votes are counted and recorded.
Accuracy, honesty, impartiality, integrity have been found to be wanting where it matters most, at the polling station.
Whiles it is impossible to find enough lawyers and accountants to fill the over 150,000 election officer slots vacant at the 29,000 centres, the EC should take serious lessons from the debacle of 2012 and make the recruitment process more stringent.
We know there are several professionals, including teachers, health workers, civil servants and bank workers, who will be happy to sacrifice one day of the next four years for their country.We will therefore encourage the EC to make extra effort to make it easier for professionals to sign up for work as EC officials at the polling stations.
This will significantly improve the manner in which elections are conducted, results recorded and collated, thereby, increasing the degree of accuracy to enhance the credibility of the entire electoral process.
LMVCA held a press conference on 14th July, 2016 during which we stated emphatically that the involvement of professionals with integrity in the electoral process would reduce errors during the counting, recording and collation of election results, and considerably enhance the credibility of elections. We are urging the EC to make it a policy to extend the involvement of professionals to the polling station.
The Election Petition, which ensued after the 2012 elections unveiled the multitude of errors that characterized the 2012 elections. Today, in commemoration of the third anniversary of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Election Petition, LMVCA calls on all professionals, particularly accountants and lawyers, etc. to take up the role and challenge to get involved in the forthcoming elections either as constituency collation officers or polling station presiding officers.
Having credible and peaceful elections are crucial to the stability and development of our country. It is therefore incumbent on all patriotic citizens of integrity, with a high understanding of numeracy and the electoral process, to get involved to ensure credible elections for the consolidation of democracy in Ghana.
LMVCA urges all political parties to support the decision of the EC to engage lawyers and accountants in the collation of election results. What they should rather focus on is the recruitment criterion, which should frown on partisanship.
We further challenge political parties to recruit and train highly qualified persons to act as political party agents to police the ballot.
Elections are so crucial that, the entire process must be entrusted into the hands of persons who are highly qualified and who have a high level of understanding of the electoral process.
To Ghanaian professionals we say let us all get involved to support the EC get it right for Ghana in 2016.
David Asante - Convenor
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