Friday, 20 September 2013

Reflection On Electoral Reforms

After the ruling of the Supreme Court and its recommendations for electoral reforms, many important personalities and organizations have added their voice to the need for such reforms. The Electoral Commission on its part has extended invitation to the political parties to bring forth proposals in connection with this noble national assignment. This is in recognition that political parties are major stakeholders in elections. As a matter of fact, the acceptability or otherwise of election results, in actual sense, rest with the political parties. It is instructive to note that electoral reforms have been a continuous process since 1992. As a matter of fact, the EC has been embarking on electoral reforms after every election or major electoral activity. The commission embarks on post-election evaluation or debriefing with the sole purpose of improving its performance in future.

The remarkable electoral evolution that we have observed over the years from translucent ballot boxes to transparent ones, replacement of thumbprint voter identity cards with photo id cards, manual registration and identification of voters giving way to biometric registration of voters and its concomitant biometric verification of voters, among others, lend credence to this assertion. Maybe what is new this time round is the publicity given to it and the fact that political parties are being asked officially to submit their inputs. This is a golden opportunity for the political parties to make an impact in the electoral process, so that we can have better elections in future. One important way that they can help to improve our electoral process is to make feasible proposals, vis-a-vis our socio-economic development, literacy level, culture and traditions, our perception towards elections, the level of trust or mistrust among the political parties themselves and others are worthy to be cited. These are very important so that in our zeal to reform our electoral process, we will not solve big problem and create bigger ones. Another means by which the political parties can make positive impact on the electoral process is to respect and be committed to the rules of the game that all of us will put in place. We need to encourage our followers not only to go by the electoral laws, but also allow those who break them to face the full rigours of the law as individual offenders but not to defend them at all cost as political party members. It is even important that they go ahead to condemn those who violate the law. One cannot end any discussion about the role that political parties can play in helping to shape our electoral process without touching on the party agents. It is now clear that political party agents or polling agents as we call them play very important roles in the electoral process at least on election day at the polling station. Against this background, the appointment of these agents should not be seen as job for the boys but rather as a very serious exercise. The parties should appoint people who are not only committed and knowledgeable but also those that can be trusted.

It is not only the political parties whose cooperation is needed to make the electoral reforms a success, but all stakeholders and well-meaning Ghanaians especially, the law enforcement agencies. A humble appeal goes to them that when electoral offences are committed, they should treat them with all the seriousness they deserve. Those who make reckless and insulting statements should be condemned by society because the consequences will be borne by all of us. Let us all bear in mind that elections will come and go but our dear nation will always be there, so we owe it a national duty to preserve the peace and tranquility that our forefathers bequeathed to us.

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