The Electoral Commission per its five year strategic plan wants to be branded as functionally and legally independent in the conduct of credible elections. Among other things, the plan seeks to achieve improved integrity, honesty and transparency in the country's electoral processes. These are laudable ideas which when achieved, would go a long way to improve Ghana's electoral processes and boost the credibility and image of its Election Management Body. In the quest to achieve transparency, the Electoral Commission must endeavor to move beyond the Inter Party Advisory Committee and ensure that the citizenry are regularly made aware of its activities. For now, it appears that many issues are discussed at IPAC and agreements are reached on them, yet, both the EC and the Political Parties who have the mandate under the constitution to ensure political socialization among the citizenry have failed to communicate such consensus and agreements that are reached to the citizenry.
The image of the EC has been bartered whether rightly or wrongly, and it is contingent upon the Commission to repair it. This, it can do by first taking the citizens seriously. At the launch of its five year strategic plan, the Chairperson of the Commission, sounded cheeky and dismissive in her responses to nagging questions put to her by journalists. This is most regrettable. The issue of the EC's new logo is a very thorny one. There is no doubt that logos are very important in projecting the image of any organisation. They speak to the values, mission and vision of the organisation. But it is interesting the kind of explanation the EC gave for its new logo and the decision to leave out the Coat of Arms. The Chairperson of the Commission argued that the EC is free to assert its rights under the law by being creative with a new logo. The new logo stirred controversy especially on social media after pictures of a similar logo popped up. But the Commission is rejecting claims that it has plagiarized the logo of a Turkish educational institute, Yedi Sistem, challenging the institute to feel free to assert its rights under the law if it feels its artistic work has been plagiarized. It will be unfortunate for any institution to attempt to trivialize an issue as important as intellectual property right. And it will be necessary for the EC to come again on this subject. But the most critical aspect of this logo is the decision to do away with the coat of arms. According to the Commission, the coat of arms in the previous logo was not necessary because, it did not speak to the independence and legal functions of the EC, as the Commission does not represent the authority of the state. This argument, to say the least is unsustainable. Contrary to the claims by the EC, no logo represents the authority and legitimacy of nationhood more than the coat of arms. Indeed, as an independent entity of the state, the coat of arms represents it better than what is being bandied about. It is also unfortunate that the Commission chose this time to change its logo. Spending scarce resources on a logo at a time when people are yearning for the implementation of concrete electoral reform proposals is a misplaced priority and epitomizes how the EC sometimes trivializes issues of utmost importance to Ghanaians. Going forward, the Commission must begin to put its house in order. It must do what it takes to win the hearts and confidence of all Ghanaians, so that everyone can go along with it on the journey towards delivering free, transparent and credible election this year and beyond.
BY DR. RANSFORD GYAMPO, SENIOR POLITICAL SCIENCE LECTURER, UNIVERSITY OF GHANA, LEGON.