Politics

Untimely release of funds a major challenge at EC – Charlotte Osei

Charlotte Osei
Charlotte Osei

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei is optimistic the commission’s five-year development plan will help wean itself from depending on government for funds.

This has become necessary due to the inability of the Finance Ministry to release funds timely to support projects by the Commission, she noted.

Speaking on TV3’s Hot Issue Saturday, Mrs. Osei identified delay in the release of fund as a “big challenge”.

“Release of budgeted funds on time is always a major challenge…it has always been a challenge,” she reiterated.

The Chairperson of the Commission said her outfit has been engaging the Finance Ministry on the importance of releasing funds on time.

That notwithstanding, she said, “things are on course” for the Commission to hold yet another successful general elections this year.

“When it comes to the strategic plan, we have a massive support from the donor community…but also one of the key things we are looking at in the strategic plan is to also manage the dependence on GoG (government of Ghana) funding and how it affects our timetable. And also look at how we can generate some of our own funding…to support some of our own activities so that the delays and the impact of delayed funding to our activities can be minimized.”

MANUAL VERIFICATION

Even though the verification machine has a 99% work rate, there is a one percent chance that someone might be rejected, she conceded.

She said the Commission will therefore meet the inter-party advisory committee (IPAC) to agree on how to manually verify eligible voters who might be rejected by the machine.

Also, she stated that each polling station would be allocated with two machines to avoid a repeat of last general elections where malfunctioning machines forced the extension of voting day to two.

With enhanced and tested software, she said, each constituency would be provided with 12 backup machines as well.

ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

Madam Charlotte Osei indicated that the Commission would roll out elaborate plans, in consultation with IPAC, to clean the register, which some groups, notably the NPP, have called for a total scrap.

Results would be published at the polling station before being transmitted electronically to the coalition centre, she stated.

This year’s election is likely to be held on November 7.

BIAS

It is uncommon to have opposition parties labeling the Electoral Commissioners especially its chairman of being in bed with the government of the day.

Her predecessor, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan had his fair share of such tagging from the two major political parties – NPP and NDC – depending on the side of the coin they were.

But Madam Osei told Kwesi Pratt Jnr. host of TV3’s Hot Issue that the “bias tag” has never affected her work or any of the six other commissioners

“We just do what we believe is right, what we believe is fair,” she pointed out, “we won’t get the job done if we focus on criticism”.

Rather, she said, the commissioners keep an eye on the implication of the decision they take and the legal ramification.

 

Story by Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana

 

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