Senior law lecturer, Dr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, has underscored the need for Ghana’s Electoral Commission to reason with political parties on key initiatives in order to build consensus ahead of the 2020 general elections.
Recent controversies around the management and administration of the December 7 polls, he observed, has become a cause of worry.
The EC has come under criticism from civil society groups and largely a coalition political parties over its decision to procure new biometric and electoral devices for creation of a new voters’ register and for the conduct of the December polls.
The Commission took the decision to acquire a new Biometric Voter Management System for the upcoming general elections based on the advice of its IT team and external consultants.
The two concluded it would be prudent to acquire a new system rather than refurbish the current system.
“It is important to note that the equipment that the entire voter management system runs on, from enrolment, duplication, adjudication to voters’ verification is obsolete and no longer supported by their Original Equipment Manufacturers,” the EC claimed earlier this year.
Despite criticism and resistance against the compilation of a new voters’ register, the EC has said it will go ahead with the exercise.
“You can’t get consensus anywhere; it can never happen and it will never happen. If we want to get consensus before we act, then we will never act,” Dr Serebour Quaicoe, the Director of Electoral Services, told TV3 in February this year.
Addressing a Media General-organised public lecture on electoral violence, Dr Abotsi observed consensus building which characterized Ghana’s electoral governance from the 2004 elections, was currently missing.
“I will suggest that the EC should continue that practice by building consensus on key initiatives,” he said, underscoring how important it is for the EC as a referee in the polls, to convince the players and Ghanaians that it is fair in its work.
EC’s fairness, according to the private legal practitioner, must be matched by what he described as perpetual fairness that is balanced and objective in its judgment and actions.
Notwithstanding the reservations, he said; “I am confident in this EC in this regard to deal with all emerging issues the right way and carry everyone along.
“The advice equally goes for the parties given that the obligation to consult must always be read in the context of the constitutional mandate of the EC to do the needful in the best interest of the country” he added.