The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), is urging President Akufo-Addo to initiate processes to amend the 1992 Constitution to reflect the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) presented to the Presidency 10 years ago.
The party, which emphasized electoral reforms in the commission’s report, has also justified a 34-point electoral reform it has proposed.
Key among the proposals is parliamentary scrutiny of the selection of the Electoral Commission (EC) Chair and other commission members, a ban on the use of the military during elections, and a legislative instrument to give legal backing to the operations of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) among others.
“We would urge His Excellency the President to accept the interpretation of the Apex Court (Supreme Court) as the correct interpretation of the Constitution and the law and proceed to urgently activate the processes for the early implementation of the constitutional reforms as set out by the constitutional reform committee on 20th December 2011″, Nana Ato Dadzie, Chairman of NDC Electoral Reform Committee said at a press conference on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
According to the party, it hopes the government initiates the necessary steps to operationalize the flagship reform recommendations and proposals, as well as the recommendations of the Constitutional Reform Commission.
“The NDC’s reform proposals, together with the supplementary reform proposals that may be submitted, are intended to be used to undertake a dispassionate and open discussion and review of the EC’s operations. They are aimed at contributing to a national conversation on electoral reforms against the background of critical and lingering cross-party dissatisfaction with the electoral process”, Nana Ato Dadzie added. NDC’s flagship recommendations:
- The continuous registration of voters system already approved by IPAC and accepted by the EC must be implemented. However, for reasons of cost and convenience, the registration should be undertaken at the district offices of the EC once a month on the last Friday of every month.
- The mandatory requirement for the publication of applicants for recruitment as temporary EC staff for registration of voters and for elections and for allowing the public to object to applicants who have questionable backgrounds or have overt partisan biases must be strictly complied with.
- The EC should make sure that recruitment for the various categories of election officials is made as non-partisan as possible, with the available positions being advertised and non-partisan and competent persons being selected after interviews.
- The list of all polling stations to be used for an election with their names, code numbers and locations should be published in the Gazette and as supplements in the state-owned newspapers not later than 30 days to the election.
- The Regional Collation Centre should be abolished.
- The voting period of 7 am to 5 pm should be maintained.
- The EC should establish Election Adjudication Committees (EACs) at the national and constituency levels as administrative-dispute-resolution mechanisms for first instance grievances against decisions and actions of election officials.
- The EC should be required to publish details of all election results on polling stations by polling stations and constituency by constituency basis on its website and in the Gazette.
- There must be a public broadcast of the Presidential vote collation process at the EC Head Office as and when the constituency Presidential results are received and certified.
Stakeholder engagement proposals
- The silence of the reform proposals on the issue of the increasing “monetization” of electoral politics in Ghana is deafening.
- The proposed Office of the Regulator of Political Parties (ORPP) should be re-designated “Multi-Party Democracy Commission (MPDC) with an expanded mandate to address the pathologies of the political system and to monitor the health of Ghana’s democracy, especially in periods in between elections.
- The proposed name of the ORPP should be changed to “Political Parties Regulatory Commission” (PPRC).
- There should be a cap on political party funding for electoral campaigns.
- The NDC’s engagement with stakeholders should be broadened into a “National Consultation on Electoral Reforms”.
- The membership of the EC should be technocratic rather than political, with the membership positions being advertised, candidates interviewed and the most suitable persons appointed.
- There should be criteria to sieve out registered but inactive and moribund political parties and political parties that do not appear to be serious from the electoral process and from membership of the IPAC.
- The proposed Election Adjudication Committees (EACs) should be given a time frame within which to finish their work.
- The NDC should keep faith with Ghanaians and implement its reform proposals when it finds itself in government and the proposals have not been implemented at that time.
- The NDC may wish to secure the buy-in of other political parties before the proposals are tabled at a meeting of either the EC or the IPAC.
- The military must not be deployed in civilian elections under any circumstances whatsoever.
- The Legal and Technical Sub-Committees of the IPAC should be revived when the IPAC is restructured and becomes fully functional.
- If official legislative backing for the IPAC proves difficult, an MP or MPs should sponsor a Private Member’s Bill to that effect.
- There should be a mechanism to reduce the incidence of “spoilt ballots” during elections.