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‘Appointment of EC commissioners by the President is not inclusive’ – EU Report on 2020 Polls

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The European Union Observer Mission’s Report on Ghana’s 2020 Election has opined that the appointment of the 7 member electoral commissioners without consultation with the opposition is not inclusive.

In their view, the approach does not build confidence in the work of the electoral body.

“The appointments mechanism, whereby all seven EC members are selected by the President for an indefinite tenure without consultation with the opposition, is not inclusive and does not build confidence,” the report said.

“The EC is an independent constitutional body mandated to conduct and supervise elections and referenda, compile and update the voter register, demarcate electoral boundaries and educate the people on the electoral process,” it added.

The report said the main opposition party, the NDC, frequently accused the EC of incompetence and bias and declared it had no confidence in the EC leadership.

The report among other things raised concerns over the role of the media in covering the elections and collation saying the coalition process was less transparent.

“Collation of results at the constituency level was observed in 35 constituency collation centres with many of them being visited repeatedly. Collation process was less well organised and less transparent often due to a lack of detailed procedures, inadequate facilities and overcrowding which at times led to agents and observers not having a clear view of the procedures and the filling in of result forms. Instances of unrest and tension were observed in Asawase, Sunyani West and Techiman South constituencies. The results were collated in the presence of party agents and observers and key transparency measures were adhered to.”

It stated that the 2020 elections were organised in an efficient and transparent manner, and voters participated freely. The elections were competitive, and contestants could campaign without hindrance.

“A few isolated violent incidents occurred, and numerous stakeholders expressed deep apprehensions about the possible use of vigilante groups by political parties. Unregulated political finance, misuse of state resources and numerous instances of vote-buying resulted in an unlevel playing field. Ghana’s vibrant and diverse media sector provided voters with sufficient information on both major competing parties and their candidates. However, state media favoured the ruling party and its presidential candidate who received extensive coverage at government inaugurations.”

“The main opposition party frequently expressed a lack of confidence in the Electoral Commission, accusing it of partisanship and criticising the timing of the new voter registration exercise, so close to elections and during a pandemic. However, the process was inclusive and resulted in a high number of registered voters, and the quality of the register was positively tested on election day.”

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

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