General News of Monday, 5 February 2024
Political scientist and vice President of the Arts Section of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prof. Atsu Ayee has cautioned the Electoral Commission (EC) against any hasty implementation of reforms for the 2024 elections without the approval from major political parties.
The EC has tabled a number of proposals including doing away with indelible ink and moving Election Day to November 7.
The opposition NDC has however rejected the proposals rather asking the commission to implement the date change in 2028.
The party has however out rightly rejected a decision by the EC not to deploy the indelible ink during the elections.
Speaking to Starr News on the sidelines of the 3rd colloquium of the Political Science Education Department of the University of Education, Winneba on the theme “Politics amidst Global uncertainties: Options for building a resilient society, Prof. Ayee warned Ghana cannot afford a disputed election this year.
The former head of department of political science for University of Ghana even though supports the change in election date questioned the last minute proposals from the EC.
“Reforms are about change, they are about the way you do things and they’re about getting buy-in from major stakeholders. If the major stakeholders like the change, go along with it, particular election, which is always contentious in this country and elsewhere. Even in the US, elections are contentious, so I think that, the most prudent way of doing things is to get buy-in and do the change. I myself don’t like the December 7th one, because it is too close, if you have a run-off it becomes a problem and December is always a very short month, crowded and to have elections in December even though we have done that in the past 31-years. We should change. I would say that reform with the agreement of major stakeholders,” he added.
On the indelible in proposal, Prof. Ayee further argued public education by the EC on the reform ought to have started immediately after the last General Elections.
That is another reform which needs the buy-in from people. All these while we have been having indelible-ink, if you want to change, it needs education. I think education should have started about 4years ago, but you just don’t get up and say you want to change indelible-ink during the district level elections, it can’t work.”
Prof. Ayee consequently cautioned the Jean Mensah led EC to avoid things that could open the outcome of the 2024 elections to contention which he argued could lead to chaos.
“Because of the contentious nature of elections, you need to get buy-in from all the stakeholders, particularly the major ones. And so I would say that yes if the major stakeholders would allow, if you have proper education of all the electorate, remember the voters are also important in this regard, because if there’s no indelible-ink what would happen, so I think that the people of Ghana would need to be more educated in terms of the indelible-ink and the political party themselves would need to agree to educate their people on the ground, so more work for the electoral commission,” he stated.
The former head of the Political Science department of the University of Ghana accused the Electoral Commission of rigidity. According to Prof. Ayee the commission has in recent times exhibited signs of abhorrence to wise counsel and inputs from stakeholders.
“The electoral commission must also be more flexible. It looks to some of us that it is becoming inflexible. I think that in institution building or making institutions stronger, you also need to become more flexible and to take account of the views of your major stakeholders, so that you don’t rock the boat.
“We need everybody, within the next 10 months, we need everybody so that the boat is not rocked so that everybody will accept the outcome of the elections. The outcome should not be contentious as to create chaos in this country,” he warned.