WHAT NEXT EC?

Last Friday’s directive by the Supreme Court to the Electoral Commission (EC), to stop all plans towards the conduct of the District Level Election on March 3, must be a major embarrassment to the Commission.

The Times feels that the case should not have gone to the Supreme Court in the first place, had EC been more proactive and considered the advice of stakeholders.

Worse still, the sloppy defence put up by the EC in court was, to say the least, embarrassing and could have been avoided.

The Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict, nullified the scheduled elections and ordered the EC to suspend all preparations towards the conduct of the district elections on March 3, and to re-open nominations for interested citizens to file their forms to participate.

The plantiff, Benjamin Eyi Mensah of Winneba, had petitioned the Supreme Court, through his lawyer, Alexander Afenyo Markins, that he had been denied the opportunity to file his nomination and contest in the elections, despite meeting all conditions to be registered as a candidate, because the EC closed nominations before the maturation of Constitutional Instrument (CI) 85.

According to the plaintiff, who is a fisherman and seeking to contest as an assemblyman for the Eyipeh Electoral Area, within the Effutu District in the Central Region, the EC opened and closed nominations when the CI 85 was not in force, thereby rendering the exercise unconstitutional and of no legal effect.

How the EC arrived at its date, beats our imagination and goes to buttress the fact that Ghana truly needs electoral reforms.

The verdict of the Supreme Court is indicative that the EC has taken so many things for granted.

The battered image of the Commission during the Election Petition hearing in 2013, is still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians, and no one would have expected that it would suffer another humiliation so soon.

As matters stand now, the decision is not going to affect only the EC, but the entire nation especially the aspiring candidates and other stakeholders.

Indeed, the elections would have been held in 216 districts to elect more than 6,000 assembly members throughout the country. Currently, many of them have invested so much resources into campaigns, hoping to be elected as assembly members.

As things have turned out, they would have to wait a bit longer, as the EC contemplates the next line of action.

Undoubtedly, this year’s district level elections would go down in history as the most troubled for several reasons.

First, the elections had to be postponed from last year to this year and it faces another postponement and again, there are fears of voter apathy during the elections.

As the EC licks its wounds, it is important for it to put its house in order to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections moving forward.

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