Build consensus on key initiatives – Lawyer urges EC

Dr Kofi Abotsi, a private legal practitioner, has underscored the need for the Electoral Commission (EC) to reason with political parties on key initiatives in order to build consensus ahead of the 2020 general election.

He cautioned that recent controversies around the management and administration of the December 7 polls had become a cause of worry and stressed on the need for “consensus building which characterised electoral governance from the 2004 elections which was currently missing”.

The EC has come under criticism from civil society groups and a coalition of political parties over its decision to procure new biometric and electoral devices for the compilation 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 election based on the advice of its Information Technology team and external consultants and the two concluded it will be prudent to acquire a new system rather than refurbish the current system.

Addressing a Media General organised public lecture on electoral violence, Dr Abotsi suggested that the EC should continue that practice by building consensus on key initiatives and pointed out how important it was for the EC as a referee in the polls, to convince the players and Ghanaians it was fair in its work.

“EC’s fair, free, transparent and credibility must be matched by perpetual fairness that is balanced and objective in its judgment and actions, notwithstanding the reservations, I am confident in the EC in the regard to deal with all emerging issues the right way and carry everyone along.

“The advice equally goes for the parties given obligation to consult must always be read in context of constitutional mandate of the EC to do the needful in best interest of the country,” Dr Abotsi intimated.

Recently, according to Dr Serebuor Quaicoe, the Director of Electoral Services, “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.

“The equipment the entire voter management system runs on, from enrolment, duplication, adjudication to voters’ verification is obsolete and no longer supported by Original Equipment Manufacturers,” he noted.

Despite criticism and resistance against compilation of new voters’ register, the EC stated it will go ahead with exercise.

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