EC urged to set time frame, limit for political parties to campaign

The Institute of Democratic Development, Ghana (IDEG), has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to set a time frame and limit for political parties to campaign for general election.

It noted that the electoral management body should regulate the periods and duration of political campaigns and cited both Kenya and Nigeria, whose electoral management bodies had regulated their periods and duration of political campaigns.

“Ghana’s lack of such measures are not helping and we are told in Kenya they have 50 days for election campaign and Nigeria does 150 days, but ours is limitless, which is not helping political parties in their campaigns,” the Institute observed.

Professor Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of IDEG, made the call at a panel discussion on the 2022 Kenya and 2023 Nigeria elections and the lessons for Ghana ahead of the 2024 general election.

It was also to brainstorm on importance of EC to correct the growing negative perception about the institution, which was not good for the country’s democratic progress, growth and development.

Prof. Akwetey indicated that think tanks had been pushing for a long time for the country to have a campaign season and formation of political parties should not only be about elections after elections adding that “formation of political parties should not only focus on election-related issues but initiate innovative development-oriented policies to benefit the citizenry”.

Dr Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD – Ghana) asked EC to nurture trust among political parties to ensure election results were acceptable to all stakeholders.

He explained that building trust in electoral processes, extending time frame for election, planning and increasing public access to key data results were necessary to improve the nation’s democratic governance.

“Whatever the Commission needs to do should be done early and clarified so as stakeholders will understand and appreciate their relevance and recommend reforming of processes of appointment to EC Board since current method did not make it transparent and inclusive,” Dr Asante decried.

Dr Edward Ampratwum, a representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), advised political parties to commit to dialogue, consensus building and resolving their differences through peaceful means.

Mulle Musau, Coordinator, Elections Observation Group, Kenya, stated that Ghana should have clear electoral laws, which must be adhered to by all political parties -thus learning from both the Kenyan and Nigerian experiences.

Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Nigeria, admonished the EC not to create doubt about electoral processes so that outcome of elections would be accepted by all parties.

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