Give EC benefit of the doubt

The just-ended exhibition of the provisional voter register has brought to the fore some anomalies, majority of which the Electoral Commission (EC) on Monday assured the country it had resolved.

However, the challenges, including missing names and duplicated identity numbers, continue to be subject of discussion in the media and the political space because of the fear that some eligible voters could be disenfranchised.

We, therefore, find the process initiated by the Commission to remedy the mishaps as a step in the right direction because such issues, if left unresolved, could degenerate into tensions during the upcoming polls.

Indeed, the essence of the exhibition exercise was to discover problems and solve them in line with processes involved in the compilation of a new register or preparations towards any major election.

This is why the Ghanaian Times is asking political actors to give the EC the benefit of doubt to correct its errors and produce a credible register and election subsequently.

After all, the Commission is the only entity mandated to compile or maintain the register and it had already set in motion a process to do the needful as expected by all stakeholders.

We understand the apprehension that has characterised the exercise because the EC was expected to show some level of efficiency due to the assurances it gave ahead of the compilation of the register.

However, the events of the past few days have shown that there is some work to be done, especially when the EC has admitted that the challenges were as a result of human and administrative errors in the transfer of data.

Like the EC Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa said at the press briefing, the Commission would require the support of all stakeholders, especially the political parties, to deliver on its mandate.

The collaboration is non-negotiable because the EC is not a repository of wisdom.

In supporting this call for collaboration, we would urge the EC to solidify its relations with Inter-Party Advisory Committee instead of taking unilateral decisions as alleged by some of the political parties.

With hindsight, the Commission should put stringent measures in place to ensure that those human and administrative errors it encountered are not repeated in the upcoming elections.

This is because elections are more sensitive and such errors should have no place in the process, otherwise the over two decades of the country’s democratic gains would be eroded.

And so in the coming days, we expect the EC to update Ghanaians on the resolution of the challenges as promised to clear all doubts and fears of the voting public.

For instance, the rest of the missing names should be found and added to the electoral roll, while those whose identity numbers were duplicated should be issued new ones.

In doing so, the trust that people have in the Commission, which may have quivered due to recent developments, would be restored in the expectation that it would deliver a credible election.

This benefit of the doubt that we plead for the Commission should not be taken for granted.

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