Google search engine

The Electoral Commission (EC) is under obligation to restore its credibility by building a robust system that would ensure a free and transparent elections in 2024, a Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mustapha Gbande, has averred.

He says the Commission should build a consensus with the political parties on the decision to close polls at 3pm instead of the 5pm.

According to him, should the EC provide the necessary materials at the appropriate time with its officers readily available for the polls to begin at the stipulated 7pm, nobody would begrudge the election management body for ending the polls at 3pm.

However, with the current situation where the last exercise was delayed at some polling centres, making such a proposal is totally out of place.

“It will depend on the assurance from the EC that it will be able to convey voting materials and machines and its officers will start work on time. We have had circumstances where up to about 10AM and 11AM, elections haven’t started in various polling centers and that is the major cause of the queues that you see even after the poll close. So we should deal with the fundamental issues.

“We believe that the EC is under the obligation to exonerate itself by building a robust system and also restoring credibility. A party like the NDC is willing to support the EC to build a transparent, rigging-free election. So, they must come out and give us the road map and the road map to get the consensus, that is why we say the purpose of the IPAC is to build consensus. Once we can build consensus among political parties and we are convinced that this particular initiative will offer transparent, credible, free and fair elections, the NDC will be for it ultimately,” he told Alfred Ocansey on TV3’s Ghana Tonight Thursday, December 14, 2023.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Jean Adukwei Mensa, while making the proposal to finish voting at 3pm, indicated that this would allow electoral officers to collate the votes in broad daylight to ensure transparency and orderliness.

At the inter-party dialogue and stock-taking conference organised by the National Peace Council in Accra Thursday, December 14, where made laid the proposal, she averred that the initiative stems from the experience in the 2020 elections where about 70 per cent of voting centres were empty by 1:00pm.

“In 2020, 70 percent of our polling centres had a voter threshold of 500 and below. This time we intend to ensure that all our polling station centers have a threshold of 500 voters and below. In the same vein, we will increase the number of our polling stations nationwide.

“We believe that this will go a long way to reduce the long queues that characterize our elections and allow for a smooth, seamless, hustle-free voting process. In 2020, it took voters not more than five minutes to cast their votes due to the introduction of this policy.

“Based on our 2020 experience and also feedback from several observer groups we propose to close the polls at 3:00pm.

“Our experience in 2020 reveals that by 1:00pm, 70 percent of our polling stations were empty of voters as most voters had cast their votes. This made it possible because the threshold of most polling centers was reduced to 500 voters per voting center.

“This was coupled with the robust verification devices that were deployed to the polling stations. We are convinced that by closing the polls at 3:00pm, we will be able to count and collate in broad daylight and this will promote the needed transparency and orderliness that we so desire,” she explained.

READ ALSO: CPP targets 6 million voters in 2024 polls – Chairperson