A report by the Special Budget Committee of parliament has revealed that there’s deep-seated mistrust between the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, and the six other commissioners.
According to the committee’s report, this lack of trust among the commissioners is negatively affecting the operations of the commission in conducting elections.
This was made known during the debate for the approval of the 2017 annual estimates of the EC to the tune of GHS33.9million.
Accordingly, the committee has recommended that the Chairperson and other members of the commission deal in a much more open and transparent manner in order to do away with the existing mistrust.
Chairman of the Special Budget Committee, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, urged members of the commission to work on their differences in the supreme interest of the country.
“The general observation from the committee was that the commissioners are not on good terms. It cannot be good for the conduct of elections. For instance, when they appeared before us and we asked the whereabouts of the chairman, the deputy commissioner said: ‘My information is that she has travelled outside’ without informing the others. They don’t know that she is outside the country. The deputy commissioners didn’t know the whereabouts of the chairperson of the commission. It cannot be good for the image of the commission. That is why we are saying that we should find a way to resolve the differences amongst them because ultimately it will impact on the conduct of elections…” the Member of Parliament for Suame stated.
He also cautioned the EC to begin processes on the proposed referendum to elect MMDCEs this year to avoid delays as the nation has been experiencing over the years.
“There is a possibility of having a referendum next year to determine whether or not the election of DCEs should be by popular vote. The EC should be engaging in the non-election-related activities now. There are certain activities that must be initiated this year. We met them and they admitted no such preparation is being made and often they wait until the last minute and engage in quick-fix solutions. It’s not good for us. Next year is going to be an election year, if we have to conduct the referendum. The ensuing year will be the year for the district assembly and then into 2020, so for three successive years, they are going to have elections, so they need to prepare but there is no reflection of that in the 2017 budget and it should be worrying to all of us. It is not good for the EC. They need themselves to recruit qualified personnel for the IT department. Most of them there don’t even meet the standard and they are pretending to be IT specialists.”