A Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide has rated the Jean Mensa-led Electoral Commission (EC) high above its predecessors in terms of openness despite accusations by critics that it is operating in the dark.
He posited that the level of commitment and transparency demonstrated by the current EC administration is unprecedented, citing the formation of the Eminent Advisory Committee.
The deputy minister’s remarks come on the back of allegations that the EC is operating in secrecy and in connivance with the governing NPP to rig the upcoming elections through the commission’s intended compilation of a new voters’ register.
Sentiments expressed by some Ghanaians, especially the opposition NDC, has been that the EC has not been open enough with the electioneering process, raising suspicions.
But Mr Hadzide on TV3’s New Day show on Monday asserted that the current leadership of the EC has been the “most transparent” in the country’s recent history.
“Check the number of IPAC meetings that have been held. This is the same Electoral Commissioner and commission who went round consulting major political figures in this country including former President John Dramani Mahama,” he said.
“And these were things that we were not used to as a country. This electoral commission has set out another advisory layer all in the spirit of putting people around the table and talking about problems and solutions,” he advanced, adding that “and so I find the position of the Electoral Commission quite opened, transparent, friendly, and consultative.”
The issue of transparency has not been the only concern of the opposition NDC but also timing and cost involved in the compilation of a new voters’ register.
But Mr Hadzide maintains that most of the concerns being raised by the opposition have been adequately discussed at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee, indicating that it will not speak well of the EC to make all of its challenges public.
“That is not leadership; leadership is appreciating the problems and proffering solutions and selling those solutions to the people of Ghana. And so for me, the Electoral commission did just that. Check the narrative and you will realise that several IPAC meetings have been held,” he maintained.
“In fact at one point the Electoral commission went beyond the regular representation of the political parties to IPAC and asked for technical representation so that the political parties bring people who are IT savvy, who understand how these things work and sit around the table. So I think that the position has been great,” he emphasised.
Responding to concerns that there is not much time for the EC to put together a new register, he noted that it was possible making allusions to the registration exercise conducted in 2012.
“In fact, looking at the timetable, even though this is an election year, this registration may happen way earlier than the 2012 registration,” he said.
“Now the chicken are coming home to roost and I am happy that the Electoral Commission, in the spirit of transparency is even working out the numbers openly and publicly for everybody to see,” he added.
Mr Hadzide posits that the arguments of cost advanced by some groups of people, for which reason they want the exercise shelved, remains untenable.
As the EC has held, the Deputy Information Minister averred that the cost of maintaining the existing system outweighs the cost of procuring a new one.
“You are going to spend more money to refurbish obsolete and end-of-life machines, or you are going to use let’s say even the same amount of money to get new machines with added functionalities, which one will any wise entity or person go for?? Definitely the cheaper cost that gives you a more efficient, higher performing equipment with added functionalities which is the facial recognition. I think that I will go for that path,” he said.