Problem with the 45 seats

by 29/09/2012 14:53:00 0 comments 763 Views

The other day, President John Dramani Mahama made a passionate appeal to Ghanaians to stop putting impediments in the way of state institutions and allow them to work. He spoke in reference to opposition to the creation of the 45 additional seats the Electoral Commission is trying desperately to create against conventional wisdom.

The Chronicle is mindful of the need to allow state institutions to work. As a matter of fact, it is not any group of people who have been putting impediments in the way of delivery of services by state institutions. If proper audits of state institutions are taken of their delivery and the constraints to their service delivery, 90 percent of constraints could be traced to the political leadership of the institutions themselves.

The Presidency, ministerial offices and district offices have been the main hindrance e to service delivery by state institutions. In the case of the creation of the 45 seats, no one, as far as The Chronicle can vouch, has spoken against the right of the Electoral Commission to create constituencies.

Most people do not believe it is prudent to create as many as 45 additional constituencies barely two months to elections. This cannot happen in any serious democracy. People are genuinely worried that the additional 45 seats would put a burden on the Electoral Commission, which clearly has not got the benefit of time to play around with logistics to accumulate all the problems associated with fitting these additional constituencies in the next vote.

People are genuinely worried, because the 2012 elections are not the time for experimenting by the Electoral Commission. The vote would re-define national aspirations after nearly four years of an administration that has behaved as though the average Ghanaian does not matter in the scheme of things, so long as the leadership of the administration, and those who prop it up,  are comfortable.

Ghanaians are passing through one of the worst moments as a group of people, as the government saddles the people with huge debts that do not, in any way, go to lessen their burden.

People are worried about the Electoral Commission failing to deliver on quality vote, the result of which may not reflect on the true wishes of the electorate.  Reference is made of the haphazard District Assembly elections of 2010, which spanned two different years, instead of the one-day exercise.

The 2010 District Assembly Elections were shambolic, because the Electoral Commission was very late to Parliament with the Legislative Instrument.  By the time the LI received Parliamentary approval, after the 21 statutory laying period, the election date was near.

The result was wrong captions to photographs of candidates, and the general confusion that enveloped the whole process. Generally, the confusion that enveloped the process was enough to render the exercise meaningless.

Ghanaians were very disquiet about the confusion, because, comparatively, it was a lesser exercise than the general elections.  The fact that there was no violence should be credited to the ability of the Ghanaian to stomach so much wrong-doings in society. The stakes too, were not as high as the 2012 presidential and parliamentary vote. On December 7, the stakes are higher. Emotions are likely to run riot if the confusion of the District Assembly vote is visited on the general elections.

That is why the average person is expressing misgivings about the rush to include the 45 seats in the 2012 elections. What is significant is that almost all the Constitutional Instruments laid in respect of the exercise have had problems, apparently, because of the rush involved.

We are told that the C.1.78, the latest version of the many corrected instrument, has as many as 25 electoral areas missing. Surely, Ghanaians cannot keep quiet when so many nationals face the potential of being disenfranchised.  There is need to strengthen institutions. But, we cannot do so by looking the other way, when such institutions are clearly leading the state astray.