The Electoral Commission (EC) has said the Commission cannot currently disclose the cost of the District Assembly elections due to the cancellation of the referendum.
A Deputy Chairperson of the EC in charge of operations, Bossman Asare, however said the amount involved in the Assembly elections, without initial December 17 referendum plans will be available after close of polls tomorrow [Tuesday].
“When we started, we were having the Referendum, the District Assembly and Unit Committee elections but along the line, the Referendum was discontinued. So we are still in the process of disaggregating the financials. I am sure by the end of the polls, we should have a fair idea of how the district Assembly, Unit Committee elections costs. As we speak now, we will not be able to give you the exact figure until we finish the election tomorrow. “
All set for elections
The Commission also says plans are far advanced for the District level elections across all 16 regions except for 3 electoral areas in the Nkoransa north and south in the Bono East Region and Lower Manya Krobo in the Eastern Region.
Addressing the press, a Deputy Chairperson of the Commission in charge of operations, Samuel Tetteh indicated that all security measures have been put in place and names of some flashpoints have been handed over to the police for additional security.
“In all, about 159,000 election officials have been trained for this election and they include returning officers and deputy returning officers, returning officers special duties, technicians, main reference list officers, verification officers and ballot issuers.
For effective procurement and deployment of logistics and other election materials, the Commission drew a detailed deployment plan to ensure the success of the management and deployment of its logistics to the regions and districts. All election materials and equipment required for the District level elections have been procured in sufficient quantities and dispatched to the various regions and districts. They include materials such as qualitative stamps, ballot boxes, stationery etc.”
Persons With Disability
He further added that persons with disability must not be allowed to join long queues at the various centers.
On publicity about the exercise, he said enough radio and TV adverts have been done to sensitize Ghanaians about the elections.
“The Commission has submitted a list of all polling stations across the country including flashpoints to the security agencies. This is to enable them deploy security men to the polling stations on election day to ensure law and order.
“The Commission has also made arrangements for persons with disabilities. All eligible voters are informed that persons with disabilities are required to join long queues at the polling stations and therefore must be given the opportunity to vote anytime they arrive at the polling station.”
Postpone district level elections – Group to EC
The Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG) had asked the EC to postpone the elections over its plans to compile a new biometric voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections.
According to the group, if the current register is not fit for use in the general elections then it cannot also be considered in the district assembly elections either.
In a statement, ChaLoG argued that both the district assembly elections and the general elections are of equal importance and as such much be organized with one accepted register.
“ChaLoG finds the reasons and arguments being put up by the EC to compile a new Biometric Voters Register ahead of the 2020 general elections to be very highly untenable in view of the fact that, it is this same ‘defective and non-credible’ Biometric Voters Register that has been used to conduct all the aforementioned successful elections in this country.”
“ChaLoG wishes to call on the EC to as a matter of urgency to postpone the upcoming District Assembly Elections, if it feels so strongly that the current Biometric Voters Register is very highly defective and therefore not credible to be used to conduct the 2020 General Elections which is nearly a year away.”
District Assembly Elections and botched Referendum
The Electoral Commission was hoping to organise three separate elections on December 17 including the referendum which sought to seek the approval of Ghanaians to amend Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to sponsor candidates for local level elections.
But President Nana Akufo-Addo cancelled the referendum and also directed for the withdrawal of the Article 55 (3) Amendment Bill from Parliament as well as Article 243 (1) which was to allow Ghanaians to vote for their Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
The President explained that he took the action because there was a lack of “national consensus” on the matter.
A lot of Ghanaians subsequently rebuked the President for the action.