Prof. George Akilagpa-Sawyerr
Prof. George Akilagpa-Sawyerr

One of the experts who spoke at one of such preparatory workshops was Prof. George Akilagpa-Sawyerr , a governance expert, who urged the stakeholders in Ghana’s political development to work hard towards making the country independent in financing its electoral activities.

Prof. George Akilagpa-Sawyerr
Prof. George Akilagpa-Sawyerr

He said an issue as crucial as general elections cannot continue to be at the benevolence of donors for a country as Ghana.

Akilagpa-Sawyer is the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the STAR-Ghana, Election Call, held here on Friday to map out strategies to ensure free, fair, transparent, and credible elections in Ghana next year.

STAR Ghana (Strengthening Transparency and Accountability and Responsiveness) a multi-donor funding support initiative mechanism, is funded by the European Union (EU), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Kingdom government’s Department for International Development (DfID).

The retired academic stressed that Ghana cannot improve its governance if it always runs to donor agencies to monitor and support its elections, adding that it is important for the entire nation to think deeply about how to improve Ghana’s democracy as this is key to the development of the country

“We cannot talk about free credible elections without addressing the fundamental issues that lie at the root of the challenges that we all identify. It is important that these underlying governance issues that affect the electoral system are properly dealt with. We’ve got to go beyond the surface phenomenon and address the root problems,” the retired Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana stated.

According to Program Director of STAR-Ghana, Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, the immediate objective of that call IS enhancING transparency, fairness and peace in the election 2016.

In addition to that, he said there is the need in the long term to increase the accountability and responsiveness of key stakeholders, particularly the Electoral Commission, the Judiciary, security services and political parties.

Before the 2012 elections, 44 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and seven media organisations were provided grants totalling5.6 million US Dollars to implement one-year projects designed to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the call, which yielded positive results.

The platform seeks to provide a similar support around the 2016 elections, with the aim of helping to achieve a credible, peaceful and inclusive election.
Kwesi Prempeh, a lProfessor in constitutional, corporate, and international business law atSeton Hall University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey in the United States named organisational gaps in the Electoral Commission (EC) as one of the critical systemic and underlying governance challenges in the country that need to be critically examined and addressed.

He said there is an inadequate stakeholder consultations on the issues such as the criteria and methodologies in the demarcation of electoral constituencies and districts; procurement of Information Technology services; and the recruitment of electoral officers.

“The four-year quadrennial elections in Ghana will continue to be competitive and will be fought by the two main parties. It will also continue to be muscular as parties fight to maintain their strongholds,” Prempeh projected.

He said the appointment of the chairman by an executive president, in consultation with the Council of State will continue too be a point of agitation for a long time to come.

Prempeh said the roles of the non-executive members of the EC need to be clearly defined to ensure credibility. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

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