The government has approved Gh¢80 million for the Biometric Registration and Verification Exercise for the conduct of the 2012 elections.
Parliament has thus recommended the establishment of an Election Fund for the Electoral Commission to have enough resources, at least six months to elections, for the efficient performance of its constitutional mandate, to execute its electoral programmes, citing similar funds in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and other places.This is contained in the report of the Ad Hoc Committee of Parliament that investigated the difficulties encountered by the Electoral Commission (EC) in the conduct of the 2010 district level elections laid in Parliament on Monday March 28, 2011 and adopted by the House.
Parliament has noted that the biometric and verification exercise “would be crucial in making the 2012 election transparent and acceptable to Ghanaians” and urged the EC to come out with a Constitutional Instrument to successfully implement the exercise.
The House, therefore, urged the EC and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to take the exercise serious and recommended that both institutions work closely to ensure that the exercise is efficiently executed for incidence free election in 2012.
Consequently, the EC is being encouraged by parliament to prepare and submit road maps and cash plans well in advance to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for necessary action to be taken, having observed that delay in the release of funds for the commission partly accounted for the difficulties in the conduct of the 2010 District level elections.
The EC has been asked to consult with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development “to fix a firm date” for the conduct of the District level elections in the country to enable the commission to work toward that date and to avoid the tendency of postponing elections.
On voter transfer, the committee said it was necessary for the EC to come out with a Constitutional Instrument backing voter transfers to clearly spell out the transfer modalities and added that politicians should be discouraged from doing mass voter transfers since it created confusion and chaos.
These were some of the recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Committee chaired by Dominic Azumah (NDC-Garu/Tempani) and Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development.
The adoption of the report attracted extensive contributions from the Members of Parliament who reiterated the need to implement the recommendations to improve the electoral processes.
The House on January 28, 2011 adopted a motion to appoint the 20-member fact finding committee to investigate issues surrounding the apparent difficulties by the EC because the elections were scheduled to take place on the December 29, 2010 and January 4, 2011.
The committee observed with concern the delay in the release of funds for the EC to carry out its activities adding that during the just ended District level election, the EC requested for the release of funds on November 25, 2010 for the printing of ballot papers but received the funds on December 21, 2010 and said that accounted for the delay in the printing of forms which affected the schedule of the commission.
The report recommended that the number of voters should be from 500 to 1,000 per polling station in order to avoid long queues and enable all voters to cast their votes within the stipulated time.
The committee realized that there were a lot of processes and programmes that needed to be rolled out in time by the EC to both prevent the mishaps associated with the 2010 district level elections happening again and also ensuring a transparent and fair conduct of 2012 election.
The committee noted that it involved a lot of stakeholders working efficiently and effectively such as the executive and the judiciary, as well as voter education. It added that the committee was to be maintained to monitor the electoral process and report periodically to the House.
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