The Electoral Commission (EC) on Wednesday said it could not set a definite date for this year’s District Assembly and Unit Committee elections because of legal matters over the election.
The commission explained that the passage of the supplementary Legislative Instrument (LI) that sought to re-demarcate the electoral areas and unit committees’ boundaries in light of practical implementation of LI 1967 was awaiting parliamentary approval and as such it could not organise the election now.
In a colloquium in Accra jointly organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), the commission said its earlier scheduling of October 26 for the exercise could not be met.
Mr David Adendze Kanga, Deputy Commissioner of the EC in charge of Finance and Administration told the colloquium that the commission had finished with all the necessary preparation in terms of logistics and would announce a date as soon as Parliament passed the LI 1967.
LI 1967 seeks to reduce the unit committee members from 15 per unit to five and aims to increase the number of electoral areas from the current 5,000 while the process of nomination of unit committee members would be abolished.
Mr Kanga said it was mandatory for the EC to conduct the elections every four years and expressed the hope that when Parliament passed the LI in November, the Commission would be in a position to announce a definite date for the exercise before the end of the year.
“Our duty and mandate is to conduct elections in the country. We cannot go ahead and fix a date for the elections because we have to be certain whether we are going to deal with the new demarcation or the old electoral areas.”
Mr Kanga said in spite of the enormous administrative challenges ahead, the Commission is ready with the necessary resources and structures to embark on the nationwide exercise including public education and running of the polls.
He commended CODEO and CDD-Ghana for the support and said the Commission would continue to collaborate with its partners to ensure smooth running of elections.
The delay in conducting this year’s elections is a challenge to district assemblies because the tenure of assembly members ends on September 30 and by law they cannot perform any function in the assemblies until they are re-elected.
Some CODEO members expressed concern about the EC’s delay in educating the public about the legal implications of organising the elections.
Professor Miranda Greenstreet, CODEO member who chaired the function, said there was the need for public education to create awareness on the impending exercise even if there were challenges.
“What the public and those who are seated here need to know is for the EC to organise a press conference and explain why a definite date cannot be set for the elections,” she said.