We won’t dissolve ‘biased’ steering committee – EC

The Electoral Commission has called the bluff of pro-opposition groups demanding the dissolution of the newly inaugurated National Election Steering Committee because of its biased composition.

The Commission says the mere fact that there are concerns with one or two persons on the committee, does not mean the entire committee is compromised.

LMVCA pressure

Following pressure from Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA), a pro-opposition pressure group, a representative of the National Service Secretariat, (NSS), who was appointed to represent the institution on the committee, has been dropped after it emerged that he is a known NDC member.

Dr. Karl Marx Arhin is the NDC’s Deputy Director of International Relations and therefore could not be on the committee whose composition is supposed to be neutral.But despite Dr. Arhin’s removal, the LMVCA insists that the committee is still compromised and must be dissolved entirely. According to them, two other members on the committee are also known NDC loyalists.

The LMVCA’s claims have been supported by another opposition pressure group, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), and Mr. Mustapha Mohammed, Spokesperson for the 2016 NPP Flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo.

But speaking to Citi News, the Director of Public Affairs at the Electoral Commission, Christian Owusu Parry, said they believe the various institutions which were written to nominate representatives, are capable of executing the mandate of the steering committee.

“In the Commission’s view, it is important to have a committee of that nature; that’s the Election Steering Committee and so they will be part of our preparation towards the elections. They have very key roles to play especially because the representatives come from institutions that we deal with on regular basis so far as elections in this country are concerned.”

‘One or two biased members can’t stop us’

According to him, identifying a few persons as political party reps, are not sufficient reasons to dissolve the entire committee.

“…So the fact that issues have been raised about one or two members of the committee, it is not enough reason why we should say the committee should be dissolved, no. It is an 18-member committee and so if people have issues with one or two it is not the reason why we should say we are dissolving the whole committee. One or two may be out, but the committee will still be in place,” he insisted.

The EC has been chastised for failing to do background checks on the members of the committee before swearing them in.

Mandate of the steering committee

The National Election Steering Committee is to ensure a smooth and peaceful 2016 elections.

Apart from the 10 members, the seven Commissioners of the EC are also members with Mrs Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, being the Chairperson of the Committee, while the Director of Elections will serve as a Secretary to the Committee.

The Committee is to share ideas and harmonize activities of the Commission to ensure that there is adequate security before, during and after the 2016 election.

“…Of the 18 members, eight are from the commission and the remaining ten come from institutions that the commission decided should have representation on the committee, Mr Owusu Parry explained.”