Fashion out Strategies to resolve election challenges amidst COVID-19 – Former UN Advisor
Former UN Senior Governance Advisor, Prof. Baffour Agyeman Duah has suggested to the government to hold a stakeholder dialogue to fashion out strategies for 2020 elections if the fight against COVID-19 pandemic is not won in the next two months.
According to him, such a forum would be prudent in determining the political future of the country during this period where the electoral calendar has been kicked out of the window.
Prof. Agyeman Duah, speaking in an interview said, “I am suspecting that by now, all the responsible institutions must be drawing their strategy. There must be a strategic plan on different kinds of scenarios that must be created and each scenario then will yield its own responses. So, in my own view, by the middle of the year…[if things are still unstable] then the key stakeholders–government, political parties, CSOs, judiciary, all of us will have to think fast. One of the beautiful things about democracy is the building of consensus and compromises.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conduct of the December 7, 2020 polls remains uncertain as a myriad of the electoral activities in the build-up to the polls have been put on hold until further notice.
The government has issued a ban on public gatherings thereby making it impossible to conduct the elections in the way it has been done over the years.
EC Suspends New Voter Register Exercise
Already, the planned compilation of a new voters’ register by the Electoral Commission (EC) has been suspended because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The exercise was initially scheduled for April 18, 2020.
"We told them (the political parties) that we had planned to do the registration on April 18, but because of the pandemic, we cannot do it on the 18th… It has been suspended, it can’t be 18th April,” Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe announced.
Some suggestions being made
The National Coordinator of Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Albert Arhin believes the EC must rescind its decision to compile a new register and rely on the old register for 2020 elections.
“The other option is that, if the compilation is not able to take place then maybe, they could use the old register.”
A former president of the Ghana Bar Association, Sam Okudzeto has also suggested that the EC can commence the compilation of the new voter register in areas not affected by the lockdown.
“In my view, since the lockdown is not the whole country, they should start the registration in the areas where there is no lockdown and that would have covered a large chunk of the country.”