Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei says the EC would consider the use of lecturers and professors as returning officers in the 2016 general elections.
This has become necessary following some irregularities which occurred in the 2012 elections where some electoral officers appeared to be uninformed about their duties, thereby destroying the beauty of the elections.
Ghana’s West African neighbor, Nigeria adopted the use of professors in the country’s 2015 election held early this year, which has internationally been touted as credible, free and fair.
Former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Muhammadu Jega this week told Joy FM the use of lecturers and professors as returning officers during elections secured the integrity of the electoral process.
“In the two elections that we conducted in 2011 and 2015 where they [lecturers and Professors] played these roles, not a single person had been accused of any fraudulent activities in the discharge of their responsibilities,” he said.
Addressing Members of Parliament Thursday about preparation towards next year’s election, Ghana’s EC Chairman told the House Ghana is likely to follow the way of Nigeria, Joy News Emmanuel Anteh reported.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei said the professors would be deployed to man coalition centres, whilst national service personnel and selected civil servants would be engaged for the polling stations.
But some Members of Parliament especially from the Minority side, Emmanuel said, are skeptical about the use of the national service personnel fearing they might be induced.
Meanwhile, Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Ransford Gyampoh does not seem to be impressed by the idea of resorting to the use of professors.
He is unsure of their availability at the time of the elections, noting that the “professors [would be] busy doing research”.
He urged the Electoral Commission to go beyond professors and lecturers, and rather use persons who are “committed and prepared to do the work”.
Earlier, Mrs. Osei had told Parliament the commission wants the date for presidential and parliamentary elections moved from the December 7 to November 7 to allow for more time between elections and inauguration on 7th January.
She said a Legislative Instrument to give legal backing to the proposal is at an advanced stage.
The EC chairman has also been speaking on concerns over the sanctity of the voters’ register.
Commenting on the proposed date for the election, Dr. Ransford Gyampoh said it is a laudable proposal for electoral reforms.
He believed it will give ample time in handing over power in case of change of government especially when there is a runoff.
He however believed the proposal is just one of many proposals that ought to be implemented before next year’s elections.
It is his prayers that those ones too are accepted and implemented timeously to cure any suspicion during the elections.