Abantu Disappointed In EC

Abantu for Development, a women’s rights and policy advocacy non-governmental organisation, has expressed disappointment with the Electoral Commission for its (EC) failure to conduct the district level elections as scheduled this year.

In a statement it released on Friday in Accra and signed by its Research, Publication and Information Officer, Afua Gyapomaa, the organisation disclosed that “the indefinite cancellation following a court ruling that the planned election was unconstitutional.”

According to Abantu, the continuous cancellation of the elections “have left the few women who put themselves up for the election to wonder where they will obtain new resources to campaign and contest if a new election date is set.”

“Again, the women contestants have already spent huge sums of money during their campaigns and since women do not have control over productive resources, they are most unlikely to raise such amounts again to embark on intensive campaigns which will result in their participation and representation in decision making within the local government,” it added.

It argued that “the few women who were supported with campaign materials such as posters and stickers will have to incur extra cost when nominations open again to republish these campaign materials.

This is because the few they received are likely to be destroyed due to their exposure to the weather. In addition, there is limited time for women’s groups to raise extra funds to assist these women in their bid to actively participate in decision-making processes at the local level.”

The district elections were postponed after a court ruling banning the EC from proceeding with the process until Constitutional Instrument (CI) 85 was fully operational.

This was after an aggrieved assemblyman aspirant from the Gomoa Senya East District of the Central Region had dragged the EC to court over its failure to include him the elections which were scheduled for March 3, 2015.

Abantu pointed out the constant postponements in organising the elections were having huge financial implications on the Ghanaian economy which is already crawling on its feet.

“There are huge financial implications for the nation as a whole given the initial GH ¢317 million that is said to have been used for the process, and the newly requested GH¢100 million election budget needed now,” the women’s rights organisation indicated.

The capacity of any institutional mechanism to have the desired impact, Abantu claimed, depends on the cognitive significance attached to it by the populace for whom it is established.

It further claimed that “the conduct of the Electoral Commission goes a long way to confirm that district assembly elections has over the years been generally given low esteem in Ghana.”