A Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Georgina Opoku Amankwah, says the commission’s independence status is being threatened by the undue delays in the release of funds, and calls for the setting up of an electoral fund.
This she believes will make funds readily available for the commission’s activities. According to her, the commission has over the suffered a lot of frustrations in its efforts to secure funding.
She says failure to consider this proposal or any other workable plan could affect the commission’s independence and unduly delay the execution of planned projects.
Interacting with journalists in the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, Georgina Opoku Amankwah said the commission’s independence is not fully guaranteed under the current circumstances.
“Our independence is not guaranteed 100% because we don’t have the funding coming in as expected. I just returned from Nigeria where there is an electoral fund. South Africa has this fund as well. At the start of the year, the commissions send their budgets to their respective governments and the monies are put in a fund for them; so they operate with that fund. Over here, we have difficulties because the monies are only paid when programmes are coming up” she noted.
“As I speak to you now, the money that we are requiring for the election on 3rd March is yet to come to us after we put in an application for it” she lamented.
Speaking on the up-coming District Assembly Elections, the Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission responsible for the Eastern Region observed that although the involvement of women in governance at the grass root level is critical, many challenges still deter many from contesting.
She also expressed concern about the politicization of the local elections, adding that some offenders have been disallowed from contesting.
“People should contest in their individual capacities and on their own merits. Unfortunately we have had some petitions that people are having political sponsorship for their candidature. We have done some investigations and those we have found guilty have been disallowed from contesting. So once we hear, we investigate and as the law demands, the candidatures of such persons are cancelled”.
Some 2,918 are contesting the District Assembly and Unit Committee Elections. Out of the number, only 119 are women.