The People’s National Convention (PNC) has defended the Electoral Commission’s proposed Electronic Results Transmission System (ERTS) for December’s elections.
According to the National Chairman of the PNC, Bernard Mornah, the criticism of the EC’s decision to electronically transmit the results in December’s election was disappointing given the party’s agreement on the matter at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting.“I’m appalled by the noise that we are making around an otherwise peaceful process that will lead to a smoother and faster process of transmitting election [results]. I recall that many of us had proposed this idea at many IPAC meetings and made suggestions to it. It has been deliberated at length,” Bernard Mornah said on Eyewitness News.
He admitted that he had concerns with the EC’s failure to inform the parties prior to the initiation of measures for the electronic transmission of results but insisted that it wasn’t reason enough to cast doubt on the entire system.
“My only concern is that even as the EC has accepted to do some of the proposals including the electronic transmission of results, we should have been informed beforehand that the EC had taken the necessary steps to ensure that they are able to accompany the manual election results transmission with the electronic transmission,” he added.
“Beyond that there is nothing about it. If the votes are obtained at a polling station, it is that vote which would be transmitted to the collation center or the national headquarters [of the EC] and these days there’s not going to be a strong room concept so it is going to be an open thing for everyone to see. It appears to me that our political parties are bereft of ideas so they magnify any little thing to create something to talk about.”
According to Bernard Mornah, there are more pertinent issues which need to be addressed and the various political parties would be better served focusing their efforts on them.
“We in the PNC think that there’s so much to talk about to bring about a healthy economy to ensure that our people are able to be employed and not to engage in things that all of us have agreed on only for one party to say they don’t agree, which becomes the news rather than talking about what will be able to save our nation from its current economic and social quagmire,” he said.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) accused the EC of not being transparent enough about the proposed ERTS.
According to the NPP’s campaign manager for the 2016 elections, Peter Mac Manuthe parties had agreed to electronically transmit results from the collation centers in the constituency to the EC’s Headquarters.
He claims however, that the EC’s advertisement in the newspapers had requested for persons to help with the transmission of results from the polling stations to the collation centres, which they had not agreed to.
However, according to NDC, the claims by the NPP that EC’s proposed ERTS is unconstitutional and cannot be used are deceptive as several other rules which have governed successful elections in the past have not been backed by the country’s laws.
They admitted that while the ERTS has no legal backing, an agreement had been between the EC and the political parties at the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting, to which the NPP was a party, on the rules which would and would not have constitutional backing.
“There’s no law backing the electronic transmission. When you are dealing with elections, there are some aspects that are administrative and others that are covered by subsidiary legislation – CIs and LIs and others that are covered by the constitution. It’s not everything that should be backed by law. Many of the things, like the compilation of results, are governed by rules established by the EC. When we arrived at this decision, we indicated which of the rules would be constitutional amendments, which would go into subsidiary legislation and which would go into the training of their staff,” the General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia said.
“I’m sorry if anyone is saying that a particular thing must be provided for by either the constitution or subsidiary legislation is either misleading the public or doesn’t know what they’re about, or both.”
By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana