Chairman of the National Peace Council and member of the Electoral Commission’s Eminent Advisory Committee, Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante has urged the electoral management body to invest in its information and communications unit so it is able to disseminate timely information to the public before, during and after the December 7 elections.
The call comes after participants at a peace forum organised by the Abibiman Foundation raised concerns about the slow rate of information flow from the EC, especially during the 2016 elections.
“Don’t sit there for people to confuse us. Your Public Relations Officer (PRO) should be up and working. Matters come up and it takes a long time for the Electoral Commission to come in and after they have muddy the waters then you come back.”
The Electoral Commission since its decision to compile a new voters’ register has been hit with a series of demonstrations and protests from civil society groups and political parties who have argued about the time frame and relevance of the exercise.
In a bid to justify itself, various meetings, press conferences and releases have been spearheaded by the commission.
But Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante believes all the brouhaha could have been avoided if there had been timely dissemination of information from the commission.
“As a member of the Advisory Committee, I have done that and we will continue to advise that the Electoral Commission should educate us. They should let us know what is happening. Take for instance the ROPAA issue, people are raising questions; tell us where you are, what preparations you have made instead of waiting till the last minute to tell us it is not possible. If it is not possible, it is not possible, don’t wait,” he stressed.
Touching on social media and fake news during the election period, Prof Emmanuel Asante asked Ghanaians to respect the mandate of the EC as the only body responsible for declaring an election result.
“Fake news has come to stay but I think we have regulations in this country. The law says that it is only the Electoral Commission that must announce when a party wins, not individuals.
“If you do that you are breaking the law, it is their mandate to declare elections so we should be very careful. Let us not allow ourselves to be manipulated by social media and the things that go round,” Prof Asante added.