Platform of General Secretaries wants EC to clarify relationship with STL

The platform of the General Secretaries under the Institute of Economic Affairs’ Political Parties Programme is asking the Electoral Commission, to as a matter of urgency, clarify its relationship with STL, a company purported to be managing the database of the commission.

In a communiqué issued after a meeting held by representatives of the four political parties- NDC, NPP, PNC and CPP, the platform insists the EC must “publicly clarify the nature of its relationship with STL, and clearly spell out the role STL will play in Ghana’s 2016 elections.”

The relationship between Ghana’s EC and Israeli firm STL became a subject of scrutiny following a UNDP funded report which suggested the Israeli company was still holding on to Ghana’s biometric voters database years after the 2012 election had been held. The company was supposed to handover the database to the EC before the 2012 elections.

The report said: “The management of biometric database 16 has been outsourced to STL who was expected to train and fully hand over the system to the IT Department of the EC before the 2012 elections.”

“STL has not respected this component of the contract as at this assessment in August 2015. The implication is that the EC will be unable to conduct biometric registration without STL. STL has not been transparent with the officials of the IT department to enable the later to understand how the system functions even though STL officials are based in the IT Department of the EC,” the report explained.

The General Secretaries of the various political parties are unhappy with the turn of events and want the EC to resolve that before the 2016 elections.

The platform also says Ghana’s voters register is saddled with “illegal entries” and charged the EC to take steps to ensure the register for the 2016 elections is an acceptable one.

While calling on politicians to desist from making pronouncements that had the tendency to derail national cohesion, the platform of the General Secretaries also raised issues about the over politicization of the country’s security and called on security personnel to be professional at all times.

The following is the full statement;
As part of their commitment to deepening democracy in Ghana, leaders of political parties under the IEA Ghana Political Parties Programme (IEA-GPPP) meet on a monthly basis to deliberate on pertinent national issues in a non-partisan way to reach consensus and find solutions. The last meeting of the Platform of General Secretaries was held on 4th November 2015 at The IEA. It was attended by representatives of the four political parties with representation in Parliament, namely NDC, NPP, CPP and PNC.

As part of their deliberations, members discussed Ghana’s Preparations ahead of the 2016 General Elections. They made key recommendations for safeguarding the interest of the nation before, during and after the elections.

Electoral Commission

  • The Platform called on the EC to be proactive and act with urgency in view of the closeness of the 2016 elections. It called on the EC to publish a clear timetable of activities leading up to the elections. This should include plans for implementation of the recommendations submitted by the Electoral Reform Committee.
  • The Platform noted that a key issue of concern regarding the work of the EC was the purported management of its database by STL Company. Members called on the EC to publicly clarify the nature of its relationship with STL, and clearly spell out the role STL will play in Ghana’s 2016 elections.
  • Members of the Platform noted that there was wide consensus that Ghana’s Voters Register contains illegal entries. The Platform therefore urged political parties and all other stakeholders to work closely with the EC to ensure that Ghana has an acceptable Register ahead of the 2016 elections.
  • The Platform called on politicians to eschew pronouncements which tend to undermine the peace and cohesion of the country. In particular, they cautioned against reckless threats to Ghana’s peace and security as a way of getting the EC to meet their demands regarding the Voters Register.

Security Agencies

  • The Platform expressed concern about the over politicization of Ghana’s security agencies. It called on all security agencies to act with professionalism and neutrality in the discharge of their duties, particularly in dealing with electoral issues.
  • Members of the Platform recommended that the educational and professional training curricula of the military, police and other security agencies be enhanced with modules on managing election-related security issues. This is necessary in order to bring the professional conduct of Ghana’s security agencies at par with international best practice standards.
  • The Platform strongly condemned election-related criminal offences, and called for prosecution of all such offences. These include offences such as multiple registrations, impersonation, etc. Additionally, past allegations of unlawful conduct of presiding officers to undermine the integrity of the poll must be investigated and prosecuted accordingly.
  • Members condemned the practice of clash politics, where the media pitch one political commentator against another in a way so as to incite harsh exchanges and engender ill feeling among politicians.
  • The Platform further called on all politicians to put Ghana’s interest above all else, and resist being used as agents of clash politics by the media.
  • Going into Election 2016, the media must act with circumspection and be guided by principles of truth and a consideration of the broader national interest.

Issued this 4th November, 2015 by the Platform of General Secretaries under the IEA Ghana Political Parties Programme represented by:

Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, General Secretary, National Democratic Congress (NDC)

Mr. Kwabena Agyepong, General Secretary, New Patriotic Party (NPP)

Nii Armah Akomfrah, General Secretary, Convention Peoples Party (CPP)

Mr. Bernard Mornah, General Secretary, Peoples National Convention (PNC)

Dr. Edward Acquaye (Researcher at IEA)

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