Details are popping up about the composition of an 18-member elections steering committee put together by the Electoral Commission (EC) to oversee the November 7 general election.
It has emerged that one of the members, Dr Karl Mark Arhin, is the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Service Scheme (NSS).
Not only is he a staunch member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), but also serves as the governing party’s Deputy Director of International Relations.
The committee, which is supposed to ensure credible polls, was inaugurated last week Monday, February 8, 2016; and the members were drawn from various state institutions, including the Police, Service the military, NSS and the Prisons Service.
The other members are Deputy Director General of Joint Operations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel F. Ogbe; the Deputy Commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Joseph Whittal and the Deputy Chairman of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), in-charge of Operations, Samuel Asare Akuamoah.
The rest are the Head of Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Ghana Education Service (GES); the Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council, Francis Azumah; Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), George Sarpong; Director General Operations of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Christian Tetteh Yohonu and the Director of Operations of the Ghana Prisons Service, Sylvester K.B. Rabbles.
The committee, which is chaired by Madam Charlotte Osei, the EC boss, has the seven Commissioners of her outfit as members with the Director of Elections serving as Secretary.
Interestingly, this is a committee which is expected to share ideas and harmonize activities of the commission to ensure that there is adequate security before, during and after the 2016 elections.
Dr Karl Mark Arhin’s inclusion on the committee is akin to the inclusion of computer scientist with known links to the NDC, Prof. Nii Narku Quaynor, on the five-member panel constituted by the EC to look into the opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) call for a new voter register as the party and other concerned Ghanaians claim the existing one is not only bloated, but flawed.
The formation of the elections steering committee was done on the blind side of the various political parties.
Speaking at the inauguration of the committee, Mrs Osei said experience had thought that without planning, her outfit could not deliver on its mandate, hence the formation of the committee to ensure smooth and peaceful elections.
She said considering the huge number of polling stations, collation centres and thousands of security personnel that will be detailed to ensure security, there was the need for such a body to plan for the needed logistics and see to the implementation of policies.
“It is therefore important for us to come together and put our resources together, share ideas and experiences to improve on the electoral process in Ghana,” Ms Osei said, adding that the Commission was prepared to work with the committee to ensure successful, free, fair and peaceful elections.