GECOM’s work programme, timelines ‘are slipping into muddy waters

first_imgDear Editor,With Local Government Elections (LGE) scheduled for November 12, 2018, there is a tremendous intensification of community activities and enquiries, as residents, groups and other interested stakeholders search for clarity on a number of issues, which if not resolved objectively, are likely to negatively impact the credibility of results in any future election.GECOM’s Chairman, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson, earlier made reference of the serious allegations of what took place at the 2015 Regional and General Elections. He also spoke about trust, accountability, transparency and people confidence in the election process, although there is not much that has been made public to our citizenry, as it relates which substantial or meaningful corrective actions the Commission plans to institute, towards realising these ideals. This in itself is an indictment, vis a vis necessary public confidence.In the same vein, the Chairman’s recent denial of a meeting with the United Nations (UN) Risk Assessment Team is very much disappointing and unacceptable. The tremendous hardships that our people are facing demand that every effort is placed by GECOM to deliver credible procedures and results from free and fair Local Government Elections.Notably, Chairman Justice (Rt’d) James Patterson’s recent rejection of an evaluation by the UN Team is typified outright lawlessness. In particular, it signals the genuine lack of intent and transparency commitment to the UN, which is also a credible International Institution often looked upon to recognise the results of elections. The lack of sincerity conveyed is evident, in the face of recent revelations that he had silently engaged the same institution to provide Technical Information Technology assistance.The situation smacks the highest level of hypocrisy and all citizens must join in demanding that all the processes be transparent. There must be public rejection to all such attempts or systems that can lead to rigged or less than convincing elections results to participants and observers.Although being clearly aware of the examination of very serious GECOM issues and subsequent recommendations possible charges in some instances by the Auditor General, who recommended. The Chairman’s actions/non-actions under the circumstance, seems to be strongly connected with the ‘gerrymandering’ by the controlling People’s National Congress arm of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change coalition, which is now having a serious effect on the Election process, and the functioning of Local Government Councils.Fixed boundaries issues in several Local Government Constituencies (LGC) have been a manipulated situation which needs to be resolved in several areas. We can ill afford to have residents voting from one constituency voting for representatives in another. Further, the Communities Minister is giving GECOM a basket to fetch water. Minister Ronald Bulkan announced that there will be 16 constituencies’ changes in 14 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and nine new Local Authority Areas. To date, GECOM is still to have consultations and notify the legally approved or specific boundaries. The candidates must be fully aware of the specific boundaries in each Constituency, before they can check the electoral lists and then extract the Candidates’ names from the Voters List. For the Local Government Elections, GECOM must provide a voters list according to each Constituency It is clear that after the last period of continuous registration and the last Claims and Objections, the GECOM Secretariat was supposed to produce a Preliminary Voters List for the Commissioners to peruse and make available to the political parties. This is still forthcoming, and it squeezes the readiness of interested parties since there is no definite timeline when it will be provided.It is important and imperative that this list be made available for Local Government Elections according to constituency. For this to happen then the stakeholders must be clear about the ‘boundaries’ and the Voters List must be thoroughly checked to make sure that all the candidates and ‘backers’ of the respective lists are in the correct place. There seems to be serious deficiencies at GECOM or a deliberate intention to frustrate the ‘stakeholders’ in the up-coming LGE.This situation is very serious and GECOM ‘Work Programme’ and ‘Timelines ‘are slipping into muddy waters’. This level of incompetency or deliberate action to hurry some process will certainly leads to corruption.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more