Transparency in elections
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
One of the most significant achievements of this government is the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission, some twelve years back. This institution was set up to put an end to the endless cries of foul play and mistrust during electioneering periods. It is principally vested with the authority to ensure an electoral process that will permit the citizenry to elect their representatives in a free, fair and transparent atmosphere.
Since the establishment of the Commission, there has never been any reason to feel that it is departing from its mission statement. For the first time in the history of the country, an autonomous body presides over the process of selecting a representative government. This has undoubtedly bred confidence among the electorates, as manifested by the ever increasing voter turn out in our elections.
The ongoing training of all stakeholders on election administration has indeed come at the right time. Such training will cultivate the seed of consciousness that is necessary to erect a more democratic electoral system. This is simply because of the fact that such training allows those involved in the electoral system to become aware of the logistics, principles and practices in electoral systems, within the context and standards of democracy.
Furthermore, such training with equip stakeholders with the requisite knowledge of our electoral system and end arguments about the credibility of the outcome of our elections as the principles of integrity, fair play and transparency will be demystified. Sensitising stakeholders on this very important issue will certainly engender awareness, and it will permit people to know that these principles are practically employed during elections, hence maximizing confidence in the process.
What is also of paramount significance, however, is for the trainees to ensure the filtering down the knowledge and skills they will acquire during the course of this training to the vast majority of the electorates. They should serve as catalysts in the awareness campaign. The electoral process belongs to all of us. The more we participate in promoting and directing its course, the better the results it will yield.