A Communiqué By The Coalition For Accountable Leadership (Cofal-Knust) On Some Electoral Reforms On 24th November, 2014
Electoral reforms can be defined as substantial structural and procedural changes in the way elections are conducted so as to enhance efficiency, clean and fair elections which actually reflect the needs and aspirations of the people. With reference to the unpleasant events which engulf elections in some public tertiary institutions, we at the Coalition For Accountable Leadership (COFAL-KNUST) committed to the promotion of transparency, probity and accountability wishes to suggest the following reforms to the electoral systems which is currently in use in some public tertiary institutions. These recommendations are largely made using the KNUST electoral system as a case study.
REVISION OF THE ELECTION TIMETABLE
The time for campaigning and voting for the various portfolios in KNUST especially the SRC elections is always very near to the examination period. This reduces commitment in the aspirants and at the end of it all, the aspirants as well as their campaign team do not get enough time to study thereby affecting their academic performance. There is also limited time for adjudication in the highest courts of the land.
It is therefore our suggestion that the electoral timetable should be revised such that campaigning and voting can take place at the early part of the second semester before the mid-semester examination.
THE NEED TO VET ASPIRANTS NOT TO DISQUALIFY THEM
There is the need to redefine the word “vetting” in the SRC constitution to explicitly mean public screening and not elimination. This is the basis for massive anomalies as the EC is forced to sell the vetting questions to the aspirants. It also creates room for opponents to bribe the EC or some members of the vetting panel to disqualify their key opponents.
It is therefore our humble suggestion that the vetting process should not lead to the disqualification of aspirant but should rather give the opportunity to the public to screen each and every aspirant. As such, we call on the Judicial Committee to pass legislations to this effect and that it should be included in the constitutional review.
ADOPTION OF BIOMETRIC VOTING
It is our honest opinion that the biometric system of voting should be adopted in the SRC as well as all the JCR elections on campus. This system when duly adopted and implemented would lead to greater transparency and fairness in the electoral process. We therefore urge that legislation be passed to this effect.
BAN ON IMAGE STABBING OF Colleague ASPIRANTS
We totally detest the denting of the image of colleague aspirants in the quest to make them unpopular so as to advance one’s own political chances. This scenario leads to the use of colossal propaganda, insults, provocative words and the tagging of opponents as enemies.
It is therefore prudent that an electoral regulation be enacted so that an aspirant who fall culprit of this regulation be disqualified upright from the race so as to instill sanity and decorum into the system.
BAN ON MONITIZATION IN STUDENT POLITICS
We humbly request that an addition be made in the electoral regulations banning the monetization of student politics. Over the years campaigns have been made using thousands of Ghana Cedis. This monetization is killing the level of transparency and fairness of the system as those who are competent but with no money to campaign still remain in their coils but those who come out do not go anywhere. It has also being identified by COFAL-KNUST as one of the basis for corruption as students spend huge sums of money with the aim to recoup after they gain political power (politics of investment rather than service).
In a nutshell, it is our greatest hope that these recommendations would be duly considered in an attempt to develop a very effective electoral system for KNUST which can serve as an epitome for other universities and institutions to adopt. In an attempt to achieve this, COFAL-KNUST would be organizing a round table discussion with all relevant stakeholders to jaw-jaw on how best to fully implement the recommendations stated above.
Alagskomah Eugene Savio