The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, Jean Mensa, has bemoaned the high cost of conducting elections in the country compared to some other countries in the continent.
To her, the situation is worrying and it was about time major stakeholders in the electoral processes sat down and come out with ways of reducing the cost to an appreciable amount.
For instance, she said the country spend a little over US$12.00 on each voter in the 2016 general elections compared to US$9 spent on each voter in Nigeria in 2015 and US%5 spent on each voter in Tanzania in 2015.
That means the country spent about US$129,379,308 considering the fact that total votes cast was 10,781,609.
“Our elections are fast becoming very expensive ventures. For example, in 2016, the cost of elections in Ghana was a little over US$12 per voter compared to US$9 per a voter in Nigeria in 2015 and US$5 per a voter in Tanzania in 2015”, she noted.
She made this observation, Monday, January 28, 2019, when addressing the 17th International Electoral Affairs Symposium in Accra.
The event which was co-sponsored by the Electoral Commission of Ghana and the International Center for Parliamentary Studies brought together 30 Election Management Bodies (EMBs) to interact and learn from each other about best practices and emerging issues.
In the view of Jean Mensa, the tendency of depending on developing partners to partly fund the cost of elections in Ghana compromises the independence of the elections.
The sentiments expressed by the Chairperson of the country’s election management body was akin to that expressed by the former Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana), in August, 2018.
Prof. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi had challenged the new Electoral Commission (EC) leadership to reduce the cost per voter for the country since the cost per voter of Ghana’s general elections pegged at US$12.03 was very expensive.
“I daresay that at this price, one day it may literally be impossible for Ghana to hold elections,” he said.
He believes the cost per voter is one of the obstacles to inclusive democratic representation within the election management body itself.