Work with EC to ensure best possible result at the polls


(The Star) – THERE are different ways for political parties to approach an election as an exercise in democracy and a competitive event.

One is to engage fully and in good faith in the obligatory processes involved.

The other is to withhold full participation for whatever reason, while pointing accusing fingers at official agencies involved in the election process.

This unproductive course is often accompanied by confrontational campaigns aimed at official processes and procedures.

It typically precludes suggestions and recommendations, even by way of constructive criticism of any perceived shortcomings.

However, voters of all political persuasions deserve better from those who would offer themselves as public representatives.

It is not good enough to try and score political points pre-election by condemning electoral conditions without doing anything meaningful about it.

In this, a test case concerns the attitude and response of political parties towards the Election Commission (EC).

The commission is a politically neutral body tasked with carrying out an election, and all political parties are obliged to work with it to that end.

Ultimately, it is what it does and what others allow it to be.

If some parties insist on not working fully with it, then it can hardly be blamed for seeming to work closer with others who do.

It is incumbent on all parties to give their utmost cooperation in the period leading up to an election.

It is no good to act as if the EC were somehow already a partisan force, and then complain that it appears partisan or is biased.

Let not any presumed partisanship be regarded as a fait accompli, only to encourage a self-serving, self-fulfilling prophecy for those out to discredit the EC.

For its part, the EC cannot be accused of merely sitting on its laurels.

It is, for example, set to remove some 12,000 names of voters aged 90 and above from the electoral roll.

This is among the ways to minimise, if not excise altogether, the prospect of phantom voters lurking in the roll.

All parties should surely have an interest in ensuring that the EC functions efficiently and appropriately.

And ensuring that surely requires the full and active participation of all parties.

That way, everyone can be sure that whatever the election outcome, the result will be for the best.