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Towards a permanent date for Presidential elections

As the debate for the elections warms up the issue of when the elections will be held has again come up. This is because of the somewhat roundabout way in which the date for the elections is decided.
In the case of the general or parliamentary elections it is the President who announces the date after consulting with the Chief Electoral Commissioner. In the case of the Presidential elections it is the Chief Electoral Commissioner who announces the date after consulting with the President.
This arrangement, it is being argued is prone to manipulation by an incumbent President and the Chief Electoral Commissioner. Therefore it is being suggested that we copy from what happens not only in the USA, but in Ghana, and most recently Liberia; which is that a permanent date is chosen for the conduct of the Presidential elections.
This will make it easier for the Electoral Commission to plan for an election, and it will also resolve any controversy over undue extension of the tenure of office of the president.
As things stand now, the 2007 elections were held in August, and the run off for the Presidential took place in September 2007. Logically then the 2012 elections should take place in August, because that would be the time the five year term of the President expires. This may not however be so because August is already gone and nothing like the announcement of the date for the elections has been heard.
It would not be past the opposition to start making unreasonable noises about an undue extension and inadvertently or intentionally raising the political temperature to higher levels.
This is why Parliament needs to consider a single and permanent date for the conduct of the Presidential elections, not only because it is their constitutional duty but also because the president gets to assume office immediately after he/she has been declared winner of the elections. Thus by agreeing to fix the date which might be a few days or weeks or months more, the opposition is being given the red light to cause problems during the pre-election phase.
Therefore again to avoid all of this let us have a single and permanent date for the election of the president, so we know when the elections will be held and not have to sit with bated breath for the announcement to be made at the pleasure of the Chief Electoral Commissioner or the President.

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