Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

A Study of Ghana’s Electoral Comission

A Study of Ghana’s Electoral Comission. CODESRIA Research Reports, No. 2, 2010. Consortium for Development Partnerships. Governance and Institution-Building in Africa. CODESRIA, Dakar, 2010, 32 p., ISBN : 978-2-86978-316-4

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This report on the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana is part of a broader project on Modelling Success: Governance and Institution-building in West Africa, being implemented by the Consortium for Development Partnerships (CDP) , a community of institutions dedicated to collaborative policy-oriented research and capacity-building in North America, Europe and West Africa. The first phase of the project was jointly coordinated by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the Programme of African Studies (PAS), Northwestern University , Evanston, USA (2004-2008). The second phase (2008-2012), which is ongoing, is under the coordination of CODESRIA and the African Studies Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. The project focuses on the identification of concrete strategies to advance institutional performance in Africa. Studies sponsored under the project undertake in-depth analysis of institutions which are key to ensuring that governments and public officials act in the public interest.

Since the beginning of the post-1990 democratic reforms, studies that assessed governance institutions in Africa, and Ghana in particular, revealed poor performance due to weak systems and lack of credibility. In addition, the discourse on governance revealed a multiplicity of non-performing and under-performing institutions. This situation led to a deficit in knowledge about the true abilities of such national and regional institutions. A typical example is the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana, as it was not given any staid attention in the study of governance institutions in the country. Ironically however, the EC which evolved as part of the transfer of the superstructure of British colonial rule, with limited responsibility and jurisdiction, has grown over the years to enjoy the confidence and cooperation of the Ghanaian elite. Its high level of competence, efficiency and the ability to withstand negative influences and manipulations, have won it wide acknowledgement as an independent body with the capacity to hold free, fair and credible elections.

This report demonstrates that there are governance institutions in Africa that perform creditably well. It is therefore a very important report that all individuals and institutions committed to good governance, transparency, accountability, and credible elections and electoral processes in Africa will find very useful.


Emmanuel Debrah is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana.

E. Kojo Pumpuni Asante is the Head of Programmes at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).

Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana and Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).

Full Text

July 21 2010