‘EC won’t disenfranchises any voter’
The Electoral Commission (EC) has given the assurance that the anomalies identified in the Voters Register during the recent exhibition will not disenfranchise any eligible voter in the December elections.
A senior Electoral Officer, Mr. Anthony Ekpedzor, said there were several ways that could be used to verify the identity of voters who may be affected by such anomalies to enable them to vote.
“Every situation is under control”, he said confidently at a regional training of trainers workshop in Accra on Saturday for 65 local election observers.
The workshop was organized by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in conjunction with the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), for the participants who would in turn train other observers in the Greater Accra Region.
This year, CODEO intends to train and deploy 7,000 local observes for the December elections. Out of the number, 740 will operate in the Greater Accra Region. A number of anomalies were identified in the Voters Register when it was exhibited recently by the EC. These included deletion of names and pictures, wrong spelling of names, wrong ages and inconsistencies in names and pictures.
Following these anomalies in the register, some political parties expressed apprehension that the affected voters could be disenfranchised but the senior electoral officer dismissed all such fears.
He said if the age on one’s voter identity card did not tally with the age in the register, for example, the person could be allowed to vote provided the age on the voter identity card was above 18 and the pictures on both documents corresponded. Furthermore, he noted, if there were anomalies with regard to names, pictures and other personal details on the voter identity card and in the register, but the polling station number and unique number on the voter identity card corresponded with those in the register, the person could be allowed to vote.
Mr. Ekpedzor said polling officials could also use the Poll Book, which was the original manuscript of the register to verify the identity of voters. He took the participants through the various stages of th electoral process and said there could not be any rigging if everyone was vigilant at every stage.
Mr. Ekpedzor advised people to desist from impersonation and other electoral fraud, warning that anyone caught in such acts would be dealt with according to the law.
A legal practitioner, Mr. Kwami Boni said for an election to be free and fair, there was the need for all to understand the rules and adhere to them. He noted that elections had led to chaos in some neighboring countries because the people did no understand and respect the rules. Mr. Boni advised election observers to shelve their personal interests, adding that they must be impartial and objective in their duty.
The supervisor at the workshop, Rev, B.W. Garbrah, expressed the hope that the success of this year’s election would be a marked improvement over the 2000 election, despite the “worrying events” that characterized the primaries of the two major political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
CODEO observers in the 2000 elections reported that the election was 99.7 per cent free and fair and 99.8 percent satisfactory.
Rev. Garbrah disagreed with a concern that tension was building up as the nation drew closer to the election day, but cautioned political parties and politicians to be honest, sincere and careful with their language. “They should be instruments of peace and true democracy within and outside the country”, he advised, and also urged politicians to accept the results of the elections “as the expression of the will of the people:.
The Greater Accra Regional Coordinator of CODEO, Mr. Kingsley Ayettey, urged the observers to be firm, courageous and “watch proceedings with an eagle eye”.
Source: Daily Graphic