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Regional News of Saturday, 1 December 2012

Source: GNA

Stop using violence to resolve electoral disputes - CJ

The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Wood on Friday condemned people, who employed violence as a tool, for resolving electoral disputes describing it as very dangerous.

She said the use of violence to destroy and undermine the very system we have chosen to govern this country, was contrast to national stability and security. Mrs Justice Wood was speaking at a national stakeholder’s conference on the 2nd edition of the Manual on Election Adjudication in Accra.

The meeting organized by the Judicial Service for the southern sector of the country was attended by officials of the Electoral Commission, the Police, Immigration, Prisons, the Christian Council and other civil society organizations.

Mrs Justice Wood said credible elections were critical to democratic governance because it provided leadership with the legitimacy for ruling.

She said when elections were credible citizens had a sense of ownership of the political process even if those policies were hurtful in the short term.

Mrs Justice Wood also said electoral justice required that elections should be conducted in accordance with the rule of law and when that was violated there should be a credible system in place to deal effectively with those claims.

She said electoral justice covered the entire range of activities for ensuring that all actions, procedures and decisions related to the electoral process conformed to the constitution and other international instruments and treaties to which the country was bound.

She said electoral justice was thus the medium for preserving, protecting and defending electoral rights since it offered opportunity to aggrieved persons.

Mrs Justice Wood also charged the judiciary to keep away from the fray of political conflict and deal with those conflicts as determined by law.

She said the judiciary should be guided solely by the laws of the land and remains faithful to the judicial oath and the universally acknowledged judicial independence principle.

Commissioner of Police (COP) Patrick Timbilla, Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, said even though the management and administration of the electoral process was in the hands of the Electoral Commission (EC), the Police was there to support them.

He said because the Police did not have the numbers to man all the polling stations they had solicited the help from other security agencies to support them.

COP Timbilla said the Police was ready to deploy its personnel to the Northern, Upper West and East regions.

He said in total about 41,999 security personnel would be deployed around the country and to all the polling stations on Election Day.

He said two or three Policemen would be made to man a polling station in areas of flashpoints with standby patrol teams to serve as reinforcement.

COP Timbilla said the military would only come in when the situation became overwhelming and the other security agencies were not able to handle the situation.

Mrs Sylvia Annoh, Deputy Director of Communication, EC, said even though the Commission was responsible for conducting and managing the electoral process it could not do it alone.

She said the EC was therefore soliciting the support of all stakeholders to ensure that the upcoming elections were held in an atmosphere of peace devoid of any violence.

She said so far the EC had been able to attain the needed materials and about 80 per cent of them had been deployed to the various regions.

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