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General News of Thursday, 10 November 2016


Demand clarification when allegations are made against Dec polls – EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) says the credibility of the general elections would be guaranteed if the media hold accountable persons who make disparaging claims against the polls.

EC boss, Charlotte Osei said the electoral process should not be seen as the work of only the Commission but that the media and political parties have equal role to play.

Speaking at an Editors Forum held at the International Press Center in Accra, she said any attempt to “needlessly” erode public confidence in the electoral process amounts to a great disservice to the democratic stability of Ghana.

“When political actors make pronouncements on your platforms, please ask them to substantiate it,” she told the gathering of media personnel.

The credibility of the December 7 general elections has been at the center of intense political controversy in the country since the start of 2016.

Opposition political parties such as the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) have raised concerns about the electoral roll which they considered “unfit” for the election.

PNC’s former National Youth Organiser, Abu Ramadan, one Evans Nimako and Kwesi Danso Acheampong sued the EC in 2014 for accepting the use of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card as one of the means of getting onto the voters’ register.

The case was revived in 2016 when Messers Ramadan and Nimako headed to the Supreme Court to demand the deletion of persons who used the NHIS card on the register.

The justices of the apex court in what has been described as a landmark ruling directed the EC to delete the names of minors; NHIS card holders and ghost names from the register.

Some individuals have also alleged that the Commission wants to use the proxy process and special voting to rig the election in favor of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).

But Mrs Osei said her attention was drawn to such a claim by a politician who disclosed on a media platform Wednesday that the Commission was planning to rig the two special voting exercises.

She said the Commission cannot rig the votes of at least 524 people who would taking part in the proxy voting and 29,773 people including the media and security personnel taking part in the special voting exercise.

She explained it is not possible to change the results of these voting processes because they work in the same fashion the general elections work.

“It is the same process as making sure the ballot box is empty before the start of the elections, political parties, and their agents have the right to put their seals on the ballot boxes so that they cannot be opened until they are present,” she said.

Mrs Osei added that after voting the “proxies are handed over to the security agencies as has been the practice and secured until Election Day when they are brought out and the seals are removed by the EC and political parties for counting.”

“How are we going to use these [processes] to rig the elections still defies our imagination,” she said.