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General News of Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Don’t engage drunks as polling agents – EC tells parties

Lydia Agyiri, the New Juaben Municipal Electoral Commission (EC) Director, has pleaded with various political parties not to engage the services of drunkards as their polling agents in this year’s elections.

Mrs. Agyiri made this call during a presentation at a day’s workshop organized by the Regional Peace Council for some representatives of parliamentary candidates and party executives at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

She said, “there have been situations where political party polling agents come to polling centres drunk, raising unnecessary alarm on everything that goes on, causing problems and delaying the electoral process.”

She added that, ” party polling agents who talk a lot at polling centres fail to observe the electoral exercise well, they go tired, some fall asleep and the rest leave the centres in no time.”

Mrs. Agyiri urged political parties to engage competent polling agents who are well vest and abreast with the electoral process to help make the exercise very smooth and easy.

She explained that “working with agents who understand the ins and outs of our electoral system and how it works makes our work very easy.”

She then encouraged the political leaders to build healthy relationships with their various District Electoral Commission Directors to get first hand information and not to rely on social media.

Mr. Paul Lawer Narh, the Municipal Director of NCCE for New Juaben, speaking on electoral education at the workshop, expressed worry about the number of rejected and spoilt ballots during the 2012 elections.

He said “the issue of rejected and spoilt ballots is of much concern to us.”

He added that “civic education is not the work for only NCCE staff, but you all should come on board to compliment our efforts, we are doing our best to solve the issue of spoilt ballots but we need your help to achieve that.”

Rt Rev Prof Twum Baah, the Eastern Regional Chairman of the Peace Council, addressing the political leaders on maintaining peace, also touched on the worrying issue of spoilt ballots and charged political parties to educate their people on how to vote for them.

He said “after going out from door to door persuading and encouraging people to come and vote for you, use projectors and other pictorial elements and show them how to vote for you on election day.”

He added that “it will be very painful and disheartening going through all this sleepless nights of campaign to rally a lot of followers only for them to make simple mistakes on the ballot sheets for it to affect your party.”

He then advised the political party executives to report all campaign misconduct and violent incidents to the inter-party dialogue committee, which has been set up to deal with such issues timely.

Mr. George Amo, a national representative of the Peace Council, adding his voice to ensuring peace said “our grand fathers left for us a peaceful Ghana and now it is our time to also leave a more peaceful Ghana to our grand children and generations unborn.”

He advised the party executives to choose dialogue and not weapons in settling disputes and also cautioned communicators to choose their words carefully on air.

He said “In addressing issues, always stick to the facts of the matter, do away with insults and falsification since it has a greater tendency to influence the activities of listeners.”

The workshop, which was sponsored by the USAID and UNDP in collaboration with the Electoral Commission and NCCE, also had representatives of all parliamentary aspirants in the New Juaben North and South Constituencies, Akuapim North and South Constituencies and Okere constituency.

It was aimed at educating political parties at the constituency level on electoral laws, and processes to ensure a peaceful election before, during and after elections.