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Politics of Thursday, 26 November 2020

Source: GNA

Election Observers must be impartial and law abiding - EC

Logo of the Electoral Commission Logo of the Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission on Tuesday called on Observers of Election 2020 to be impartial and non-confrontational as they abide with Ghana’s electoral laws.

“Avoid conduct or communication capable of disrupting the voting and counting process and under no circumstances attempt to take any active role in resolving any dispute or complaint, even if asked to. Your role is strictly to observe and record events at the polling station,”Dr Bossman Eric Asare, EC Deputy Chairman, in-charge of Corporate Services told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.

“Any observer who is dissatisfied with the official instructions should record the circumstances of such dissatisfaction in the appropriate observation report.”

“Election Observers are mandated to comply with the instructions of Officials at the polling station unless such instructions are manifestly unlawful,” he said

He said Observers however may record any complaints made to them on the appropriate observation form, including details of the complaints – the name, organization where relevant and contacts of those involved.

Dr Bossman Asare, who was speaking on the “2020 Guidelines for Election Observation” manual, categorized Observers tasks into four main activities: Observation of processes and activities organized before, during and after elections.

The rest are: Collation of facts and observations that have been noted; Interpretation of the facts gathered against the background of the laws governing elections; and detailing the findings so collated and the interpretations arising from the reports.

The Guidelines seek to provide directions and set the parameters under which Election Observers will undertake their duties in accordance with the law and best practices.

Dr Bossman Asare explained that: “For the EC the Observation of elections by National, Regional, Continental and International Organisations is a very important part of the electoral process.

“We are committed to producing free, fair, transparent and credible elections and we want citizens and the entire world to see us deliver on our promises”.

The EC Deputy Chairman said “Every Ghanaian voter is entitled to lawfully express his or her choice through the Ballot Box and to have this choice counted and respected. The EC is committed to ensure that every lawful vote counts in our elections.

“The EC welcomes the support of all people and partners of goodwill, including Election Observers who contribute to the credibility and acceptability of elections and its outcomes”.

Dr Bossman Asare informed that the EC had no role to play in the deployment of Observers except for providing basic information which may be required for such deployment which was the map of polling stations.

He said Observers were not eligible to handle election documents in the polling station or to part-take in the counting process but must comply with instructions given to them by the polling officials unless it is not favourable to them.

He said they should be prepared to present proof of accreditation to electoral and security personnel when requested.

The EC Deputy Chairman asked Observers to keep records of conversations and comments, questions and, in particular ask for concrete examples when general statements are made.

He also reminded Observers to be conscious that, their conduct was likely to be closely observed and should not be too enthusiastic when meeting candidates.