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13.11.2008 Elections

Don't assume role of security agencies

Don't assume role of security agencies

The Electoral Commission (EC) has stated that it is wrong for any political party to assume the role of the security agencies to effect the arrest of alleged electoral offenders.

It said the best thing to do was to report such malpractices to the security agencies for investigation and prosecution to avoid a situation where the arrest of an individual could turn into a violent scene.

A Principal Public Relations Officer of the EC, Mrs Sylvia Annor, made this known to the Daily Graphic in reaction to violent clashes between some, students of the University of Cape Coast and Cape Coast Polytechnic on one hand and some party supporters on the other over the students' move to transfer their votes to their various campuses.

"No matter the means one uses to get to the Electoral Commission, provided you are qualified and apply individually for the transfer, the EC officers will attend to you and transfer your vote after further investigations, " she added.

Some media reports indicate that some thugs in the Cape Coast Municipality subjected the students from the two tertiary institutions to severe beatings, when they converged on the EC offices to transfer their votes to their various campuses to vote on December 7, 2008.

They said due to the scuffle, five of the students sustained injuries and were rushed to the University of Cape Coast Hospital for treatment.

According to the reports, even the presence of heavily armed police personnel could not deter the thugs till the arrival of the military.

At Amasaman in the Ga West District in the Greater Accra Region, there was a long queue of people wishing to transfer their votes or check on their voter identity cards.

Many prospective voters had arrived as early as 7 a.m., but officials of the EC were yet to assume duty.

They had to contend with the scorching sun in their desire to fulfil their right to exercise their franchise on December 7, 2008.

The queues had developed because many prospective voters were anxious to obtain their voter ID cards to enable them to vote.

Many others were those who had registered and taken their photographs but were not issued with voter ID cards.

Some of them who spoke to these reporters claimed they had been there on three occasions, and that when they went there yesterday they were told to come back at the end of the month.

The District Electoral Officer was away for a meeting in Accra.

From the look of things many people might be disenfranchised, if things are not straightened to enable many prospective voters to vote.

Most of the people who were at the electoral office stressed the need for the number of personnel doing the transfers or checking voter ID cards for those who had registered but were yet to collect their voter ID -cards to be augmented.

They also suggested to the district EC office to arrange for a canopy to protect prospective voters from standing in the scorching sun.