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14.11.2008 Elections

EC bars DCEs from polling …with their personal securitymen

By Edmond Gyebi, Tamale - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Electoral Commission (EC) has strongly warned District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives not to make any attempt to visit any of the various polling stations, with their personal security and party supporters, during voting in the elections.

According to the Deputy Chairman of the EC, Kwadwo Sarfo Kantanka, the DCEs, who are also Chairmen of the Security Committees, have no business whatsoever at the polling stations, apart from casting their votes.

Speaking at a media training workshop on election reportage, organised by the Northern Regional Office of the Commission in Tamale, Mr. Kantanka emphasised that any DCE who defied this order, contravened the EC's regulation 27 CI-12, and would face the appropriate sanctions.

The Northern Regional Police Commander, DCOP Ofosu Mensah Gyeabour, in a recent press encounter, announced that DCEs, being the Chairmen of DISECs, would have direct access to the polling stations to ensure proper security measures at the centres.

However, the Deputy EC Boss insisted that the statement by the Police Commander contradicted the electoral regulations.

The workshop was aimed at empowering the media to report responsibly on the electoral process.

Mr. Sarfo Kantanka also stated that it was not prudent for a particular party or candidate, to send hooligans to polling stations to monitor elections on their behalf.

Adding that, “what is required of the parties or candidates, is to send people who are trustworthy, sensible, academically sound and determined, to monitor the process for them.”

He also noted that it had never been the intention of the EC to let armed security personnel monitor elections in this country, but since people now viewed elections differently, the situation demanded armed security.

The Deputy Chairman of the EC pointed out that voters, who wanted replacement of their ID cards at this moment, were likely not to get them done before December 7th.

According to him, the EC, currently, was under pressure to put finishing touches to their work.

He also said the EC was highly optimistic that no minor would be seen voting on Election Day, and dared any one below the voting age of 18 to try that.

Meanwhile, there are about 2,043 polling centres in the Northern Region alone, with many of them in remote areas, where accessibility is a problem.

Mr. Sylvester Kanyi, Northern Regional Director of the EC, challenged the media to work diligently to avoid any violence in the elections.