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20.11.2008 Elections

EC problems are surmountable –Afari-Gyan

By Emmanuel Kpeglah - Ghanaian Chronicle
EC problems are surmountable –Afari-Gyan

The Chairman for the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has stated that the EC, like any institution, has many dilemmas, but they are surmountable.

He identified the three-pronged-problem as registration of voters, filing of nominations and the elections itself.

Dr. Afari-Gyan was speaking at a lecture organised by the Editors Forum in Accra at the International Press Centre, under the theme “The Challenges of Election 2008.”

The forum was organised to clear all doubts that were confusing the minds of the public, about the readiness of the EC for the December 7 elections, which was fast approaching.

Dr. Afari-Gyan said the problem which confronted the registration exercise, was the registration of minors and foreigners, but said the process of cleaning the register was seriously in force, and that those in doubt should put their trust in the EC, and lend their support.

He said currently, 76,000 double registrations had been identified.

The EC boss said initially there was a general amnesty for those who double-registered, but once someone had been prosecuted, that reprieve had been scraped off.

He said those people would be put before court.

Making reference to the two presidential aspirants, who were disqualified in the presidential nomination exercise, Dr. Afari-Gyan said the basic requirement was that an aspiring president should have at least two supporters from each district across the country.

This regulation, according to him, the affected presidential aspirants could not satisfy, hence their disqualification.

“The EC does not disqualify candidates, it is some candidates that rather disqualify themselves for not following the rules,” he said. Talking on the elections itself, the biggest challenge he said, was the thorny task of reaching the 22,000 polling stations across the country.

He said the EC would cross so many rivers and climb many mountains to reach every nook and cranny of the country, in distributing electoral materials.

“It is a fact undeniable that not all the 22,000 polling stations across the country could get the electoral materials at the same time,” he said.

However, he reassured that at those places, the presiding officers knew what to do – extend the time.

“Even if a thousand people are in the queue before it is 5:00 pm, all those people must be allowed to vote, and the presiding officers will apply those regulations,” he said

“Heaven should not break loose when such things happen, there are rules governing such occurrences,” he stated.

Asked about how the EC could help those in admission at the hospitals to vote, Dr Afari-Gyan said the EC was making arrangements for mobile polling stations that could reach the hospitals, but the problem was how to send such votes to the polling stations they were registered at, but lamented that it would pose a huge problem.

He called on the security forces, the media, the public and politicians to assist the EC to perform this national exercise without any problems.

He said it was impossible for the EC to rig the election in favour of any political party, since the representatives of the political parties would all be at the polling stations and endorse the results.

“The success of the election is a shared responsibility, so all should help make it a success,” he concluded.