11.12.2008 Elections

CHRAJ extols December 7 general elections

By The Statesman
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TheCommission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice has praised the just-ended December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections held in Ghana as free, fair and transparent.

The Commission therefore commended the polling agents, political parties and the candidates, the Electoral Commission and the good people of Ghana for the peaceful and orderly manner in which they conducted themselves.

Giving a preliminary statement on the Commission's observation of the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections during this year"s International Human Rights Day, which coincidentally is also the 60th Anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Anna Bossman,

Acting Commissioner, CHRAJ, said people were allowed to exercise their right to vote freely and fairly without restriction.

CHRAJ observed the elections in over 900 polling stations located in 137 Constituencies spread in all ten regions of the country.

She pointed out that EC officials at polling stations exhibited firmness, courtesy, patience and fairness throughout the polling period.

 In most of the polling stations which the Commission monitored, EC officers allowed women with babies, the elderly and the disabled to cast their votes as soon as they arrived irrespective of the length of the queue, she noted.

Also, there were tactile ballots also available for the visual impaired.

Ms Bossman said party agents were active and vigilant at all polling stations observed by the Commission.

According to her, security personnel demonstrated professionalism and did not intimidate voters. In addition, police patrols ensured safety and security in the communities.

All these, the Ag Commissioner pointed out, "enhanced the credibility of the elections.'

Ms Bossman did note, however, that there were a few polling stations that witnessed a few incidents of disorder

She disclosed that some eligible voters in seven polling stations were unable to cast their votes because some of them, even though they had their ID cards with them, could not find their names in the voter register.

Others who had their votes transferred could not find their names on the transferred voter's list.

She indicated that at the CMB, Temporary Booth polling station in Accra, a party agent prevented a voter who he claimed had a deceased person's ID card from voting.

She said there was evidence that this person was an eligible voter; as such, the presiding officer declared the ID card valid and the entries in the register found to be accurate.

She said despite all these, the polling agent insisted that he would not vote and the person simply walked away in frustration.

Another incident happened at Salaga, where persons in a bus reported to be people who had transferred their votes to the Salaga Constituency were almost prevented from voting.

This almost created confusion, but after an inter-party dialogue under the presiding officer, it was agreed that the passengers should not be allowed to vote.

 She said in addition to the above incidence, some potential voters who alleged to have transferred their votes could not find their names in the transfer voter list, and therefore could not exercise their franchise. According to her, despite these isolated cases no systematic irregularities of the voting process were recorded and the whole polling was calm and orderly.

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