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31.12.2008 Elections

PAP Observers Notice Electoral Irregularities

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The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Observer Mission to Ghana yesterday said contrary to attempts by the Electoral Commission to refute allegations of electoral irregularities in some parts of the country, those allegations have been proven to be true.

Mr Authmani Saidi Janguo of the PAP mission told journalists that for instance in the Ashanti Region the team observed serious electoral irregularities, ranging from unusually high numbers of special voting and an unusual polling station layout, which excluded party agents from having full view of the balloting process.

He said the allegations of unusually high numbers of special voting in Kumasi were proved correct after vote counting, adding that in constituencies such as Bantama, Nhyiaeso, Subin and Kwadaso there were unusually high numbers of special votes.

He noted that in Kumasi, some polling agents refused to sign for the polling results alleging irregularities.

'The PAP team witnessed the refusal by National Democratic Congrerss agents to sign for the results in Bantama sub-Metro polling station but there was no complaint form available for them to fill as the procedure demanded,' he said.

He said the team also observed worrying inconsistencies in the layouts and settings, employed by polling officers at different polling stations in Kumasi, adding that at some polling stations, particularly Bantama sub-Metro, party agents were cordoned off the voting table whiles at other stations they were allowed at the voting table.

'We also observed a worrying interference by heavily armed police in the balloting process and hyper-activeness of the patrol police when patrolling voting stations and violence between political party supporters in the region,' he said.

Mr Janguo said in the Volta Region, particularly in Anloga, PAP observers experienced difficulties with unruly and armed mobs that have set up road blocks and ordered them off their vehicles and searched their cars.

'This happened more than once as the mobs have set up blockades in the area where the team was operating,' he said.

He said the team also observed that the Ghana-Togo border was closed, and called for a review of the decision to close borders on voting day.

Mr Janguo, however, noted that the irregularities observed have not compromised the integrity of the electoral process and the expressed majority will of the people of Ghana.

He described the electoral process across the country as generally transparent and efficient and suggested that in subsequent elections, party agents should be trained well and there should be consistency in the training of polling officers.

'The colour of the indelible ink must be different from the one used to thumb print and the voters' register must be organised in an alphabetical order to facilitate quick reference of voters,' he said.

Mr Janguo said the use of more than one type of voters' register should be reviewed to avoid confusion at the polling stations.

He said on the whole the December 28 run-off process satisfied the basic conditions of credible, free and fair elections as contained in the African Union (AU) Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, 2002.

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