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27.02.2009 Politics

EC charges parties to educate members on electoral laws


Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, Director of Elections of the Electoral Commission (EC), on Friday charged political parties to educate their parliamentary candidates and polling agents to be conversant with the electoral laws in order to remove suspicion that tended to characterised elections.

He said candidates who employed knowledgeable, effective and reliable polling agents would not have any difficulty with the outcome of the elections.

Mr Arhin, who stood in Dr Kwadwo Afari-Djan, Chairman of the EC, was speaking at a special Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee (RIPAC) meeting on "Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot" project in Accra.

The workshop, organised by the EC/Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in collaboration with the KAB Governance Consult, was to demystify the work of the EC.

This is the second time that the forum is being organised for the political parties as an overview and lessons from the parliamentary fora and polling agents training carried out in the Greater Accra Region in November last year.

Mr Arhin said the rationale for the meeting was to upgrade the knowledge of participants on elections as well as things that the political parties already knew.

He said the critique of the forum would also help the EC to know things that went wrong during the last elections and what can be done to correct them.

Mr Muhammed Adoquaye, Regional Director of the EC, said the seminar offered the right opportunity for the participants to shape up their knowledge on the rights of polling agents, electoral officials and parliamentary candidates.

He said the parliamentary candidates also had the duty to ensure that their polling agents abide by the electoral rules to help bring peace and transparency at a particular polling station.

Mr Adoquaye said polling agents were observers and could not intervene in the electoral process like the electoral official.

Mr Baaba Zakarial, New Patriotic Party parliamentary candidate for the Abokobi-Madina Constituency, said the process of recruiting presiding officials for the various constituencies should be made transparent.

He alleged that with current recruitment process some political party functionaries were able to infiltrate the process and cheat in the elections.

Nii Noi Vanderpuye, a member of the Greater Accra Executive of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), urged the EC to resolve the problems of the special, proxy and transfer voting that characterised the December elections.

He said there was confusion all over as some voters could be seen holding authorised notes from district electoral officials to allow them to vote in the elections.