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03.03.2009 Politics

EC digests Election 2008… Says mistrust, suspicion cause of election violence

By Isaac Akweetey - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr. David Kangah, has attributed the various degrees of violence that emanate from elections in Africa, particularly Ghana, to mistrust and suspicion among Ghanaians, especially politicians.

He made the observation at a special Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee (RIPAC) meeting, held here in Koforidua last Thursday, which was organised by the EC, in collaboration with KAB Governance Consult, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The meeting, which was under the theme “Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot Election 2008,” was to reflect and take stock of challenges that originated during the 2008 December presidential and parliamentary elections.

It was attended by representatives of the various political parties in the country, notably the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Convention Peoples' Party (CPP) among others, including traditional authorities, staffs of Information Services Department and the security agencies, to seek opinions and lasting solutions to election violence.

Speaking at the meeting, the EC boss indicated that in order to conduct elections free of violence, there was the need for Ghanaians, particularly politicians, to have confidence and trust in the work of the EC.

Issues of security, prevention of election violence, protection of the ballot boxes, registration of voters, replacement of voters Identity Cards (ID), choosing of Presiding Officers (PO) and party agents, were some of the major issues raised.

On issues of choosing PO and the snatching of ballot boxes, participants called on the EC to do thorough investigations into the backgrounds of individuals considering to be POs, as well as ensure adequate security at polling stations, to prevent others from snatching ballot boxes.

They also suggested the introduction of electronic registrations of prospective voters, which could help prevent individuals from multiple registration, and registration of minors.

The participants commended the EC for demonstrating a high level of professionalism in the discharge of their duties before, during, and after the elections, as well as other stakeholders who supported the elections.