EC holds review meeting in Koforidua
Koforidua, March 05, GNA - Mr Sarfo Katanka, Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) has said the on-going election review process is a normal procedure and not a response to matters pending in the court relating to December's elections.
He said with the introduction of new procedures such as the Biometric Verification Device (BVD), it was necessary for the elections to be reviewed to guide the EC on its future conduct of elections to ensure improvement and progress in the electoral system.
Mr Katanka said in every venture where there were stakeholders involved such as the international donor community and political parties, it was important that the EC reviewed the elections to know their weakness and strategize ahead for future elections.
He said the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (UK) gave funds for training of party agents, polling officials and created platforms for all stakeholders including the political parties and these needed to be evaluated through the review meetings.
Addressing the opening of a review meeting on the 2012 elections with stakeholders from the civil societies in Koforidua, Mr Katanga, said the elections is not only about the voting day but it involved the whole process of registration and exhibition of voters registers culminating in the voting day itself.
He said in collaboration with the KAB Governance Consult and the DFID, several activities such as regional contestant's platform were held to allay fears and mistrust that existed between the political parties on one hand and the EC who was mandated to conduct the elections.
On late arrival of materials, he said, because of mistrust by political parties, election materials were only moved in the mornings on the polling day to ensure trust from participating parties.
Mr Katanka urged all stakeholders to come out with their observation of the elections frankly without any fear or favour to guide the EC and all stakeholders to revise their notes.
Mr Paul Boateng, the Eastern Regional Director of the EC, said there were some challenges such as frequent breakdowns of the biometric machines amounting to about 80 percent in both the registration and voting, operators not fully competent in handling the machines and reported cases of intimidation of people who raised objections to people's eligibility.
He observed that some political parties brought different party agents who had not been trained to the polling stations and they caused unnecessary tensions because they had no idea of what the election procedure entailed.
Mr Boateng suggested that in future elections, the EC should insist that only trained polling agents on the list of the EC be presented at the polling stations to ensure credibility and understanding of the process without any confrontation with the polling officers.
Observers from the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and other civil society groups all cited the challenges of the verification system and the bad performance of some polling officers recruited and recommended that thorough assessment should be done in recruiting such agents for future elections.