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21.06.2004 General News

Crisis Hits EC Over Shortage Of Films

By Evening News
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The Electoral Commission is reeling under pressure from all angles over their bringing of the photo identification exercise.

'The Evening News' has learnt that the head office in Accra as well as the various regional and district headquarters throughout the country are inundated with complaints over the way officials are bungling with the simple exercise of giving identity cards to potential voters.

In various polling stations throughout Accra, where the exercise is supposed to wind up, long queues of people waiting for their turn to take the pictures have left many potential voters impatient.

In most cases, shortage of films had brought the exercise to a standstill. At the head office in Accra, officials of the commission chaired by Dr Kwadwo Afari-Djan have locked themselves up in crisis meeting desperately to resolve an issue that is threatening to overwhelm them.

When our man visited the Adabraka head office of the commission, officials were meeting. They had apparently been locked up for hours. The few officials this paper talked to were tight-lipped but 'The Evening News' learned that an official statement will be issued soon apologizing for the inconvenience to the general public and stating procedures for remedying the situation.

'The Evening News' was told by a source pleading anonymity that the commission ordered enough films to last the whole country but amateur performance by the cameramen meant that an unusually large number of films were spoilt. Sensing danger, the Electoral Commission ordered fresh films from Europe, which had not arrived at the time newsmen called.

The Electoral Commission has come under serious criticism throughout the exercise to replace the Voters Register, which began throughout the country in March this year. Reports of shortage of registration materials forced the Deputy Electoral Commissioner David Kanga to assure the public that the problems were being addressed.

The commission ordered fresh forms from Great Britain, which arrived in the course of the exercise. But the Electoral Commission could not clear them until the exercise official ended