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23.07.2004 Regional News

How EC’s Officials Sabotaged The Volta Region

By The Lens

The Electoral Commission employed the services of minors and inexperienced photographers for the photo-taking exercise in the Volta Region, resulting in wanton waste of films. Some of the minors were as young as thirteen.

The quantity of Polaroid films distributed to the various registration centres in that region for the photo-taking exercise, inadequate to begin with, were further depleted by the waste that occurred at some centres where, due to the inexperience of the photographers, pictures had to be repeatedly taken because the photographers were unable to focus properly.

When reached to comment on why minors were employed for the exercise in the Volta Region, the Volta Region Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Mohammed Adoquaye, told The Lens that he does not know the ages of the people employed as photographers for the exercise. He went on to say, "there is no age limit for the persons to be employed as photographers.

On whether the inexperience and immaturity of the minors did not negatively affect the exercise considering the widespread reports of spoilage of films all over the region during the exercise, Mr. Adoquaye said, "what we have noticed, not only here but all over the country, is that the young people and the non-professionals that we engaged rather did a better job than the professionals. The professional photographers rather were the ones that spoiled most films because they assumed that they could operate the cameras so when they were undergoing the training, they did not pay much attention to the instructions given them on how to operate the cameras."

However a number of Volta Region residents that The Lens spoke with have expressed serious reservations about Mr. Adoquaye's explanations, which some of them described as "ludicrous".

In the view of Mr. Kormivi Agbozo, a resident of Ho, "while it is conceivable that a professional photographer may at the initial stages have some difficulty with a camera he was not familiar with, by the simple reason that he is a professional, he is more likely to get accustomed to the equipment and its usage faster than an inexperienced minor. The EC Director's explanation makes me wonder what kind of "professional" photographers they employed for the exercise in our region."

Another person, Evelyn Foligah of Hohoe, asked, "whether the minors and inexperienced photographers were deliberately employed to frustrate the whole exercise, as it has clearly turned out to be? In employing the minors for the job, however temporary the employment, did those officials of the EC who employed them addressed their minds to the fact that they were bringing the EC into disrepute for engaging in child labour?"

The general perception in the Volta Region is that officials of the Electoral Commission who were responsible for the photo-taking exercise did not attach much seriousness to the whole exercise.

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