Accra, Oct. 19, GNA - Mr Justice G. A. Aryeetey, a High Court Judge, on Tuesday administered the oath of faithfulness and impartiality to 81 Returning Officers and Deputy Returning Officers recruited by the Electoral Commission (EC) for Election 2004 in the Greater Accra Region. The Officers swore that they would faithfully and impartially fulfil the duties of the office and shall abide by the laws and regulations governing the conduct of the Elections.
Justice Aryeetey warned: "Take the oath very seriously. Ponder over it and your duties daily to avoid any temptation of breaching it as the punishment ranges from a fine of one million cedis to two years' imprisonment or both.
"If you fail in your duties you will be prosecuted. I would be waiting for you in Court. If you are brought before me there you would be shown no mercy."
In accordance with the Public Elections Regulation, 1996 (CI 15) the EC is empowered to appoint a returning officer for each constituency in which election is to be held.
The Acting Greater Accra Regional Director of EC, Ms Luarencia Kpatakpa said the recruitment of Returning Officers formed part of the EC's mandate to advance the cause of democracy, good governance and the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections.
She, therefore, urged the Returning Officers to judiciously manage resources; exhibit political neutrality; establish good rapport with all people; should be free, fair and firm in the performance of their duties.
"Be proactive and not reactive. Be discreet, knowledgeable and ready to learn, good planner, mediator and arbiter and above all work as a team player," Ms Kpatakpa said.
Explaining the modalities for selecting the Officers, Ms Kpatakpa told the Ghana News Agency that the EC placed an advertisement in the newspapers announcing the post.
Afterwards the short-listed candidates were interviewed; their names were published in the newspapers for the people to scrutinize the candidates especially about their political affiliation. It was after nobody had raised objection that they were appointed.