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22.11.2004 Politics

Election observers urged not to dent polls

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Agona Swedru, Nov 22, GNA - Election observers have been called upon to maintain their neutrality to ensure the success of the December 7, 2004 general election.

They should also desist from actions that could endanger free and fair elections to enhance democracy, Mr G.B.L Siilo, Agona District Co-ordinating Director said.

He was speaking at a training workshop for 163 observers of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and Coalition for Democratic Election Observers (CODEO) at Agona Swedru. They were drawn from the Agona, Awutu-Effutu-Senya and Gomoa Districts of the Central Region.

Mr Siilo said even though Pastors and Civil Servants may have their party affiliation, they must not conduct politics in a way that would compromise their reputation.

He cautioned them not to turn themselves into electoral officers and administrators to ensure peace at the polling stations. Mr Siilo noted that, "for instance if a teacher is an election observer and identify himself or herself with one particular party and is fired, the person will degrade himself or herself forever ". He called on groups and organisations under CODOE to endeavour to maintain their credibility and neutrality since the success or failure of the elections would depend on them since there would be no foreign observers.

Mr Siilo pointed out that the country had conducted three successful elections without any mayhem or war and said they should try to make election 2004 peaceful.

Mr Serebour Quaicoe, Agona District Electoral Officer, asked the observers to follow the procedure for elections at the polling stations. He asked them not to interfere in the work of electoral officers at the polling stations since they were only observers and not to disrupt the elections.

Mr Quaicoe told the participants that they would be at the polling stations to check electoral fraud and irregularities to ensure the success of the elections.

Mr Kweku Dickson, an Official of CODEO, stated that the work of observers was to ensure that materials sent to the polling stations had not been tampered with and bore the marks of the Electoral Commission (EC).

He said the aim of CDD/CODEO was to ensure transparent elections for the people to have confidence in the electoral process.

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