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25.11.2004 Politics

123 election observers trained at Saltpond

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Saltpond (C/R), Nov. 25, GNA - The Deputy Central Regional Coordinator of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Mr Issah Mumuni Dimbie has said that the concern of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in monitoring elections was to ensure that the democratic system worked but not to find faults.

Mr Dimbie, who is also the Headmaster of Ekumfi T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School at Essarkyir, cautioned election observers against turning themselves into security service personnel or staff of the Electoral Commission (EC).

He was speaking at a training workshop for 123 election observers from the Mfantseman, Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam and Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa Districts at Saltpond.

The workshop was organised by CODEO in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

Mr Dimbie said though an election observer could point out lapses to the EC staff or security personnel on duty, the observer had no right to challenge any voter or the system.

He said the observer was accountable to CODEO only, adding that any information gathered was the property of the CODEO, which should not be divulged to any other person, organisation or party.

Mr John Mensah, Mfantseman District Electoral Officer, who gave an over-view of the electoral process said voters who were in a queue to cast their vote before 1700 hours when voting should have ended should be allowed to vote, but those who would come after 1700 hours should be turned away.

He advised the observers to educate the electorate in their communities on the electoral process to prevent them from committing electoral offences.

Mr Stephen Bemile, Senior Programme Officer of Friedrich Naumann Foundation, said democracy did not manifest on Election Day only, it also entailed what happened before, during and after the election and exhorted Ghanaians to ensure that the peace the nation was enjoying was not disturbed.

Mr Bemile advised the observers to be first at the polling stations and be the last to leave to ensure that their observations were complete.

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