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16.12.2004 General News

NCCE claims credit for high voter turnout in Elections 2004

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Accra, Dec. 16, GNA - The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Thursday claimed credit for the 83 per cent voter turnout of Elections 2004.

"We excited and inspired the citizens to be alive to their constitutional rights and responsibilities, which reflected in the turnout," Mr Laary Bimi stated in Accra.

"We discharged our functions, harped on tolerance among the political parties, youth activities, pressed home the imperative of peace in the elections and urged the citizenry to turn out in their numbers to choose their president and parliamentarians. They did in their numbers."

Mr. Bimi, who is the NCCE Chairman was speaking at a press conference to refute media castigation of the Commission over the high number of rejected ballot and other electoral irregularities. The critics said the NCCE failed to discharge its constitutional responsibilities given the 2.14 per cent rejected votes.

The NCCE Chairman described the allegations as unfortunate and explained that it had exposed the ignorance of some journalists of the Constitutional mandate of the Commission.

"It is not the constitutional responsibility of the NCCE to educate the voters on how to vote, that is the responsibility of the Electoral Commission. Our responsibility is to educate the voter on why to vote, while EC deals with when and how to vote."

He said the NCCE is to create and sustain within the Ghanaian society the awareness of the principles and objectives of the Constitution as the fundamental law of the people. It is also to formulate, implement and oversee programmes intended to inculcate in the citizens of Ghana awareness of their civic responsibility and an appreciation of their rights and obligations as a free people.

Mr Bimi said by executing its constitutional function, citizens would develop the urge, character and responsibility to turn out to vote at all public elections.

Mrs Zakaria Ali, NCCE Director of Research, said the Commission would launch an investigation into reasons why about 20 per cent of registered voters failed to vote.

She said the Commission conducted a pre-election poll, which among other findings, established that 97.4 per cent of registered voters intimated their willingness to turn out to vote.

"We need to establish what happened between the period that influenced about 20 per cent of the register voters not to turn up."

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