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25.01.2005 Politics

Political Parties Urged to Help Prevent Spoilage of Ballot Papers

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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Sunyani -- The Brong Ahafo Director of the National Commission of Civic Education (NCCE), Mr. Kofi Adoma, has suggested that the political parties should be in a better position to educate their members on how to vote to avoid massive spoilage of ballot papers during elections.

He explained that even though the NCCE and Electoral Commission (EC) could educate voters on how to vote, their active involvement in education could create the perception of campaigning for a particular party.

Mr. Adoma made the suggestions at a post-election discussion organized and facilitated by Ibis, a Dutch international non-governmental organization and its local partners, Center for Sustainable Development, in Sunyani. It was basically information and experience-sharing among the participants.

The NCCE Regional Director explained to the participants the educational activities undertaken by his outfit towards the peaceful elections and advised political parties to keep educating their followers on the need to ensure and consolidate peace and tranquility.

He called also on the political parties to instill civic virtues in their members. This, he said, would help eliminate the alleged corruption and vote-buying during elections.

Mr. Adoma observed that political parties were campaigning vigorously without educating their members on the rules of the game. According to him, the media, both print and electronic were misused in attacking political opponents perceived as enemies and lamented the habit of raining insults and making impeccable utterances on radio phone-in programmes.

He urged Ghanaians to stop the habit of hooting at defeated parliamentary candidates to the extent of burying coffins since these, according to him, discourage potential politicians who could help build a better Ghana.

He appealed to the government and other NGOs to resource all the educational institutions to carry out their mandated duties, especially during election period.

The Deputy Regional Electoral Officer, Mr. Mahama Yahaya, admitted that despite the general assumption of free and fair elections, the electoral process governed by human institution witnessed some unexpected incidences. He was however optimistic that the electoral process would be improved come 2008.

He took time to explain some unpleasant incident that occurred in certain constituencies of the region. The participants were drawn from the various stakeholders in election such as the EC, NCCE, political parties, media, election observers and other non-governmental organizations.

The post elections discussion identified some challenges that nearly marred the beauty of the electoral process. Inadequate security personnel, lack of funding for political parties, inadequate training for parties' polling agents among others were some of the challenges. Another discovery was attacks on female parliamentary candidates by political opponents.

The participants recommended that the identified challenges be tackled right away to prevent future occurances of certain unpleasant incidents that narrowly brought chaos in some places during and after the elections. They attributed the burning of ballot boxes and electoral officers being taken hostages to the inadequacy of security personnel at collating centers.

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