Friday, December 19, 2008

EC asks security, electoral officers to coordinate their activities

Mr. Sylvester Kanyi, Northern Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC) has appealed for effective coordination between security officers and personnel of the EC to ensure proper conduct of the 28 December 28 Presidential run-off elections.
     He noted that during the December 7 general elections the deployment of security officers to the districts was a problem as some of the officers arrived in the districts when the presiding officers had already moved away with the ballot boxes.
     He said this showed a lack of proper coordination as the electoral regulations indicated that as soon as a ballot box containing election materials were sealed it must be escorted by a security officer.
     Mr. Kanyi was speaking at a workshop on "Elections and security management" organized by the Ministry of the Interior in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) in Tamale on Thursday.
     The workshop, which was on the theme: "The role of the security services and stakeholders in elections, Post and pre-elections analysis", brought together the military, police, immigration and customs officers and other stakeholders in the election process.
     Mr. Kanyi said the provision of fuel; food ration and allowances for the security personnel were also not well defined since there were instances where the security personnel had to approach the district electoral officers for such logistics.
     He said in some districts, vehicles meant to convey security personnel to the polling stations simply leave them at their destinations and did not bring them back to Tamale.

      Mr. Kanyi said, there was also a problem with the use of a helicopter in the "overseas" areas of the region because the helicopter arrived late in Yagaba in West Mamprusi after most of the election officers had already left for their polling stations.
     "The helicopter deployed never returned to bring them back to Yagaba", Mr. Kanyi said.
      The Regional Electoral Officer said although the use of motorbikes was very essential due to the many inaccessible areas in the region his request for 30 motor bikes was reduced to four.
      Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor,  Minister of the Interior, in a speech read for him, appealed to the Chief Justice to ensure that the special courts set up on her instance to deal with election related disputes to quickly dispose of all outstanding electoral disputes to help promote peaceful elections.
      He recounted some of the unfortunate instances where the press had contributed to sparking off civil wars in other African countries due to electoral disputes and urged the Ghanaian press to be wary of similar trends.
     "Please, as journalist, stick to your core business of educating; informing and entertaining the public, you must concentrate on the issues that are relevant to the development of the country. You must avoid attacks and insults on personalities and opposing political parties", Dr. Addo-Kufuor said.
    Mr. Issac Owusu-Mensah, Manager of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation said the programme formed part of the organisation's collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior on promoting public safety as a mechanism of democratic development.
    He said the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections produced a form of fear and unnecessary anxiety in the body politic of the country with some disgruntled individuals preaching that Ghana would burn.
    He said a number of stakeholders who however believed Ghana deserved better, also embarked on peaceful election related activities, adding that, this had not only moved Ghana into another pedestal in democratic ranking in the world but had also portrayed to the world that some African countries are capable of achieving excellent mark in a democratic test.

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