Sunday, December 7, 2008

Election peaceful so far-CODEO

A mid-day report of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) on the general election on Sunday said the polls have been peaceful with very few irregularities. The report is the first out of three documents that CODEO would issue on the elections within 24 hours.

Professor Miranda Greenstreet, Co-Chair of CODEO told newsmen in Accra that at the time of beginning the polls, reports from observers have suggested relatively few problems at polling stations. She said this report was based on information received from rapid response observers located at nearly 1,000 nationally representative randomly sampled polling stations in all 230 constituencies. Touching on some irregularities, Prof Greenstreet said at the time of opening of the polls, some polling stations lacked uniformed security personnel, saying: "one i n ten polling stations nationally reported no uniformed personnel. She stated that nearly a third of the polling stations started late and this was more prevalent in the Upper East Region. The Co-Chair said the observers also reported that while polling agents of the National Democratic Party (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) were represented at almost every polling station, those of the other presidential candidates were unable to field polling agents at all centres.

But the Convention People's Party (CPP) she said, had polling agents at approximately half of the polling stations. Prof Greenstreet also said that seventeen of the CODEO observers were initially denied access to polling stations, despite being accredited, but majority of them were permitted to observe. She said CODEO had also received reports of some minor cases that occurred at Awutu Senya D/A primary school centre, the Ghana Apostolic Church centre at Kpong Akatamanso constituency and two incidents at Buduburam and Gomoa East constituency but CODEO had informed the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Police about them.

She mentioned the EC's decision only a few days ago to divide some polling stations into various centres to facilitate the process as another factor that resulted in some disturbances, but stressed that this did not mar the peaceful atmosphere of the elections. On voting delay at the Afram plains area, Prof. Greenstreet said reports indicated that a helicopter was to airlift the voting materials to that area and its late arrival delayed the process.

She told newsmen that observers had confirmed that polls in the area had began as at 1330 hours when addressing the media. Prof Greenstreet expressed CODEO satisfaction with the process and expressed gratitude to all Ghanaians and other international observers for their role in sustaining peace in the country. She announced CODEO would issue its preliminary report on the process on Monday.

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