EC advocates use of verification machines in future elections

The Northern Regional Director of the EC, Mr. Sylvester Kanyi, who made the recommendation at a regional review meeting of the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections in Tamale on Monday, stated that the device was still the best option so far to help check multiple voting.

According to him, EC officials encountered challenges because the system was new to them and it would take time for them to get used to it, adding that when voting was adjourned till the following day, the situation improved.

He noted, for instance, that EC officials operating the machines were told to replace the batteries every four hours but most of them failed to do so, hence the problems they encountered.

Mr. Kanyi described the 2012 elections as the most peaceful of all the elections held so far in the region and commended the security agencies and the people of the region for cooperating with the EC for successful elections.

He recommended Kumasi in the Ashanti Region to be made a centre to cater for the three northern regions regarding the repair of machines and where those from the north could go for back-up electoral materials, instead of Accra.

He called for an additional haulage truck to be provided to avoid the delay in releasing election materials to the various polling stations in the region.

Touching on the recruitment of returning officers and their deputies, the EC regional boss noted that it was difficult for the commission to establish the political neutrality of some of them, hence the need for more time to enable the EC to thoroughly screen such candidates.

He said 31 returning officers and 62 deputy officers were trained in the region.

The Deputy Chairman in charge of Finance and Administration of the EC, Mr. Sale Amadu, noted that the adjournment of the elections from December 7 to December 8, 2012 had been in line with CI 75.

The Director of Elections, Mr. Kofi Asomaning, for his part, commended the various stakeholders, including the development partners, for supporting the EC during the 2012 elections.

The Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr. Razak Saani, told the various political parties to trust in the electoral system put in place to avoid suspicions.

The Northern Regional Treasurer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Rashid Tanko Computer, entreated the EC to give resources to the various parties to train their agents themselves.

Some of the participants wanted to know what had become of the pink sheet matter and bribery allegations levelled against some EC officials at Savelugu.

In response, the deputy chairman of the EC told them that since the issue was under investigation, it should not be  discussed.

The participants included representatives of all the political parties, the media, the NCCE, civil society organisations and EC officials.

The meeting was to enable the EC to get feedback from the stakeholders regarding the conduct of the 2012 elections.

 It was organised by the EC, in collaboration with the British Department for International Development (DFID) and the KAB Governance Consult.

Story by Vincent Amenuveve

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