The Electoral Commission (EC) hired almost 130,000 casual staff for the 2012 general elections.
According to a Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Mr Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, because these people were casual workers for a short period, the EC “did not know the type of mentality they came to the EC with”.
Speaking at the review meeting of the 2012 elections in Accra for political parties in the region, he explained that the EC had to fall on the ordinary people to execute its assignment because it had only 1500 staff.
He cautioned the participants about the pending petition against the 2012 presidential results at the Supreme Court and urged them not to sway into areas that would land them in contempt of court.
He said the commission needed at least five persons at each of the 23,002 polling station and added that the quality of the personnel recruited reflect the character of the district officers who recruited such persons.
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Mr Kantanka, who is also the commission member responsible for Greater Accra and the Eastern, said unfortunately the commission had lost the large number of teachers whose services the EC engaged for its activities on election days.
He said the EC could not blame the Ghana Education Service for the unavailability of teachers, because some of the commission’s work, such as the biometric registration which lasted for 40 days would have affected academic work if teachers had been allowed to leave the classroom for it.
He expressed worry that the political parties had always refused to bring their real polling station agents for training and rather sent people they would not use as polling agents to the EC for training.
Mr Kantanka said surprisingly, the political parties had argued that they did not send their real agents for fear of other political parties identifying and subsequently influencing them, but to the disadvantage of such parties, they were unable to offer standard training to the real agents.
He blamed the problem on the penchant of “some political parties” to win the election by all means.
Mr William Doworkpor, a representative of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) was unhappy that the EC had failed to even acknowledge some concerns the party raised about the 2012 election, yet alone to respond.
But the Deputy Chairman of the EC apologised to the PPP representative and added that “it is too late to acknowledge receipt”.
Story by Donald Ato Dapatem