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Council of State praises EC for good work

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Nana Otuo Siriboe (left) in a chat with Mrs Jean Mensa
Nana Otuo Siriboe (left) in a chat with Mrs Jean Mensa

The Council of State has scored the Electoral Commission (EC) full marks in the commissions’s preparations and processes leading to the general election.

It has, therefore, urged the EC to remain focused on the ultimate goal of delivering peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections whose results will be acceptable by all parties.

Speaking at a meeting organised in Accra last Friday for the EC to give updates on its preparedness for the elections, the Chairman of the council, Nana Otuo Siriboe, commended the EC Chairperson, Mrs Jean Mensa, and her deputies for "doing an excellent job so far" since their appointment to those positions.

"If we are to assess your performance so far on a scale of one to 10, I will give you 10," he told the commission.
On the work done so far, he particularly commended the electoral body for compiling a credible voters register in record time, in spite of the resistance by some groups and the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep the guard

Nana Siriboe said although the EC had performed creditably in its pre-election activities, the last stage — the election proper — was the most critical, since its success or otherwise could make or break the country.

"The last hurdle to clear is the December 7 elections, and that is where your commitment and efficiency will be tested to the fullest. Just like Usain Bolt, we encourage you to put in your maximum energy and finish hard for Mother Ghana," he stressed.

He said the last moments in the electoral process required the EC and its staff to be diligent and keep their eye fixed on the ball to prevent any unforeseen challenges that might disturb the peace of the country.

He called on political parties contesting the elections, civil society organisations (CSOs) and all governance institutions to support the EC to ensure that the elections were conducted and credible results delivered in the interest of the nation.

Updates

Mrs Mensa assured the Council of State and Ghanaians in general that the commission was 98 per cent ready to conduct the elections and deliver the results in a record 24 hours after the end of polls.

She added that 233, 632 temporary staff, comprising returning officers, deputy returning officers, presiding officers, verification officers, names reference officers and COVID-19 ambassadors, had been recruited and would be deployed to the 38,622 polling stations across the country.

"For the first time in the history of elections in this country, all the returning officers and deputy returning officers were brought to Accra for training, and we shared the vision of the commission with them and made them aware that there are some things we will not accept and so they should maintain a high sense of integrity," she said.

Additionally, she said, 74,800 brand new biometric verification devices (BVDs), ballot boxes and other election materials had been deployed to the various districts ahead of the elections and were being kept in police armouries.

Mrs Mensa also said all presidential ballots had been printed and deployed, while parliamentary ballots were expected to be completed today.

COVID-19 protocols

Turning her attention to the safety of voters, she said the EC had made adequate provisions to ensure that voters did not get infected by COVID-19 at the polling stations.

She said adequate protective materials, including Veronica buckets, hand sanitiser, thermometer guns and hand-washing soap had been procured and distributed for use at all polling stations on election day.

Mrs Mensa said the EC had also strengthened COVID-19 education using both traditional and social media to sensitise voters to the safety protocols on the day of the poll.

"COVID-19 ambassadors whom we are deploying to the polling stations will help enforce the protocols, and we are confident that with the kind of training we have given them, we can eliminate or minimise the risk of spread of the virus," she added.

Assurance

Responding to the call by the Council of State on the EC to remain focused on the elections, Mrs Mensa said the commission was on top of its job and would not rest until the last ballot had been cast, the results collated and winners declared.

"Currently, 17,029,971 people have been registered to vote in these elections and we are confident in the integrity and credibility of the register to deliver elections that are reflective of the people's will," she stressed.

She urged stakeholders to play their part to ensure the successful conduct of the polls.