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No wrongdoings in last referendum — EC

BY: Dominic Moses Awiah
Deputy Chair in charge of Operations at the EC, Mr Samuel Tettey
Deputy Chair in charge of Operations at the EC, Mr Samuel Tettey

The Electoral Commission (EC) has called on the public to disregard videos on social media that purportedly portrayed multiple voting in the recent referendum on the creation of the six regions.

However, the commission stated that it had referred the matter to the police to undertake further investigations into the issue.

At a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, the Deputy Chair in charge of Operations at the EC, Mr Samuel Tettey, said the commission’s internal investigations on the video and some of the concerns raised by the public regarding the referendum had revealed that its officials did not partake in any wrongdoing.

“The commission’s investigation reveals that our officials adhered to the strict regulations laid down for the referendum on the creation of the six regions,” he said.

Background

In December last year, some communities in 47 districts across the country voted in a referendum aimed at creating six new regions.

 The new regions the referendum sought to create were: the Western North, Ahafo, Bono East, Oti, North East and Savannah regions.

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However after the exercise, some organisations, including the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), a Northern-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), expressed worry about violation of electoral rules.

The organisation complained of the atmosphere at the polling station and the composure of the public officials, security and traditional authorities, indicating that they made it too scary for citizens to attempt opposing the process, hence democracy was under attack.   

There was also a video on social media allegedly showing people undertaking multiple voting and also engaging in other irregularities.

Following the public concerns, the EC instituted an investigation into the matter and also referred the video to the police to investigate.

Findings

Presenting the findings, Mr Tettey said the investigations done by the EC revealed high voter turnout of 80.9 per cent in all the 4,000 polling stations.

He also said there was a massive reduction in the rejected ballot papers, which reduced to as low as 0.2 per cent and attributed that to the intense public education carried out by the EC and its stakeholders.

A major concern, Mr Tettey mentioned, was the high number of manual verification which he said was introduced to help those who could not be verified in the biometric verification.

On the video, he said the officials who were pictured were not wearing the EC jacket, adding that all officials were given a jacket to wear, hence those seen in the video could not have been officials of the EC.

Political parties role

Mr Tettey applauded the leadership of the various political parties for putting aside their differences and joining forces together in ensuring the success of the referendum on the creation of the six regions.

According to the commission, the role played by the political parties, especially in helping educate the public on the need to partake in the referendum regarding the creation of the six regions, culminated in the eventual success of the exercise.

 Mr Tettey said the commission was amazed to have witnessed all the political parties working together to ensure the success of the referendum.

“The commission realised that one of the major reasons that made the exercise successful was the unity among the political parties in promoting the exercise. This means Ghanaians understand the need to work together for a collective goal,” he said.