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", "image": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.graphic.com.gh/" }, "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Abigail Bonsu", "url": "https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/politics/sanctity-of-2012-polls-can-t-be-disputed-cso-platform.html" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Graphic Online", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.graphic.com.gh/images/2018/feb/onlinelogo.png" } }, "datePublished": "2012-12-17T10:45:10+00:00", "dateCreated": "2012-12-17T10:45:10+00:00", "dateModified": "2016-05-22T21:36:49+00:00" }

Sanctity of 2012 polls can’t be disputed - CSO platform

BY: Abigail Bonsu

The Civil Society Platform in Northern Ghana has observed that in spite of the numerous challenges that nearly marred the just ended elections, the sanctity of the polls cannot be disputed.

It noted that the election was free and fair as indicated by other local and international observers and therefore urged the political parties to accept the results declared by the Electoral Commission (EC) as a "true reflection and wishes of the Ghanaian people."

The platform, which is hosted by the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), made its preliminary observations of the elections as it pertains to the three regions of the north at a press conference in Tamale on Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of the platform, the Director of NORSAAC, Mr Mohammed Awal, said the platform in collaboration with the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) deployed 214 local observers in 28 constituencies in the north.

He said 19 of those constituencies were located in the Northern Region, five in the Upper East Region and four in the Upper West Region.

Highlighting some of the challenges that rocked the election, Mr Awal lamented the woes of the verification machines and how it nearly led to confusion at some polling stations.

"There was resistance from some prospective voters who could not be verified by the machines to leave the queues and this delayed the voting process in most polling stations," he said.

Mr Awal said the insistence of the polling officers and party agents on machine verification before voting led to the disenfranchisement of many voters in the north.

"A number of EC officials who were trained on the verification machines could not operate them. At Zion JHS polling station for instance, a voter was given on the spot training to replace the previously trained staff to operate the machine," he noted.

He also bemoaned the late arrival of electoral materials and officers at some polling stations.

"At the Gbewaa International School polling station for instance, voting started at 10:10 a.m. resulting in some prospective voters leaving the queues," he stated.

Another observation made by the CSO Platform was the failure of the minority parties to field party agents at most of the voting centers.

"Over 80 per cent of the polling stations where we had observers had only the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) party agents," the team observed and therefore urged the other parties to take the representation of their party agents serious in future elections as that would contribute to the credibility of the polls.

In spite of these challenges, the CSO Platform maintained that the election was generally peaceful and lauded the police, EC, political parties, voters and other stakeholders for contributing their quota towards a successful poll.

It recommended, however, that in future elections, the EC should reconsider its position on the use of the verification machines as the only form of authentication of voters' I.Ds.

"Verification should not be limited to machine verification. People who have been properly identified and verified by all party agents in the voters' register should be allowed to cast their votes," said Mr Awal.

The platform also entreated the EC to consider splitting into two polling stations with higher voter numbers, adding that the EC could make provisions to accommodate a maximum of 800 voters in a polling station.

Mr Awal commended STAR Ghana, a multi-donor pooled funding scheme, and other stakeholders for supporting the election monitoring project in the three regions of the north.

Story by Nurudeen Salifu