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'Win Elections At Polling Stations Mantra' Recipe For Violence Chief Imam   
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The Office of the National Chief Imam has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to tone down its mantra that elections are won at the polling stations because it can be a recipe for aggression during the November 7 general election.

The emphasis of the EC on the fact that elections are won at the polling stations opens up aggression at the polling stations; a situation that can lead to heckling and acts of violence,” the Spokesperson for the Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, told the Daily Graphic in an interview.

EC’s stance

The advice by the Office of the National Chief Imam came on the heels of statements by some past and present EC officials which appear to have become the mantra of the commission.

Before and during the 2012 elections petition hearing, then Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, was reported to have said that elections were won at the polling stations.

The EC’s Deputy Chairperson in charge of Finance and Administration, Ms Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, was also reported recently as saying that elections had always been won at the polling stations and that there was no way a member of the EC could aid in rigging elections for a particular political party.

Different meaning

But Sheikh Shaibu said the statements by some past and present EC officials conveyed a different meaning to political parties and their agents.

“The emphasis now is not on the fact that elections are won truly, fairly and freely at the polling stations but are won at all cost at the polling stations. That is why the losing parties now say that they lost previous elections because they were not vigilant and so now they are going to be extra-vigilant,” he said.

According to him, while vigilance is important, it had the tendency to create problems if it was not handled well.

“Perceived threat from two opposing sides is what gives birth to conflict.  So if the election management body also buys into the idea that elections are won at the polling stations, bearing in mind what happened during the election petition, what happens?” he asked.

He said the issue of fairness and the freeness of the environment were attributes that guaranteed the credibility of election results.

He also urged the youth not to allow themselves to be used as instruments for chaos before, during and after the general election.

On the voters register, he said it was the right of the opposition parties to express their concerns over it but it was also important that the EC was given the chance to do what it could to make the register credible for the elections.

“Too much suspicion can sometimes lead us to unreasonable demands and if you don’t take care, even if the elections are credible,you will have something to say,” Sheikh Shaibu added.
Source: Daily Graphic

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