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Ill Stop Results If Says EC Boss   
 
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04-Nov-2016  
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Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, has dropped a hint that she might stop the declaration of the presidential election results if they (results) are too close and call for a recount.

In a rather strange move, Mrs Osei said in order to avoid a declaration of a wrong person as the winner of the election, the commission would do a recount (if the results are close).

A recount could only be at the request of an aggrieved party in the election but not by the EC.

“Our elections in Ghana tend to be very close. If it is so close, it might be prudent to stop, inform everyone, do a total recount and be sure of what we are announcing finally,” the EC boss said during an interview with the BBC in London.

The EC chairperson is on an official visit to the United Kingdom where she paid a visit to the Commonwealth Secretariat.  She also indicated that the commission would avoid announcing the presidential results, if results from all the 29,000 polling stations have not been received.

Ghana goes to the polls to elect a president and new parliamentarians on December 7, 2016 in what has been described as a close contest in history.

“The results for the presidential poll are expected to be declared within a maximum of 74 hours,” Charlotte Osei said.

The declaration could only be pushed beyond 72 hours if the results appear too close between the leading candidates.

Mrs Osei rejected the perception that the commission, especially she herself, can be influenced to change the election results.

“It is impossible for the EC to be influenced,” she stated.

Lawsuits

Despite the plethora of law suits against the commission occasioned by the disqualification of presidential aspirants, she insists the elections date remains December 7.  “We will not allow law suits to subvert the process and so we are going to get a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court likely this week; at the latest, early next week. But in the meantime, we have started the process of printing the parliamentary ballot papers to make up some of the time and so we are in a good place to meet the December 7 date,” she assured.

Mrs Osei explained that the Supreme Court was aware of the timelines and it was for that reason that the commission requested for the court to set an early date for the case.

She stressed, “What the commission did was to make an application to the Supreme Court. That is the apex court in Ghana and there is finality to what the Supreme Court says and the lower courts are bound by the decision of the Supreme Court.

“Because that case devolved heavily on the meaning of the nomination period, once the court speaks to that, and then everyone knows what the actual nomination period is and whether the commission can legally permit corrections now. “Now, if you don’t do what we’ve done, you risk a multiplicity of high court suits.”

Mrs Osei claimed, “In fact, we’ve told the Supreme Court what the timelines are and how much time we need with the printers to print the presidential ballots…And so we are in a good place to meet the December date.”

Mrs Osei said what was left for the commission was to make available to the political parties the list of early voters, proxy voters, transfer list and all other things that go with the register.

Bloated Printing Contract

The EC boss also dismissed report suggesting that the printing of some election materials were awarded to a dissolved printing firm in the United Kingdom at over-bloated costs.

According to her, the contract for the printing of the election materials was awarded to a Ghanaian-based company – Aero Vote Limited – after it had met all the requirements.

Media reports suggested that the EC had awarded an $8 million contract to a liquidated printing firm in the UK.

However, the EC Chairperson said the firm contracted has always printed election materials for the commission.

She explained that Aero Vote Limited has relocated to Ghana and so it’s even to the advantage of the commission since it would not have to pay for freight charges and risk the security of the materials while being shipped into the country.

“We have awarded the contract for the printing of some of the election forms to a company that has always printed it previously for us and has now relocated to Ghana which makes their pricing better for us and which means that this time we don’t have to bear the high freight charges and also the time for shipping because it is high-level security,” she said.

According to her, the right procurement process was applied in the awarding of the contract and that Aero Vote satisfied all the requirements.
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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