CODEO Clears Air Over EC Claims

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has set the records straight over the content of its Close-of-Polls (COP) statement for the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election which had been challenged by the Electoral Commission (EC).

At a press briefing on February 1, 2019, EC Chairperson Mrs Jean Mensa debunked any assertion in the COP statement which suggested a linkage between the violence that erupted in the constituency and the entire election process.

The National Coordinator of CODEO, Albert Arhin, said that the statement did not in any way indicate that the shooting incident took place at a polling station.

“The statement also did not in any way attempt to link the EC to the shooting incident contrary to the EC claims,” he added.

Mr Arhin, who was speaking at a press briefing in Accra, also mentioned that the refusal of the EC to accept the fact that violent incidents had disrupted the conduct of the poll was in contradiction to the reality on the ground that was highlighted in a media report. According to the Municipal Director of the EC, voting at the polling station near the shooting scene was disrupted for 45 minutes.

The COP statement also highlighted the lack of proper security coordination, intimidating presence of security personnel at polling stations and the display of lack of understanding of electoral rules and regulations.

In that regard, the coalition pledged to cooperate with the EC and other security agencies to conduct further investigation into an incident that occurred at the Prisons JHS polling station at Roman Ridge where a uniformed police was attacked for directing a plain security operative move away from a polling station.

Contrary to the view held by the EC that the statement failed to give a pictorial view of the conduct of the polls, Mr Arhin noted that the statement had indicated that most observers reported a smooth-voting exercise which highlighted the smooth performance of biometric devices.

“The CODEO statement also touched on other issues such as the presence of party agents at polling stations, generally low voter turnout which has indeed been confirmed by the EC’s official turnout figure for the by-election at 19.83 per cent,” he said.

The Co-chair of CODEO, Professor Miranda Greenstreet, stressed that the organisation still stands as an independent body that sees to the carrying out of credible elections.

She said the sole interest of the organisation was to promote the interest of every Ghanaian by ensuring peaceful and fair elections are conducted.

She said that had made it necessary for the organisation to tell the truth by highlighting problems encountered in elections through observations.

“The purpose of the organisation is not to back a particular group or a party, but to ensure that Ghana remains peaceful,” Prof Greenstreet added.