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Creation Of New Constituencies Won't Affect Election - Afari-Gyan   
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The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has stated that the closeness of the general election has nothing to do with the proposed creation of 45 new constituencies.

He explained that the EC was only performing its constitutional obligations after the publication of the results of the population and housing census, without necessarily looking at the elections.

Dr Afari-Gyan stated this in answer to a question at the opening of a workshop for political parties in the Ashanti Region in Kumasi Monday.

The questioner wanted to know whether the creation of the new constituencies at this time would not have negative effects on the elections, to which the EC Chairman replied, “We are only carrying out our constitutional duties.”

He added that the commission would be flouting the Constitution if it failed to create the constituencies.

According to him, the creation of the new constituencies would further cut down the long queues and stress associated with voting.
The workshop, the first of a two-part engagement with party executives, was part of the EC’s voter education programme.

The session dealt with topics including rights and obligations of political parties, EC-political parties relations, the in-built integrity of Ghana’s electoral system and the importance of polling agents.

In the second part, the party executives will visit the Operations Room at the IT Department of the EC in Accra to see for themselves the activities that happen there in order to eliminate any misconceptions about the commission.

In answer to another question, Dr Afari-Gyan revealed that more voter machines were being brought into the country to help in the verification of voters on voting day.

According to him, 23,000 people were to be trained in that field to handle the machines.

On whether biometric verification would guarantee the success of the elections, he recalled that the EC foresaw and forewarned of some challenges ahead.

He outlined some of the challenges as technical and climatic but gave an assurance that measures had been put in place to address them when they arose.

In his main address, Dr Afari-Gyan said the workshop was going to be held in all the regions.

A governance advisor at the British Department For International Development (DFID), sponsors of the workshops, Mr Michael Ohene-Effah, lauded the EC for its success in its core mandate, adding that the EC had an enviable reputation in Africa and beyond.

He said the DFID had been working with a wide range of Ghanaian partners over the last six months to develop a programme aimed at supporting successful elections in December 2012.

He said to realise that objective, the UK government had provided GH¢9.3 million to support Ghana.

The UK government, he noted, sought to help the EC to do its critical job and for the people to have faith in its effectiveness and impartiality.

Mr Ohene-Effah announced that the British High Commission was providing assistance for the elections along the themes of professional media reportage, policy literacy among first-time voters and violence and conflict prevention.

The Ashanti Regional Director of the EC, Mr Samuel Tettey, asked the media to provide maximum publicity for the realisation of peaceful elections.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana

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