EC identifies 81 violent-prone areas ahead of elections
The Electoral Commission (EC) has identified 81 constituencies out of the 275 as possible violent-prone areas before, during and after the 2016 general election.
The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, who announced this, said the EC had started a project, together with the Ghana Police Service, to map out all the polling stations in the country, especially those in the flashpoints, to ensure adequate security at all polling centres and the EC’s regional offices.
Speaking at a national colloquium on the security of the upcoming general election at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre at Teshie near Accra yesterday, she charged political leaders to take responsibility for the actions of their supporters to ensure a peaceful and transparent general election on December 7.
Mrs Osei further announced that policemen would be present during the printing of the ballot papers and also escort them to the polling centres.
That, she said, was to ensure that there was adequate security at all polling centres.
She also gave an assurance that there would be adequate materials to ensure a smooth voting process.
She appealed to all relevant institutions, including the media and political parties, to help educate the people on peaceful elections to avoid any conflict before, during and after the elections.
She stressed the need for a strong and independent media to ensure free, fair and transparent elections and called on them to carry out their responsibilities devoid of inflammatory speeches, adding: “The people of Ghana deserve peace and nothing more.”
Educational series on GTV
Mrs Osei announced that the EC was beginning an educational series on GTV dubbed: “Ask the EC” to create a platform for the public to seek answers to issues bothering their minds on this year’s general election.
She expressed the hope that the programme would help the public know more about the EC and how it operates, as well as sensitise them to their civic rights and responsibilities.
Overall objective of NESA
In a speech read on his behalf, the Inspector General of Police, Mr John Kudalor, outlined the overall objective of the National Election Security Architecture (NESA) which was activated in January this year.
He said it was to provide a forum for the security agencies to impartially deal with all election security-related issues in a coordinated manner.
He said it was also to insulate the security agencies from all forms of interference in the course of policing the elections.
Mr Kudalor announced that the police had identified over 5,003 polling stations as potential violent spots and were making sure that security was adequately provided at those flashpoints identified by both the police and the EC.
He identified other indicators of violence to include the proliferation of illicit arms in the country, the existence of numerous land and chieftaincy disputes and the prevalence of terrorist activities in some neighbouring countries that might serve as triggers for violence and pose real threats to the 2016 elections.
‘Live up to expectation’
The Chairman of the National Peace Council, the Most Rev. Professor Emmanuel Asante, urged the relevant institutions to live up to expectation and play their respective roles without fear or favour.
“They must position themselves in a way that they do not do the bidding of any political party,” he said, adding that it should be made clear that anyone who would flout the law would be dealt with within the confines of the law.
He challenged Ghanaians to “shun politicians who use abusive language on their campaign platforms and tell them ‘we don’t want to hear such bad language’”.
“We expect people to market what they have and at the end of it all we vote for who we like,” he said.
Work with all
Former President J.A. Kufuor urged the EC to work with all political parties to boost their confidence and trust in the outcome of the elections.
He said the media had a huge responsibility of ensuring smooth voting and admonished them against half-truths and headlines that favoured a particular candidate or discouraged a candidate.