Monday, August 10, 2015

Ghana: Electoral body says it’s ready for local elections

Mr Amadu Sulley, a Deputy Commissioner of Elections at the Electoral Commission (EC), has announced that nominations and printing of notices of candidates for the District Level Election (DLE) was ready.

Mr Sulley said platforms would be mounted from August 20, and called on stakeholders to whip up sensitization of the electorate in the coming elections, to avoid attacking personalities,  and turn out in their numbers to vote.

The Deputy Commissioner made this announcement in Bolgatanga, as part of a sensitization of the voting public on the DLE concept, by interacting with community-based organisations, and other stakeholder institutions and the media.

He said even though the election was non-partisan, there were arrangements by the Commission to ensure full-time security at polling stations for a smooth exercise.

Mr Sulley said Biometric Verification Devices (BVD) for the elections had been upgraded, loaded and expanded, adding that all registers and multiple lists for verification were printed for the exercise.

He hinted that a number of consultations were being done on the 2016 registration of voters,  to come out with an acceptable voter register to ensure it was devoid of inaccuracies and multiple registration.

“I am telling you that the system we have now, you cannot cheat, and anyone caught would be dealt with ” Mr. Amadu stressed.

Mr Sulley who also made a presentation on the DLE regulations and features, emphasized on legal framework regarding the elections, difficulties in the election, turn-out characterized by the DLE and Act 462 which dealt with activities on local level elections and Act. 473 amended in 2010 by C.I. 801, C.I 89.

On voter turn-out, the Deputy Commissioner lamented on poor voter turn-out at DLEs, and recounted that in the history of the five DLEs since 1992, the highest turn-out was 42.6 percent which was recorded in 1998, while in 2010 it was 35.2 per cent, stressing on the need for a whip up in the sensitization of the electorate,  to come out massively to vote in future elections.

He indicated that low turn-outs had implications on the financial purse of the EC, and said the current DLE had about 37,000 ballot papers expected to be printed by the EC for the DLEs, irrespective of whether candidates prepared their own posters or not, adding that voter apathy affected the resources of the EC.

Mr Kwaku Duodu, Head of Logistics at the Elections Department of the EC, educated stakeholders on election offences, and penalties thereon and said the EC placed priority on ensuring that regulations were applied firmly by all candidates, because of the severity of offences.

He implored candidates to recruit well-trained and trusted personnel to help them as polling agents at the polling stations

Mr James Arthur, Regional Director of EC, assured members of the public of level playing fields for everybody in the DLE, and called on faith-based organizations to back the exercise with prayer for divine intervention and peaceful elections.

Source: GNA

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