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Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - Political parties and other stakeholders have been advised to cooperate with the Electoral Commission (EC) to enable it to execute its mandate of ensuring fair and transparent elections in December.
The Deputy Eastern Regional Director of the EC, Mr John Appiah Baffoe, said actors in the election “must rather support the process and not undermine it through violence, intimidation or any other unlawful means”.

Contributing as one of the speakers at a town hall meeting in Koforidua organised by the Graphic Communications Group Ltd (GCGL), Mr Baffoe said the EC had put in place measures to ensure that the 2016 elections were managed effectively and efficiently in a free and fair manner.

No steps without consultation 

He explained that the EC had not taken any step towards the election without consulting the various stakeholders, for which reason “all participants must behave in a way that promotes a free and fair process”.

“To ensure inclusiveness in the process and build the confidence and trust of political parties, the commission holds regular Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meetings at both regional and constituency levels to provide detailed procedural information on its work,” he said.

Free and fair elections, he said, depended on multiplicity of actors, including electoral management body, the political parties, law enforcement agencies, the media, the government, the Judiciary and the electorate who equally had to play their roles effectively for the desired peaceful elections.

Returning officers recruitment 

The EC, he announced, would recruit returning officers for the conduct of the elections, explaining that pictures of the recruits would be published by the commission 10 days to the elections to provide the political parties and the public the opportunity to assess them to aid the selection of “politically neutral and credible officers”.

To avoid a situation, as was heard during the election petition, where names of unknown polling stations popped up, Mr Baffoe disclosed that the EC would publish all designated polling stations on its websites and give copies to the parties 60 days before the elections.

“Presiding officers will also be given adequate training to provide adequate figures at the polling centres,” he added.

The deputy director expressed the hope that the electoral processes being undertaken by the EC would make the election outcome more credible and acceptable.

The town hall meeting, on the theme: ‘Promoting sustainable national development through free, transparent and accountable 2016 elections: The role of stakeholders to secure peaceful outcomes”, saw representatives of political parties, the police, the media and other political heads speaking on the roles they were playing to ensure that the 2016 elections would be peaceful.

Media as tool for peace-building 

The Eastern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Stephen Ampem Darko-Koranteng, said the media could be a tool for politicians to incite violence and, therefore, practitioners should stick to the rules and regulations of the profession.

The media, he said, should give equal opportunities to political parties, set the right agenda, report accurately and not fuel sentiments that could be a recipe for disaster.

“As practitioners, let us cross-check election results before we put them in the public domain,” he added.

Police to exercise duties well 

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ebenezer Larbi of the Eastern Regional Police Command stated that the police would be very decisive, fair and firm in the discharge of their duties on election day and warned that anybody who would try to disturb the peace would be dealt with without fear or favour.
 


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