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Friday, February 26, 2021

EU observers raise concerns about election results handling

European Union observers in the just ended Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Ghana have given pointers to how results were manipulated.

According to observers, results were not publicly displayed in 17 polling stations they observed.

The observers however noted, “voting was conducted in a generally peaceful atmosphere and voting procedures were mostly followed, including the biometric verification of voters”.

“Furthermore, presiding officers appeared to have difficulties completing the result forms. The polling station result forms were not publicly displayed in 17 polling stations although party agents received signed copy of the result form in all cases,” the EU observers said in their 12-page report on the election.

It also raised concerns over the collation process in the polls.

“Collation of results at the constituency level was observed in 35 constituency collation centres with many of them being visited repeatedly. Collation process was less well organized and less transparent often due to a lack of detailed procedures, inadequate facilities and overcrowding, which at times led to agents and observers not having a clear view of the procedures and the filling in of result forms.

“Instances of unrest and tension were observed in Asawase, Sunyani West and Techiman South constituencies. The results were collated in the presence of party agents and observers and key transparency measures were adhered to,” it said.

It would be recalled that since the declaration of the December 7, 2020 elections results, there have been loads of criticism, with the Electoral Commission itself making some corrections to the figures it quoted initially. But the EC insists the changes do not affect the import of the results, which is win for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Even though observers say the elections was generally free, fair and peaceful, they have raised a number of concerns regarding transparency during collation of results in particular.

Currently, the NDC has announced its intentions to seek legal remedy against the declaration of the presidential results, while some individual parliamentary candidates and both NDC and NPP are also preparing for court to challenge the results in their respective constituencies.

Meanwhile, the EU Observer report said praised domestic civil society organizations in the country for their role in the elections observation, saying their work was well organized, credible and well perceived by stakeholders.

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), a network of 43 organizations was at the head of domestic observers.

“CODEO, with support from the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana), amongst others, deployed around 4,000 observers on election day. CODEO issued reports on registration, campaigning and incidents, and set up a parallel vote tabulation (PVT) exercise. The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) deployed some 700 observers,” the EU Observers report said.

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