Ghanaians confident of EC's preparedness for Election 2016

Accra, Aug. 18, GNA –
A pre-election survey carried out by the Ghana Centre for Democratic
Development (CDD-Ghana) indicates that Ghanaians have confidence in the ability
of the Electoral Commission to organise free and fair polls in December.

It showed that the
authority of the Commission as the official body mandated by law to announce
electoral results of presidential and parliamentary elections was unquestioned.

The findings showed
that an overwhelming number of voters endorsed the ballot box as the most
preferred means of choosing officers with majority stating elections empower
them to remove from office non-performing leaders.

Notwithstanding this
optimism in the efficacy of the vote, Ghanaians believe their vote is not
secret, nearly a third are skeptical about the vote being counted after the
polls and a large minority believe it is very/somewhat likely that the wrong
vote tally would be announced.

“Looking ahead to
the 2016 polls, most Ghanaians prefer to have free and fair elections even if
their preferred candidate does not emerge as winner,” Dr Edem Selormey,
senior research fellow at CDD-Ghana, told journalists on Thursday.

Majority expressed
optimism that the upcoming polls would be ‘completely free and fair’ or ‘free
and fair with lesser problems, she said, allaying the fear that “most Ghanaians
will not engage in unlawful actions if the elections does not reflect the
popular will.

There is a high
level of awareness about the upcoming 2016 election among the Ghanaian public
as 97 per cent know the polling stations or where they would be voting.

The radio remains
the main source of information for the electorate about the elections with most
electorate getting their information from private radio (46 per cent),
government radio (37 per cent), private TV (36 per cent) and government TV (33
per cent).

Ghanaians also rely
heavily on informal sources of news such as friends, neighbours, co-workers (26
per cent), family members (22 per cent) and community meetings (17 per cent).

More than nine in 10
Ghanaians (93 per cent) claim to be registered and expressed an intention to
vote (76 per cent).

“This compares
favourably with 2012 where 76 per cent of Ghanaians had done same,” Dr Selormey
said.

Ghanaians expressed
a strong preference (79 per cent) for a completely free and fair election and
are confident that the 2016 polls would be ‘completely free and fair’ or ‘free
and fair with minor problems’ (77 per cent).

A solid majority
believe the Electoral Commission will perform its duties as a ‘neutral body
guided by law’ (63 per cent).

Ghanaian assessments
of the preparedness of key state institutions implicated in the 2016 polls
vary.

Eight in 10
Ghanaians perceive the Army and the Police as ‘very/somewhat’ prepared for the
upcoming polls.

Ghanaians express
some concerns about the electoral system. Seven in 10 Ghanaians (71 per cent)
believe they enjoy vote secrecy, but a quarter of the population think
otherwise.

On vote buying, most
Ghanaians abhor vote buying and believe it is ‘wrong and punishable’ for a
candidate to buy and for a citizen to sell vote.

But a quarter and
less than one in five respectively condone vote-selling and vote-buying.

“They deem it wrong
but understandable or not wrong at all,” the survey said.

GNA

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