EC designates 81 constituencies as flash points

By
Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, Sept. 9, GNA – For this year’s
general election, the Electoral Commission (EC) has  designated 81 of the nation’s 275
constituencies as flash points or places where there is the potential for
election-related violence.

Mrs Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson of the
EC, said this situation requires a concerted effort by all political actors,
state institutions, media and of course, the Commission to work towards a more
civilized political culture for peaceful elections.

She said in the limited voter registration
exercise conducted earlier this year, there were over two dozen incidents of
violence resulting in injuries, and the destruction of registration equipment
and materials belonging to the EC.

“Again last month, an office of the
Commission was set on fire in a suspected arson matter, following a dispute
between political parties during the continuous voter registration
exercise,” Mrs Osei said in Accra during a during a colloquium on Peaceful
Elections in Ghana.

The event was held on the theme: “Reducing
the Incidence of Violence in Election 2016 and Beyond”.

The colloquium was organised by the Kofi
Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), in collaboration
with STAR-Ghana and the Multimedia Group.

“If they want peace, nations should avoid
the pin pricks that precede cannon shots”, she cited Napoleon Bonaparte.

Mrs Osei said: “Clearly, we have a high
number of pin pricks. We cannot allow them to grow into cannon shots.”

“All around us, we have seen the
devastating consequences on nations when political leaders place their personal
ambitions and sectional interests above national interests.

“We, therefore, call on the leaders of
our political parties to engage their supporters, especially their youth wings,
and lead the process for ensuring a peaceful electoral process.”

She said political party leaders should also
take responsibility for the actions of their supporters and condemn bad
behaviour where they occur.

“As a state institution responsible for
conducting free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections, we are working very
hard at achieving that,” the EC Chairperson said.

“So far this year, we have collaborated
closely with the security agencies to institute measures aimed at guaranteeing
the security of the polls,” she said.

These include the formation of Election
Security Task Force by the Ghana Police Service at the National, Regional and
District Levels.

She said the EC would also be providing the
list of polling stations and the Flash Points areas to the security services
ahead of time.

She said in the creation of additional
polling stations, minimizing conflict and enhancing accessibility were the key
criteria.

Mrs Osei said early voting modalities have
been discussed and the process commenced with the security services to ensure that
they would be available for duty on Election Day.

She said the EC together with the security
forces were putting a lot of effort into ensuring peaceful polls, but they
cannot do it alone and that it is the responsibility of everyone Ghanaian to
ensure a peaceful election.

“We call on leaders of faith based
organisations, chiefs and queen mothers, professional associations, civil
society to support us as we work to ensure a peaceful electoral process,”
she said.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, in a
statement read on his behalf, urged the EC must work with political parties to
boost their confidence and trust in the outcome of the general election.

Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, the
Chairman of the National Peace Council, urged Ghanaians to shun politicians who
use abusive language on their campaign platforms.

Air Vice-Marshal Griffiths Evans, the
Commandant of the KAIPTC, said despite Ghana’s huge democratic credentials
since 1992, there was the need to preserve and consolidate its gains.

GNA

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