General News of Saturday, 2 February 2019
Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has described as infantile, the denial by the Electoral Commission that there were no armed security personnel at polling centres in the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in its preliminary report on the by-election raised questions about the security arrangement that was deployed
CODEO claimed its monitoring of the process showed violence, including shooting La Bawaleshie in East Legon and expressed worry about the apparent lack of proper security coordination for the election.
“Some non-uniformed security operatives displayed lack of understanding of the electoral rules and regulations. At the Prisons JHS at Roman Ridge, for instance, security operatives who claimed to be National Security operatives positioned themselves next to polling officials and when a stationed uniformed police officer alerted them to move away from poll officials, a pick-up full of many more of the so-called security operatives descended on the police officer and attacked him for doing legitimate work,” it said.
But the EC on Friday denied the claims by CODEO, stating there was no violent activity during the by-election.
Chairperson of EC, Jean Mensa told journalists that the presence of security personnel in no way intimidated voters despite questions that have been raised about the heavily armed and masked security men who were seen at some polling stations.
“It is important to stress that none of the security officers in any of the 137 polling stations across the Constituency was armed, giving voters the freewill to exercise their right to vote. Indeed, the police and officers of fire service and immigration deployed to the polling stations were seated quite far from the polling booth,” she stated
However, commenting on the EC’s denial Saturday on TV, Mr. Fuseini said it was wrong for the EC to respond in the manner in which it did to observations made by CODEO.
Speaking on TV3 Key Points, he said CODEO is a credible institution that has been monitoring elections for years; hence, it is unfair for the EC to rubbish its observations.
“We should be very worried; Since 1992 they have played very important roles in our democracy. I see the responds of the Electoral Commission as totally immature and infantile.
Though the MP admitted the EC had the right to disagree with the report by CODEO, it ought to “disagree in a way that reassures people that the matters raised by CODEO are being looked at.”
Some men said to be national security operatives assaulted Member of Parliament for Sam George for questioning why the NDC candidate in the election, Delali Brempong’s house was attacked by some fully armed men in masked and hoodies.
The incident which took place just a stone throw away from the La Bawaleshie Presbyterian Basic School 1 which was being used as a polling station caused some voters to flee on hearing gunshots. This halted voting temporarily at the polling station.
For Alhaji Fuseini, the EC should rather focus on finding ways to address the issues raised instead of denying them.
“You do not totally dismiss outrightly what CODEO has said in the face of overwhelming evidence that is confronting us.
“I think that Mrs. Jean Mensa ought to sit down and take criticism in good faith to improve her work. We wish her success at the EC, but she must be ready to take criticism and take it in good faith.”