Ghana: You Can’t Dictate to the EC – Afari-Gyan Tells Political Parties
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi, www.allafrica.com (newsshare)
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, has said only certified results presented to his office by returning EC officials would be accepted and declared as it has always been doing in any election held in the country, come the 2012 general elections.
According to him, it was only when there was enough evidence to counter the already collated results that the outcome could be overturned.
“In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we will accept the results as sent to us by our returning officers, period,” Dr. Afari-Gyan intoned.
He made this observation at an interactive session, moments after representatives of the various political parties in the Ashanti and Volta regions had toured the offices of the Electoral Commission to inspect its facilities, ahead of the 2012 general elections.
The tour, which was sponsored by the DFID in collaboration with the EC and KGC, was meant to “enhance the credibility of the 2012 elections.”
The representing parties included; the New Vision Party (NVP), United Front Party (UFP), Convention People’s Party (CPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Independent People’s Party (IPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Congress (PNC), Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP) and UDSP.
The participants inspected the Information Technology department of the EC, which has been divided into Data Collection and System Development units, as well as the famous Operations Room, which has the Voter Registration section, Logistics section (distribution and retrieval of materials), Strong Room (Receives results from all polling station), as well as the Election Department, which is the hub of the EC.
Election outcomes have sometimes resulted in disputes, with interested parties going for each other’s throats.
The situation has often resulted in the burning of some offices of the Electoral Commission by irate youth of the affected political party, on grounds of allegation that the EC did not listen to their voice, despite having enough evidence to buttress their claim.
But, Dr. Afari-Gyan, responding to such claims, said his outfit would not entertain any results produced by any political party, following the declaration of certified results by returning EC officials.
He, therefore, urged the political parties to ensure that their representatives were always present at the various polling stations spread across the country.
The veteran electoral officer cautioned that the EC was not under any obligation not to declare certified results by returning EC officers, which have not been signed by representatives of the various political parties at the polling station.
“There is no requirement in law that says that if you don’t sign the results, we cannot use those results. Sometimes, when they (political parties) see that they are losing, they refuse to sign the results. Remember that in elections, you will lose somewhere and win somewhere,” the electoral officer argued.
Commenting on the biometric voter’s registration exercise, the Chairman of the EC said his outfit was in the process of compiling all eligible voters who were engaged in multiple registrations for publication.
This, he noted, would afford the security agencies of the country the opportunity to take the matter up and prosecute offenders who have flouted the laws of the land.
“The EC has no legal power to prosecute. So, we will publish them in the dailies for the security agencies to take the matter, after our Review Board has finished its work,” he asserted.