The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) is demanding the immediate prosecution of persons engaged in electoral related offences in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
Such a move according to CODEO will deter others from engaging in such acts that undermine laws governing the conduct of elections in the country.
A preliminary observation report issued by CODEO today, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, on the first phase of the exercise revealed instances of violence recorded at registration centres in some parts of the country.
Some reported incidents included suspected foreigners trying to register, attempted registration by people suspected to be from outside an electoral area, and political party leaders or executives trooping into registration centres.
But the civil society organization has urged authorities of the Ghana Police Service to make violators face the full rigours of the law.
“While the security personnel have been able to bring a number of violent and chaotic situations under control, CODEO entreats the Police Service to swiftly prosecute any persons who violate the electoral laws to serve as an early deterrent to others”
Details of reported cases highlighted below:
1. In the afternoon of July 4, 2020, there was a confrontation at a registration center at the Sakasaka Polling Station in Tamale when a political party activist allegedly attempted to get some people from outside the electoral area to register. In the process, the alleged party activist smashed the phones of the Registration Officer and that of a party agent from a different political party. The timely intervention by police officers and local party
leaders brought the situation under control as tempers had flared up.
2. Observers reported a number of instances where political party executives/leaders kept trooping in and out of registration centers. In one instance on June 30, 2020, at a registration center at the R/C JHS School ‘A’, Elubo in the Jomoro Constituency of the Western Region, the situation nearly resulted in a physical fight when some registration applicants challenged the “unauthorized” presence of party leaders. The intervention of security personnel brought the situation under control.
3. Observers report that at some registration centers, political party agents have been taking down the registration details of registration applicants and the situation resulted in some confrontations at one center in the Akatsi North constituency (EP JHS, Dzalele registration center). At this center, a registered voter and a party agent got into a nearly physical confrontation on July 1, 2020, when the former challenged the collection of his voter ID card information by political party agents. The situation resulted in the halting of the registration process for some minutes. In another instance at the same center on June 30, 2020, there was a near brawl between NDC and NPP party agents when the MP for the area urged registration applicants not to give out information on their voter ID cards to political party agents.
4. At the registration center at the District Magistrate Court in Pokuase in the Amasaman constituency, a suspected foreigner was arrested by security officers for attempting to register after interrogation by the registration officer. One person who tried to guarantee for the alleged foreigner was also arrested.
Meanwhile, CODEO has urged the general public to exercise optimum responsibility in ensuring that human lives are not endangered unnecessarily.
CODEO has deployed 100 observers for the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration Exercise being carried out by the EC across the country.
The group has an observer each in 100 randomly and purposively selected constituencies spread across the 16 regions of the country.
At the end of phase one of the registration exercise, the CODEO Secretariat received a total of 575 daily observation reports from 100 constituencies from the 30th of June to July 5, 2020.