The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has called on the Ghana Police Service to urgently investigate and prosecute all persons found culpable for perpetuating violence during the just-ended by-election in the Assin North constituency.
National Coordinator of CODEO, Albert Kofi Arhin in a statement issued on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, indicated that the observer team reported incidents of intimation, violation of counting procedure and violent clashes during the election.
CODEO trained and deployed 15 observers who were classified into two categories to observe polling day proceedings in the Assin North Constituency by-election which was held on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.
Among the observers were stationary observers who were stationed at sampled polling stations and observed proceedings from the start of polls to the end of closing, counting and declaration of results at assigned polling stations.
At the same time, there were some roaming observers who roamed or visited several polling stations throughout the day in the constituency. As part of their role, the observers impartially observed the process using CODEO’s observation checklist and incident forms.
“At precisely 7:20AM, at Methodist Primary School 2 in Breku, a journalist from Adom TV was interviewing electorates who were in a queue to vote, and he was confronted by a purported executive of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for conducting an interview at the polling station. Police personnel located at the polling station swiftly intervened and that prevented the situation from degenerating.”
“At the Methodist Primary School 2 in Bereku, two electorates were apprehended for taking a snapshot of the ballot paper after voting. When questioned about their actions, they claimed that an unidentified individual had tasked them to take a picture of the marked ballot as proof in return for a monetary reward. They were nearly arrested by security personnel, however, the matter was resolved amicably and the alleged offenders were let go,” Mr Arhin stated.
Also, he said around 1PM, a convoy of vehicles with NPP occupants, accompanied by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Antwi Boasiako (Chairman Wontumi), pursued a vehicle occupied by NDC supporters from a different polling station to D/C Primary School in Praso (located within the Electoral Area with Polling Station Code B170801).
“During this pursuit, the occupants of the NPP vehicles proceeded to vandalize and damage parts of the NDC vehicle, resulting in commotion and disturbance along the roadside. Security personnel intervened to calm the situation by removing the actors from the vicinity of the polling station to a distant location. However, it was reported that the individuals involved in the altercation fired gunshots and one person was injured and was taken to the hospital for treatment,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Arhin commended the Electoral Commission (EC), the Ghana Police Service and the electorates for ensuring a largely peaceful by-election which was fully concluded after the winning candidate was declared.
“CODEO acknowledges that the conduct of the polls was consistent with the general rules and regulations which were adhered to by the polling officials. In addition, there were no shortage of materials and the biometric verification devices functioned well to very a large extent without any significant disruptions to the polls in any of the observed polling stations,” he added.