By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Electoral Officials and party agents who will be recruited to supervise the December 7, 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections will be allow taking oaths before a Magistrate or Judicial officer instead of an officer of the Electoral Commission (EC).
This is to allow them exhibit professionalism during the election period. Taken an oath means the two bodies will be allow to vow or swear by using either the Bible or Quran or any belief they will ask for.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson Electoral Commission (EC) at a media encounter to explain EC’s preparation to ensure a credible, free and fair election in Accra she stated that the electoral officials and party agents taken an oath was part of the 27 reform proposals which were accepted by the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and are being implemented by the EC.
The Electoral Commissioner presented a paper on the topic:”Towards a World-Class Election 2016”.
According to Madam Osei all the reforms proposed by the Committee were accepted, except two. These were the point that the membership of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) should be expanded to include Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); and that no voting without biometric verification.
The other reforms which were accepted were the continuous voter registration in addition to periodic registrations; IPAC to be institutionalized; use of Biometric Verification Device for exhibition of the Provisional Voters Register; and raised the minimum educational qualification requirements for various levels of election officials.
Also includes improving the quality of training of election officials and EC staff; Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and vulnerable persons to be given priority at polling stations on Election Day; and the commission said a provisions has been made in C.I. 94 regarding processes and procedures to be followed to adjourn polling in the event of a disruption caused by nature or human activity.
The commission said they have improved the compensation package for Election officials. “We believe this will get them motivated to put in their best for a clean exercise,” the Chairperson said in her presentation.
She said they will serially number statement of Polls and Declaration of the results sheets for easy referencing and also they are replacing the “Strong Room” with a more open, accessible and transparent National Results Collation Centre.
The EC boss also indicated that they are appointing very knowledgeable collation officers for each constituency as a safeguard against collation errors.
“The C.I 94 has made provisions for election officials to be punished /sanctioned for any breach of the electoral laws,” she said adding that they are working on multiple measures to reduce the incidence of rejected ballots.
Mrs. Charlotte Osei said in compliance with the law, they will give a copy of the final Certified Register to Registered Political Parties at least 21 days before the elections and among others.