Political parties urged to use non-violent means to resolve electoral disputes
Mr Nantogmah Abdul- Rashid, the Ayawaso District Electoral Officer, has called on political activists to use non- violent means to resolve electoral disputes to help ensure peace in the elections.
He said all stakeholders are expected to abide by the basic processes and procedures to avoid electoral offenses and as well ensure a free, fair and credible election.
Mr Abdul- Rashid said this at a voter education programme, organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in collaboration with the National Peace Council.
Participants were drawn from the Ayawaso West- Wagon, Ayawaso Central, Ayawaso East and Ayawaso North Constituencies in the Greater Accra Region.
The aim of the programme was to enlighten and educate political party executives at the constituency level to uphold tolerance and as well attach value and respect to all electoral rules and processes.
Mr Abdul Rashid said an important provision of the law in relation to electoral offenses by election officials states that: “an election officer who is required to perform a function but fails to perform that function commits an offence”.
“And is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than 500 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than two years or both and shall for a period of five years from the date of expiration of the term of imprisonment be disqualified from being engaged as an election officer,”
Other electoral offenses, he said, include attempting to vote more than once in the same election, ‘misconducting’ yourself as an election official or agent, and forging or destroying a ballot paper or an election results form.
He said to be in possession of another person’s voter identity card (ID) card without his/her express authority, to compel somebody to vote in a particular way, to display your marked ballot paper in such a way as to make it known to others the candidate you are voting for, were all offenses.
He said there would be four polling assistants assigned to each polling station to assist the presiding officer to process voters; and they include Names Reference List Officer, the Biometric Verification Officer, the Presidential Ballot Issuer and the Parliamentary Ballot Issuer.
Mr Abdul-Rashid tasked political parties to use discerning agents in protecting their interest at the polling station.
He urged all electorates to be guided by the electoral laws to avoid being prosecuted.
Mr Ebenezer Tetteh- Wayo, the Accra Metro Director of the NCCE, urged the public not to sell their conscience to politicians; as voting is a way of exercising their democratic rights.
He said it was important for people to exercise their franchise and vote into office leaders of their choice, without attacking their opponents or involving themselves in any form of violence,
Mr Tetteh-Wayo expressed the hope that the knowledge acquired would be decentralized to other political activists to appreciate the need to be tolerant, before, during and the after the forthcoming general elections.
Mr George Amoh, the Director of Programmes at the National Peace Council, called on the public to preserve the nation’s enviable democratic credentials by showing greater level of tolerance.
He said Ghana is matured enough to triumph over this election without a drop of blood.
“I am hopeful that voters and all other stakeholders will exercise their rights and responsibilities dutifully and in accordance with the rules of the elections”
Mr Amoh said the Peace Council is expected to facilitate conflict prevention, management resolution and to build sustainable peace in the country, it is appropriate to engage all stakeholders in the upcoming elections, in finding solutions that are non-violent to resolve our conflicts. GNA