The Deputy Executive Director of Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Dr Franklin Oduro has raised issues with the resort to manual verification of voters during last December’s referendum, saying, that was not good for the integrity of the election.
He said although it was not illegal to do manual verification of voters during voting, the mass level at which this was carried out raised questions about the credibility of the polls.
He, however, was not surprised that the two main political parties – New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), did not complain because they both supported the creation of the new regions.
Dr Oduro was speaking on the topic: “The 2018 referendum: lessons for 2019 referendum and election 2020,” at a strategic partners’ learning event organized by NORSAAC, a civil society organization (CSO), in Tamale.
The programme formed part of NORSAAC’s “Referendum We Want” project, supported by STAR-Ghana Foundation.
It brought together state institutions, CSOs, political parties, traditional authorities and the media.
The aim was to share NORSAAC’s observation report on the December 2018 referendum on the creation of new regions, for the participants to assess the conduct of the poll, make recommendations to help improve the conduct of the upcoming referendum in September.
Dr Oduro cautioned that “if we use discredited means to get a certain outcome against the will of the people, the consequences will be dire for the country”.
The referendum to be held in September on the election of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) was complex in terms of the issues involved and he called for more resources for state bodies to undertake effective public education.
This was necessary to make sure that the people become well-informed to make the right decision.
The NORSAAC’s report faulted electoral officials for the wrong placing of voting booths, something, it said did not allow for the secrecy of voting.
It also indicated some of the officials for thumb-printing ballot papers for some of the voters and proceeding to drop these in the ballot boxes themselves.
Alhaji Abdul Razak Saani, Northern Regional Director of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), highlighted the need to deepen efforts at building public confidence in the Electoral Commission (EC) – help the people to believe that it was doing a good job.
Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Executive Director of NORSAAC, said measures should be taken to ensure that flaws identified during the December 2018 referendum, were not repeated.