The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Bonuah, to share updates on the progress of election-related violence cases with the public in order to avoid undermining public confidence.
CODEO made the call when it released its pre-election observation statement for the month of September 2020.
According to the Coalition, “as part of its comprehensive observation” of the December 7, 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections of Ghana, it “deployed sixty-five (65) Long-Term Observers (LTOs) across the country from September 1, 2020.”
CODEO explained that the observers were deployed to 65 purposively selected areas, “which include a mix of constituencies in areas that are considered as strongholds, swing/competitive, and hot-spots, as well as some constituencies along border communities in the country.
“Since their deployment, the observers have been monitoring the general electoral and political environment, including the activities of key election stakeholders such as the Electoral Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), political parties, the security agencies, civil society organisations (CSOs), and religious and traditional leaders.”
CODEO condemned “all reported acts of violence, which took place during the period of observation” and reiterated “its call on the security agencies to take appropriate action against all perpetrators of violence” while reminding “the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) of the need to share updates with the public on the progress of all cases of election-related violence as failure to ensure people are punished for their crimes will further erode public confidence and encourage impunity.”
The Coalition further cautioned all “stakeholders to be mindful of all the necessary COVID-19 health and safety protocols to help minimise the potential spread of the virus” and entreated “CSOs and all election-related stakeholders to intensify their election support activities across the country, particularly in the area of violence monitoring and peace promotion, and educating the citizenry on their civic rights, duties and responsibilities to complement the work of the NCCE and the EC.”
CODEO also urged the “EC and NCCE not to limit their civic/voter education to the traditional media, particularly radio, but also take advantage of community meeting platforms, street announcement and other forms/modes of educating the public”.
“These must, however, be done with the necessary arrangements for ensuring the observation of COVID-19 health and safety protocols” and to “take all necessary steps to rectify the identified challenges with the provisional voter register so that all registered voters are able to exercise their right to vote.”
It noted that while it “acknowledges the public explanations provided by the EC regarding the challenges identified with the provisional voter register, the Coalition believes there are still gaps in stakeholder engagement and communication” and urged the EC “to enhance stakeholder engagement, not just around the voter register but on the entire electoral process to help mobilise public support and promote transparency and inclusion towards achieving a free, fair and credible electoral process”.
The Coalition further entreated the “EC to make the updated provisional voter register available to political parties as early as possible to allow for the cross-checking of figures in the bid to promote trust and further ensure that all identified challenges have been rectified before the voter register is certified. The EC is also entreated to provide clear information on results of the Adjudication Review Committee’s work.”
CODEO assured the public that it “will continue to observe the pre-election environment and duly share its findings with the public on a monthly basis.”