Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of EC
Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission has advised political parties and candidates to appoint credible and knowledgeable polling agents to represent them at polling stations.
He was speaking at a capacity building workshop for Executives of Political Parties in Ho, Volta Region under the theme, “The Inbuilt Integrity of Ghana’s Electoral Process.” It is aimed at enhancing the credibility of the 2012 elections.
Dr Afari-Gyan said: “A polling agent should not be just anybody but a credible, committed, intelligent and well-informed person who cuts across the social strata.”
Polling agents, he said, could be appointed not necessarily from their particular constituency or region where they are assigned to but what is crucial is for those polling agents to be effective.
Dr Afari-Gyan said it is therefore, important that candidates and political parties be meticulous in choosing polling agents who would not give in to monetary inducements and other influences to betray the interests of those they represent.
Dr Afari-Gyan said political parties and candidates would, therefore, not be justified to complain that their agents have been influenced or manipulated.
He said Voter Education is essential for all stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the strength of the Commission, secure a mutual understanding of how the Commission and the Political Parties must behave towards each other and correct misconceptions about the operations of the Commission.
“This is because a little misunderstanding could cause problems,” Dr Afari-Gyan said.
He, consequently, expressed gratitude to the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) for sponsoring Voter Education towards the 2012 elections.
The Party Executives said the interaction had helped them to understand their rights and obligations as well as their relationship with the Commission. They commended the Commission for the professional manner in which it organised the biometric registration exercise.
They, however, urged the Commission to exercise great care in recruiting their auxiliary staff for the December Polls.
In their view, many of such staffs were deficient in exercising correct judgments in resolving fundamental situations, resulting in needless tension at polling stations.
They admitted that it was their responsibility to provide good leadership and education of their rank and file to ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections.